13/12/2012 - 16:49 pm

Hoist UK gets Coldest Journey off the ground


A member of The Coldest Journey‘s ice team has praised expedition sponsor Hoist UK‘s equipment and said it will be among the first put to the test when Sir Ranulph Fiennes sets off on the world’s first ever attempt to cross the Antarctic in winter early next year.

Ian Prickett, who will be part of the team supporting Fiennes on a mission to complete the 2,000-mile journey across the frozen continent, said: “I would like to thank Hoist UK for the supply of the expedition’s chain blocks, straps, slings, shackles, turners and pull lifts.”

LHI was a guest of expedition sponsor Hoist UK as the lifting equipment supplier was invited to an event aboard the ship SA Agulhas—an ice-strengthened polar research and supply vessel—before it set off from London earlier this month (December) to head for Antarctica. SA Agulhas is pictured to the left of HMS Belfast with Tower Bridge in the background.

Prickett (pictured) said: “[The equipment] has already been extensively used throughout the loading of our ship during her brief stay in London. The chain blocks have been used in the trial build of our caboose units, helping to align the double containers when placed on the main sledge. The 10t straps were used while lifting the CATS, containers, sledges and stores onto the ship, while the shackles have been instrumental in keeping the safe and efficient loading on time for the departure of the SA Agulhas.”

During the traverse the expedition team will live in the main living caboose, which will consist of two 28ft insulated containers locked together, providing four heated rooms. External doors will lead into the plant room and ablutions room on opposite sides of the structure. This will allow a buffer zone before entering the warmer areas of the bunk room and living and eating area.

Hoist UK‘s equipment will be among the first items in use in Antarctica, placing the equipment safely on the sea ice for construction of what will be the expedition’s home for the foreseeable future.

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes had already told LHI magazine that only technological advancements and improvements to modern day equipment make possible the world’s first ever attempt to cross the Antarctic in winter.

Exposing themselves to temperatures dropping close to -90°C and operating in near permanent darkness, Fiennes will lead a team which aims, among other things, to raise $10m for the charity Seeing is Believing to help fight blindness around the world.

Fiennes told LHI: “$10m will be made up of lots of £9 which buys a pair of spectacles for a child. There is no sympathy for children all over the world who don’t get spectacles.” Fiennes himself has suffered with snow blindness, a type of temporary blindness caused by snow reflecting UV light, which he experienced for “10 days”, he said.

Hoist UK‘s equipment will arrive aboard the SA Agulhas in Cape Town, South Africa, on 28 December. It will sail from Cape Town for Crown Bay, Antarctica on 3 January, 2013.

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