The Coldest Journey18 March 2013
The Coldest Journey is the first ever attempt to cross the Antarctic continent during the polar winter. Led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’ (Guinness World Records), the traverse will take place between the two seasonal equinoxes, 21st March – 21st September, with the ice team travelling from Novo to the Ross Sea in the Antarctic winter. During this six month period the expedition team will have travelled 2,000 miles, mostly in complete darkness in temperatures as low as –90°C.
Finning, one of the world’s largest distributors of Caterpillar equipment and powers systems, are providing customisation solutions and modifying two D6N track-type tractors to tow two specially engineered cabooses (sledges mounted living quarters) for scientific work, accommodation and storage. The D6Ns have also been designed to cope with the extreme temperatures and harsh Antarctic environment. The 20 tonne vehicles will be equipped with radars to identify the lethal perils of crevasse fields. Bespoke cloud and satellite technologies provided by Microsoft and Iridium will enable real-time updates on the expedition’s progress.
The ultimate objective is to complete The Coldest Journey while raising USD 10 million for Seeing is Believing: a global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness in developing countries. In addition to this the other main goals of this expedition are: true surface-shape of the Antarctic Ice Sheet; understanding the Antarctic moisture transport by water isotope analyses; examining bacteria in the cold; analysing the social adaptation in extreme environments (similarities exist between the conditions humans encounter on a winter Antarctic expedition and those found in space).
See the official web site of the expedition: http://www.thecoldestjourney.com