Ranulph bids to conquer Antarctica – in the winter
British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes said yesterday that "everyone's grandmother" is now climbing Mount Everest so his new challenge is attempting a record-breaking trek across Antarctica in winter.
The 68-year-old, who lives on Exmoor, will lead the first team on foot across Antarctica during the southern winter, aiming to cover 2,000 miles (3,219km).
The team of six will brave temperatures as low as minus 90C (minus 130F) during their six-month journey.
Sir Ranulph said his forthcoming expedition is one of the last remaining polar challenges, with a winter crossing of the Arctic having recently being completed by a Norwegian expedition.
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"It is the last really big expedition left in these days when everybody's grandmother goes up Everest at weekends," Sir Ranulph told reporters in London.
He said his wife and children "weren't terribly thrilled" with his latest challenge.
"I've never done anything else and I need to make a living," he said.
"You're much more likely to die statistically on the roads here than you ever will on a polar expedition."
Sir Ranulph said he thought of his wife, children and a "hot bath" during arduous challenges.
The expedition, to begin in March, is being called the Coldest Journey On Earth, with an estimated budget of £6 million.
Much of the journey is being sponsored but organisers say more sponsors are needed.
The group will carry out readings and measurements for scientists and educate UK schoolchildren via the internet during their expedition.
The challenge is the latest feat of endurance by the seasoned explorer, who is hoping to raise 10 million US dollars (£6.17 million) for Seeing Is Believing, a charitable initiative to tackle avoidable blindness around the world.
Sir Ranulph has broken several records and led many expeditions to remote regions.
He was described by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1984 as "the world's greatest living explorer".
He is famous for taking part in the first successful circumnavigation via both the geographical poles, completed with Charles Burton in 1982.
The explorer also successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest in 2009 at the age of 65, becoming the oldest Briton to achieve this.