Brit Team Sets Off on 1st Winter Antarctic Crossing
Will face temps as low as minus-133 during 6-month trek
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2012 10:21 AM CST
A map of the route Ranulph Fiennes and his team intends to follow to cross the Antarctic next year.   (LIMA Project)
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(Newser) – Few have made the 2,500-mile journey across the Antarctic, and no one has accomplished it in during the south's winter. But now explorer Ranulph Fiennes is leading a six-man attempt to do just that, spending six months to cross the icy continent on a trek dubbed The Coldest Journey, reports the Guardian. Leaving London yesterday, the expedition is set to begin the Antarctic crossing on March 21, with hopes of raising $10 million for fighting blindness, while performing scientific research along their journey. Fiennes has already survived a heart attack while climbing Everest, sawed off the tips of his own frostbitten fingers, and beaten cancer. But surviving temperatures that could drop as low as minus-133 degrees is unprecedented.

The team will carry 224 tons of equipment on three industrial sledges and 14 smaller sledges, reports the Australian. They will need special respirators to protect their lungs from the extreme cold. And everything has been carefully rationed, including 12 squares of toilet paper per man per day. "For more than a hundred years the world has experienced a golden era of exploration," Fiennes said. "But only one true polar challenge remains: to be the first to cross Antarctica in the polar winter."