Sir Ranulph Fiennes reveals frustration after quitting Coldest Journey expedition with frostbite

68-year-old developed frostbite after taking off his gloves in temperatures of around minus 33C

Sir Ranulph Fiennes tells of the frustration at having to give up attempt to cross Antarctic continent after suffering frostbite

The 68 year old explorer took of his gloves in minus 50 degree temperatures for around twenty minutes, to attend to ski bindings which had become loose.

“I'm not good at crying over spilt milk or split fingers but it is extremely frustrating,” he told journalists at a press conference at Heathrow airport.

“I started work on this expedition five years ago. I've been working full time and unpaid for five years. It is frustrating, but unavoidable. i will make the best of it by putting my focus full time on to making my focus entirely on the expedition team.”

Fiennes was training for the expedition, in which he would ski behind vehicles crossing the Antarctic, that was due to depart on March 21st, the first day the Antarctic winter.

“I was testing different types of binding, boots and skis,” he said. “We were in a white out, so I couldn't follow the tracks apart from the churn snow

“The fact it was churned made the bindings loose and with the bindings loose you just don't go anywhere, unless you tighten them up. With the big mitts you couldn't even peel a banana, so they come off, then the inside mitts, I've done Everest and the North Face of the Eigur in these inside mitts, both in very low temperatures. but on this occasion I had to take everything off in order to get to grips with these new types of bindings.

“I didn't have more than twenty minutes, but I realised that one hand, not both, had gone completely white, by which point it's too late to do anything about it. It's not the first time, it's happened twelve years ago. but since then I've done all sorts of things in the minutes fifties without a problem, so something in the circulation in that hand had gone wrong in the very recent past.”

Fiennes saw a vascular surgeon in Cape Town who, he said, among many questions, suggested diabetes may have been a cause. Mr Fiennes was told by his GP in London two and half months ago that a blood sample showed very early signs of type two diabetes.

The expedition is ongoing, and Fiennes will continue in a support role. The last time he suffered frostbite, on an unsupported trek to the North Pole where his equipment fell through thin ice, he grew so Impatient at the pain the dying fingertips caused while waiting for them to repair sufficiently for surgery, that he cut them off himself with a fretsaw.

The expedition aims to raise £6m for Seeing is Believing, a charity that fights to prevent avoidable blindness.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...