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Posted on 21 09 2012

Warmest Socks for The Coldest Journey.

British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to lead the first team on foot across Antarctica during the southern winter.  The Coldest Journey starts from the Russian base of Novoloskaya to Captain Scott’s base at McMurdo Sound via the South Pole. With temperatures hitting -90C the journey will take six months and span over 2,000 miles, mostly in complete darkness. 

Frostbite will inevitably be a problem and every bit of kit needs to be tested.  In preparation for the expedition the team tested several sock brands in a cold chamber and chose Bridgedale’s WoolFusion® Summits as the best expedition sock to keep their feet dry, warm and comfortable throughout their expedition. 

The Coldest Journey team is also attempting to raise USD10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global initiative to prevent and treat avoidable blindness. 

Of the Antarctic traverse, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Expedition Leader of The Coldest Journey, said: “This will be my greatest challenge to date. We will stretch the limits of human endurance. Britain and the Commonwealth has a strong heritage of exploration, from Captain Cook 300 years ago to the present day.”

Described by Guinness World Records as the world’s greatest living explorer, past feats, supported by Bridgedale have seen Sir Ranulph running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days and at the age of 65 climb Everest. 

The team will be dropped off by ship on the Pacific coast of the continent and wait for the equinox on 21 March 2013 before setting off over the ice shelf. A hundred years ago on the same ice shelf, Capt Scott died on his polar expedition as he was caught out by the start of the southern winter. 

During the sea voyage to get to the Antarctic coast, the team will carry out scientific tasks to provide data on marine life, oceanography and meteorology. While crossing Antarctica they will also help scientists who are compiling information about changes to the ice shelf and the effect of climate change upon the poles. 

Sir Ranulph and his skiing partner will lead on foot, pulling a ground-penetrating radar system which will relay pictures to the lead vehicle.  These pictures will help them avoid crevasses up to 200ft deep

During an interview with the BBC, Sir Ranulph said “The challenge is whether it is possible to operate and be out there in the coldest place on earth at the coldest time of the year.”

“Your lungs definitely suffer. The air going in is so cold it’s going to freeze some of the moisture that’s in that system.”

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