It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with The Coldest Journey team, the five-man crew attempting to be the first to cross the Antarctic during its winter season.
The team began the 2,000-mile trek toward the end of March, unhappily without their expedition leader Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who was forced to drop out early due to severe frostbite.
For the next three months, the crew will be submerged in permanent darkness while they navigate an “especially inhospitable area of terrain with severe crevassing being exposed in all directions,” according to a status update posted to Facebook on Sunday.
Crevasses are huge cracks in the ice pack where glaciers meet. They can be exceptionally dangerous when they are covered up in thin snow cover.
What’s unfortunate — and frightening — is that the team’s ground penetrating radar, used to spot those giant hidden crevasses that their tractors or sledges could potentially fall into, is not working at the moment.
The need has never been greater.
The team is currently trapped in the “middle of a hideous crevasse field with seemingly bottomless cracks up to 4m (13 feet) across and big enough to swallow a 25-tonne [tractor] without it even touching the sides,” operations manager Hugh Bowring writes on The Coldest Journey Facebook Page. “This is a very stressful place to be and it is keeping the Ice Team on their toes at all times,” he added.
Hopefully the situation will look brighter tomorrow.
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