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Standard Chartered sponsors Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ “The Coldest Journey” in aid of Seeing is Believing
Veteran explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, will take on one of the last remaining polar challenges by attempting to cross Antarctica in winter. The six-month expedition next year is being called “The Coldest Journey”, and will see the team of six crossing nearly 4,000 kilometres, mostly in complete darkness in temperatures as low as -90°C.
The exploration team intends to raise USD5 million for Seeing is Believing (SiB)– a global initiative led by Standard Chartered and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to tackle avoidable blindness in developing countries.
About the Antarctic traverse
On 6 December 2012, the expedition team will set out from London on the South African research ship ‘SA Agulhas’, bound for Antarctica. On 21 March 2013, they will begin the six month journey to reach the Ross Sea. Their route from the Russian base of Novolazareskaya (‘Novo’) to Captain Scott’s base at McMurdo Sound - via the South Pole – will test the limits of human endurance.
Previously, the furthest any expedition has ever ventured into Antarctica during the winter is 60 miles. The team will have to be entirely self-sufficient. There will be no search and rescue facility available, as aircrafts cannot penetrate inland during winter due to darkness and risk of fuel freezing.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes said: “This will be my greatest challenge to date. Britain and the Commonwealth have a strong heritage of exploration, from Captain Cook 300 years ago to the present day. As such it is fitting that a Commonwealth team should be the first to fulfil this last great polar expedition."
Sir Ranulph joins the fight against avoidable blindness
Every dollar raised is matched by Standard Chartered, doubling the impact SiB can make on the ground, and bringing the total the team aim to raise to USD10 million. Since its launch in 2003, the programme has reached over 28 million people.
Sir Ranulph, said: “I have been on some amazing expeditions and seen many of the beautiful and unique sights the world has to offer. When I discovered Seeing is Believing, what it stood for, and understood how easily avoidable blindness could be prevented it inspired me and my colleagues to undertake this challenge. It is a fantastic cause and I would urge everyone who follows our progress to donate to it.”
Understanding the effects of climate change upon the poles
During their sea voyage, the team will undertake a number of scientific tasks to provide unique data on marine life, oceanography and meteorology. Using the very latest technological innovations, this epoch-making journey will pave the way for a new dawn in Antarctic, year round exploration, and make a decisive contribution to our understanding of the effect of climate change upon the poles.
Scientists on board the ice-strengthened Antarctic, SA Agulhas - a ship generously provided by the South African Maritime Safety Authority - will make detailed oceanographic, marine biological and meteorological observations on behalf of a number of research bodies around the world.
Inspiring young people
The expedition also offers a unique opportunity to generate diverse, engaging, real-time educational content for schools, with far-reaching educational value and study opportunities encompassing maths, history, geography, biology and physics, there to inspire young people in the possibilities of high achievement.
More than 43,000 schools in the UK and hundreds of thousands of schools throughout the Commonwealth, will be able to follow the expedition’s progress, take part in competitions, and study fully integrated curriculum modules. .
Visit The Coldest Journey website
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Notes to Editors:
About Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE is, according to the Guinness Book of Records, ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’. Sir Ranulph was the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported (with Dr Mike Stroud); the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb Everest; and he remains the only living man to circumnavigate the world along the polar axis (accomplished with the late Charles Burton).
About The Coldest Journey
The Coldest Journey is attempting to raise USD5 million for Seeing is Believing. The expedition's lead sponsor, Standard Chartered, will match, dollar for dollar, all donations made to Seeing is Believing – a charitable initiative to tackle avoidable blindness around the world - bringing the total aim to USD10 million.
The trans-Antarctic winter crossing is considered the last remaining polar challenge and its completion will mark a world first:
1958: 1st crossing of the Antarctic
1969: 1st crossing of the Arctic
1979-82: Transglobe Expedition led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes with Anton Bowring as Marine Coordinator – only expedition ever to circumnavigate the globe on its polar axis
2010: 1st winter crossing of the Arctic completed by Norwegian expedition
A winter crossing of the Antarctic has never yet been attempted.
The crossing will start on 21 March 2013 and finish by 21 September 2013, but due to the difficulty of reaching the coast in winter the team will not be able to begin the journey back to Britain until January 2014, arriving there in March 2012.
About Seeing is Believing
Seeing is Believing is a charity which raises money to prevent avoidable blindness across the world. It is a collaboration between the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness and Standard Chartered, the lead sponsor of the expedition. Launched in 2003, the initiative has grown into a multi-million dollar global programme reaching over 28 million people to date. Standard Chartered matches, dollar for dollar, all donations made to Seeing is Believing.
The expedition is managed by The TAWT Trust Limited a UK registered charity under the Chairmanship of Tony Medniuk. The TAWT Trust Limited is a UK Registered Charity No. 1140147.
The Coldest Journey
Discover more about the expedition and the fundraising efforts for Seeing is Believing.
Helping others to see
We've committed to raising USD100 million by 2020 to help tackle avoidable blindness.
Learn more about the journey, the educational and scientific research, and key events.