Sir Ranulph Fiennes visits the International Polar Foundation

Legendary polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes dropped by the Internatonal Polar Foundation offices here in Brussels this morning, to meet up with the foundation's president Alain Hubert. Sr Ranulph is currently preparing for a major polar challenge: The Coldest Journey on Earth, which will see him and five companions attempt to cross Antarctica in winter.

The Coldest Journey is attempting to raise USD$10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global charitable initiative to fight avoidable blindness. On 21 March 2013, the spring equinox, the six expedition members will begin a six-month journey to reach the Ross Sea, starting from the Russian base of Novolazareskaya (‘Novo’) to Captain Scott’s base at McMurdo Sound – via the South Pole, in an epic traverse that will test the limits of human endurance.

The expedition team will travel nearly 4,000 kilometres, mostly in complete darkness, in temperatures as low as -90°C. This means that the team will need to be entirely self-sufficient, as there will be no search and rescue facilities available -  aircraft cannot penetrate inland into Antarctica during winter, due to darkness and risk of fuel freezing.