Photo: The Coldest Journey
Cold is the single biggest enemy for the six-man ice team attempting to be the first to cross Antarctica during the winter. They’ve made every preparation possible, but still can’t be sure their equipment will be enough.
The explorers, led by Ranulph Fiennes, arrived in Eastern Antarctica on a polar ship about 10 days ago, with a large crew that will soon return home with the ship. They promptly began unloading 90 tons of cargo, including two heavy snow vehicles, sledges and fuel, to assist in a a six-month trek across the white continent beginning on March 21.
With temperatures known to dip as low as minus 130 degree Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius) during the winter, high-tech clothing and specially-modified equipment for the snow and ice is the team’s only defence again interminable wind and cold.
The problem is, Antarctica is so darn cold, that the team members were not able to properly test their two main life-lines before the big trip.
“The trouble is that in the UK test chambers only go down to -58 Celsius (-72.4 Fahrenheit). Therefore it is unclear how the clothing and equipment will stand up to the seriously harsh conditions,” expedition co-leader Anton Bowring, who will not be making the trek across the icy continent, wrote us from the ship.
He adds: “However, we are confident that everything possible has been done during the past five years of planning to ensure that we have a good chance of success.”
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