The coldest journey
See the update below.
Since the 1960s, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been leading expeditions to places that are incredibly difficult to reach. In 2009, at the age of 65, he climbed to the top of Mount Everest.
Now 68, the British adventurer is not yet ready to retire. He is planning a trek across Antarctica during the southern winter, when temperatures average -70 °C and the sun doesn't show itself for four months. No one has ever done this before. "The maximum penetration in winter from the coast has been 60 miles," Fiennes told The Telegraph. "We'll be going 2,000 miles."
The expedition is being called "The Coldest Journey". Fiennes and his team will leave London on a research ship on 6 December 2012. Once in Antarctica, they will wait until 21 March 2013, when the southern winter begins. The journey is expected to last six months. Fiennes and a partner will travel on skis, followed by bulldozers pulling their living quarters and supplies.
The team will perform experiments to better determine the effects of climate change on the poles. They also hope to raise nearly €8 million for Seeing is Believing, a charity that fights blindness.
Still, Fiennes has already faced criticism for his plans. Some believe he will die on this expedition, and others question his decision to leave his wife and six-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, for more than a year. He answers this with: "Unlike before, when it was Morse code, I can now pick up a phone and speak to people at home."
"I've never heard anyone speak well of retirement," Fiennes told The Telegraph. "If I ever got tempted by golf or fishing, it would be the beginning of the end."
Update: In February 2013, frostbite forced Ranulph Fiennes to end his attempt. While training on skis in Antarctica, he fell down and had to remove his gloves in order to repair his skis. The cold air (-30 °C) was too much for his exposed skin.