Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been called the world's last great explorer. He has scaled Mount Everest, trekked to the South Pole (losing half of his fingers on one hand in the process) and run 7 marathons in seven days in 7 continents, just to name a few of his exploits. Now 68 years old, the British adventurer embarked earlier this year with a team to attempt the first-ever crossing of the Antarctic in the polar winter.
They are raising money for a charity called Seeing is Believing
, which helps stop preventable blindness. They'll also be conducting scientific studies along the way.
Unfortunately, Fiennes had to drop out in February during final preparations in Antarctica because of frostbite. The remaining five team members decided to continue on without their inspirational leader, and started their 2,000 km trek this week. They'll be gone for 6 months, skiing and driving caterpillar tractors in the dark, in temperatures dipping to minus 90 degrees Celsius They'll sleep in heated caravans, which they haul behind them.
Kevin spoke with Sir Ranulph in Toronto about this latest expedition, which was five years in the making, and about a lifetime of expeditions across the globe.
He also caught up with one of the five team members - 28-year-old Spencer Smirl, a Canadian originally from Peace River, Alberta - on a satellite phone from Antarctica. Spencer is one of the team's tractor drivers, and a mechanic with at least a decade of experience working in the Canadian Arctic for a mining company.