Bad weather stalls Fiennes' Antarctic evacuation

Feb 26, 2013
Explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes (L) and Anton Bowring talk to journalists on January 6, 2013 in Cape Town. An Antarctic snow storm prevented the evacuation Tuesday of Fiennes, injured while attempting the icy continent's first winter crossing, the expedition said.

An Antarctic snow storm prevented the evacuation Tuesday of adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, injured while attempting the icy continent's first winter crossing, the expedition said.

The 68-year-old was holed up in the team's cabin with frostbite and the expedition now hoped to start his evacuation to South Africa on Wednesday.

"Ran has frostbite injuries to four fingers of his left hand," said Robert Lambert, the group's doctor.

The veteran explorer suffered frostbite after he removed a glove to adjust a ski binding, forcing him to withdraw from the marathon trek.

Fiennes had suffered severe frostbite to the same hand during a 2000 expedition, and sawed off the damaged parts of his fingers himself.

It was too soon to assess the full extent of the new damage to the hand, but treatment was going well, said Lambert.

"To continue skiing with this injury in these conditions would be to invite much more severe damage," he added.

The team is waiting for a break in the to get Fiennes to Princess Elisabeth Station, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) away.

The plan is then to fly him to Novo air base for a flight to Cape Town, from where the expedition ship sailed in early January.

"Ran is bearing up with his usual fortitude and good cheer," said Lambert.

The five remaining members of the team will press on with the mission, dubbed The Coldest Journey, and are set to start the winter crossing on March 21.

The group hopes to be the first to make a more than 2,000-mile crossing in winter.

The team members will face six months of mostly darkness in an area where temperatures can plunge to minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit).

The team is led by two carrying radars, followed by two tractors pulling sledge-mounted, converted containers with the rest of the team, equipment, fuel and food.

The furthest winter journey in Antarctica thus far covered 60 miles in the early 20th century.

Once described as the "world's great living explorer" by the Guinness Book of Records, Fiennes has multiple records under his belt.

He was the oldest Briton to summit Mount Everest, has crossed both polar ice caps, and has crossed the Antarctic unsupported.

Explore further: New Antarctic sea ice record—but scientists aren't 'confounded'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wild weather strands Shackleton adventurers

Feb 09, 2013

Two adventurers attempting to recreate an epic 1916 Antarctic expedition by Ernest Shackleton were on Saturday stranded on a plateau above a glacier after wild weather hit the final leg of their journey.

Woman to begin Antarctic crossing, awaits weather

Nov 21, 2011

(AP) -- A 33-year-old British adventurer preparing for a historic solo crossing of Antarctica was waiting at a base camp for the weather to improve on Sunday in order to begin her long journey on skis.

Perilous Shackleton Antarctic bid sets off

Jan 24, 2013

A British-Australian expedition recreating Ernest Shackleton's perilous 1916 crossing of the Southern Ocean in a small boat set off Thursday, braced for fearsome seas and icy, bleak conditions.

Winter sports safety: Preparation is key

Jan 20, 2013

(HealthDay)—The outdoor winter sports season is in full swing, which means it's a good time to remind people about winter sports safety tips, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Recommended for you

Early Earth less hellish than previously thought

8 hours ago

Conditions on Earth for the first 500 million years after it formed may have been surprisingly similar to the present day, complete with oceans, continents and active crustal plates.

User comments : 0