JOHANNESBURG (AP) — British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has embarked on an expedition that he describes as one of the last remaining polar challenges: crossing Antarctica during the region’s winter.
Fiennes, 68, and his five-member team left Cape Town on Monday aboard a South African polar vessel, the SA Agulhas, for what they have dubbed “The Coldest Journey.”
After reaching the southernmost continent, the expedition will begin its perilous journey via the South Pole on March 21, traversing nearly 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles), mostly in total darkness and with temperatures possibly dipping as low as minus 90 Celsius (minus 130 Fahrenheit).
The trip is particularly hazardous because no aircraft can travel inland in the winter due to the darkness and risk that fuel will freeze, meaning there is virtually no chance of a search and rescue operation if things go wrong.
“I usually look forward to expeditions, but there is such a big degree of uncertainty with this one that looking forward to it is probably…