Sir Ranulph Fiennes hopes to add another first to his long list of records: he’s just announced plans to walk and ski across Antarctica during the Antarctic winter. Setting off from the Pacific coast of the planet’s coldest continent next March to coincide with the Spring solstice, he will march to the South Pole and over to the other side, through temperatures as low as -90C.
Because the UK government demands that every expedition to the Antarctic is self-sufficient, Fiennes‘ and his partner will be trailed by two bulldozers towing sledges carrying extra equipment. As well as holding sleeping quarters, a science lab and all the fuel they’ll need, the bulldozers will also carry new ‘thermal bags’ to stop the engines freezing whenever they make rest stops.
The expedition will pursue scientific research, set a new world record if completed, and also raise funds for blindness charity Seeing is Believing. But there’s another reason to the timing, according to Fiennes.
“We looked at this 25 years ago and realised it was impossible,”he tells the BBC in an interview today. ”[But] we heard a rumour that Norwegian explorers were contemplating this. We realised we were going to have to have a go.”