10/12/2012 - 11:55 am

Sir Ranulph Fiennes gives Hoist UK thumbs up


Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has 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—The Coldest Journey.

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 mark the start of a mission to complete the 2,000-mile journey across the frozen continent.

Hoist UK’s manual chain blocks, lever hoists, slings and shackles were aboard the ship that will transport explorers and their equipment to the start of a journey that has for many years been thought too perilous to try.

Originally told, “You’re joking” by the UK Government’s Foreign Office, Fiennes said, “If it wasn’t for the technological side of it the Foreign Office wouldn’t have given us the permit.”

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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