Frostbite ends explorer's Antarctic trek

Feb. 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM

LONDON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes says he's pulling out of an Antarctic winter trek after suffering frostbite in temperatures down to minus-22 degrees F.

Fiennes, 68, is leaving the planned trip across the frozen continent after suffering frostbite while attempting to repair a ski binding with bare hands after a fall at a training base, the BBC reported Monday.

"The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided, with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition and its associated aims, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter," a statement from sight loss charity Seeing is Believe, for which the expedition is raising funds, said.

The other five members of the expedition team still plan to start the trek, officially titled the Coldest Journey on Earth, on March 21.

Fiennes' previous exploits include being the first person to travel by land to both the north and south poles and climbing Mount Everest at age 65.

The expedition team said Fiennes would be taken by snowmobile from its training base to a Belgian Antarctic base about 40 miles away and from there will be flown to a Russian-run station and then to Cape Town, South Africa, for treatment.

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