Sir Ranulph Fiennes. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has pulled out of
his 3000km mid-winter trek across Antarctica because he has
The ambitious journey is due to start next month, but
Fiennes, 68, already in Antarctica, was injured after a fall
while skiing during training at a base camp.
He developed frostbite after using his bare hands to fix a
ski binding in temperatures of around minus 30C.
"This decision has not been taken lightly and it is,
naturally, a huge disappointment to Fiennes and his
colleagues," an expedition spokesman said.
Fiennes has already lost the tips of the fingers on his left
hand to frostbite following a trip to the North Pole. He
reportedly removed them himself with a fretsaw after learning
of the cost and time it would take doctors to do it.
The Coldest Journey expedition - from the Russian base of
Novolazarevskaya to the Ross Sea and close to New Zealand's
Scott Base - is expected to take six months, facing some of
the toughest conditions on earth - near permanent darkness
and temperatures dropping close to minus 90C.
His remaining five teammates will continue with the 3219km
trek, led by traverse manager Brian Newham.
They are due to leave on March 21, followed by two 20-tonne
bulldozers dragging 140 tonnes of supplies.
The trek is known as The Coldest Journey on Earth. No human
being has managed to walk across Antarctica in winter.
The journey is to benefit Seeing is Believing, a charity
which tackles avoidable blindness, and aims to raise $US10
million ($A9.75 million).
Meanwhile, efforts to evacuate Fiennes to South Africa are
being hampered by blizzard conditions. The team is trying to
evacuate him by skidoo to the Princess Elisabeth Station and
then to Cape Town.