The British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is leading a team of explorers to conquer the last great polar challenge: crossing Antarctica in winter.
Their attempt, now under way, aims to raise $10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global initiative to help tackle avoidable blindness.
The expedition, dubbed The Coldest Journey, officially began Dec. 6 when more than 100 tons of specialist and survival equipment left London for the Antarctic aboard the SA Agulhas. A small number of the expedition team, including co-leader and marine organizer Anton Bowring, will embark from London, with the rest of the team joining the ship in Cape Town for final preparations before leaving for the Lazarev Sea in Antarctica in early January.
The traverse will take place between the two seasonal equinoxes (March 21 and Sept. 21, during which time the expedition's "Ice Team" will travel 2,000 miles, often in complete darkness and in temperatures potentially approaching minus-130 degrees.