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Sir Ranulph Fiennes to attempt record trek

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17 September 2012 by Luke McCormick

British explorer and Wexas Honorary President Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to attempt a record trek, leading a team on foot across Antarctica during the southern winter.

The six-month, 1,800-mile expedition is being dubbed the Coldest Journey, crossing terrain where temperatures can drop to -90C.

The Guinness Book of Records described Sir Ranulph Fiennes as ‘the world's greatest living explorer', for such feats as the Transglobe Expedition - the world's first surface journey around the polar axis - and the North Polar Unsupported Expedition, the furthest north unsupported record.

The Coldest Journey will raise money for Seeing is Believing, a charity set-up to fight avoidable blindness, and will also provide data to scientists studying the effect of climate change on the poles.

Sir Ranulph's current attempt is not without dangers. Captain Scott famously died on the same ice shelf more than a hundred years ago when his party was caught out by the start of the brutal southern winter.

For the current expedition the team will be dropped off on the continent to wait for the equinox on 21 March 2013 before setting off over the ice shelf. During the sea voyage the team will collect data on marine life, oceanography and meteorology.

The British government requires any team heading to Antarctica to be self-sufficient.

So while Sir Ranulph and a skiing partner will lead on skis using ground-penetrating radar to avoid deadly crevasses, two bulldozers dragging industrial sledges will follow them.

Inside three containers on the sledges will be living quarters, fuel, supplies and a science lab that will be used to carry out scientific tasks to track changes to the ice shelf and the effect of climate change on the poles.

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