Sir Ranulph Fiennes; His Winter Trans-Antarctic Expedition

27 Sep

 Sir Ranulph Fiennes plans to lead a team across the Antarctic Continent in the coming polar winter. This would be an unbelievable feat, the first winter expedition ever since Edward Wilson’s trek across Ross Island in search of Emperor Penguin eggs in 1911. Like that early venture the expedition will take place in darkness, in temperatures that could reach minus 90 degrees Celsius and will attempt to break new scientific grounds. Unlike 1911, the expedition will take place at elevations of 11,000 feet; a level that can cause altitude sickness and will cover nearly 4,000 kilometers, starting from the Russian base Novolazareskaya and traveling via the Pole to Ross Island.

It is an amazing venture. Can it possibly succeed? The team will have to be self-sufficient, there will be no search and rescue – aircraft can’t fly inland in winter, because of the darkness and the risk of fuel freezing.

Shackleton planned this journey in 1914. His team was caught in the Weddell Sea and although they got tantalizingly close to the continent, ‘Endurance’ was carried onward around the Weddell Sea until finally the expedition famously got back to habitation after grueling and heroic exploits. Sir Vivian Fuchs finally crossed the continent in 1958. Neither of these expeditions was planned for the winter

There are to be six members in the team. Ranulph Fiennes is quoted as saying that this is his greatest challenge to date -and he has had plenty – and that it will stretch the limits of human endurance, a unique opportunity to carry out scientific tasks in the extreme polar environment, which will make contributions to our understanding of polar warming on the Antarctic continent.

Remarkable! It will be wonderful if they pull it off.

 

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