British explorer Ranulph Fiennes pulled out of an expedition to cross Antarctica during the region’s winter after developing frostbite — a bitter disappointment for an adventurer who had spent years preparing for one of the last great polar challenges.
“The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided … to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter,” the expedition said in a statement.
Fiennes, who has been going where others fear to tread for decades and in 2009 became the oldest person to summit Mount Everest, already is missing parts of his fingers on his left hand because of frostbite suffered on a North Pole expedition a decade ago.
The team is working toward evacuating Fiennes from Antarctica, but that evacuation is being hampered by a blizzard. The team said he was transported by snowmobile to the Princess Elisabeth Station, about 70 kilometres from his current position. From there, he will be flown to Novo to get a connecting flight to Cape Town in South Africa.
Voici ce qu’on peut lire sur le site de Standard Chartered (une banque), un des commendataires de cette expédition:
« The crossing of the Antarctic will start on 21 March 2013 and finish by 21 September 2013. While conquering this final frontier of polar exploration, the expedition also aims to make a significant contribution to our understanding of global warming and its impact on the polar ice caps. »
Des histoires comme ça, ça ne s’invente pas !