Fiennes Ranulph (Sir) (United Kingdom)

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Fiennes Ranulph (Sir)

Fiennes Ranulph (Sir)

© Fiennes Ranulph (Sir)

Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet OBE (born 7 March 1944), usually known simply as Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes, is a British explorer and holder of several endurance records.

He is known to be the first man to visit both the north and south poles by land.


Since the 1960s Fiennes has been an explorer. He led expeditions up the White Nile on a hovercraft in 1969 and on Norway 's Jostedalsbre Glacier in 1970. Perhaps his most famous trek was the Transglobe Expedition that he undertook from 1979 until 1982. Fiennes and Charles Burton journeyed around the world on its polar axis using surface transport only, covering 52,000 miles and becoming the first people to have visited both poles.

In 1992 Fiennes led an expedition that discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman. The following year he joined with nutrition specialist Mike Stroud in an attempt to become the first to cross Antarctica unaided. They were forced to call for a pick up on the Ross Ice Shelf, but their journey of 97 days is the longest in south Polar history.

In 2000 he attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the north pole. The expedition failed when his sleds fell through weak ice and Fiennes was forced to pull them out by hand. He sustained severe frostbite to the tips of several fingers, forcing him to abandon the attempt. On returning home, his surgeon insisted the necrotic fingertips be retained for several months (to allow regrowth of the remaining healthy tissue) prior to amputation. Impatient at the pain the dying fingertips caused, Fiennes removed them himself (in his garden shed) with an electric saw.

In 2003, despite suffering from a heart attack and undergoing a double heart by-pass operation just four months previously, Fiennes joined up with Stroud again to carry out the extraordinary feat of completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.

Their route:

  • 26th October - Race 1: Patagonia , South America;
  • 27th October - Race 2: Falkland Islands , "Antarctica";
  • 28th October - Race 3: Sydney , Australasia;
  • 29th October - Race 4: Singapore , Asia;
  • 31st October - Race 5: London , Europe;
  • 31st October - Race 6: Cairo , Africa;
  • 1st November - Race 7: New York , North America

Originally Fiennes had planned to run the first marathon on King George Island, Antartica. The second marathon would then have taken place in Santiago, Chile. However bad weather and aeroplane engine trouble caused him to change his plans, running the South American segment in southern Patagonia first and then hopping to the Falklands as a substitute for the Antarctic leg.

Speaking after the event, Fiennes said that the Singapore marathon had been by far the most difficult because of high humidity and pollution. He also said that his cardiac surgeon had approved the marathons providing his heart-rate did not exceed a set amount; Fiennes later confessed to having forgotten to pack his heart-rate monitor.

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The Coldest Journey (Sir Ranulph Fiennes & Team)

Antarctic 2012-2013 - ongoing

25.10.2012 -

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is back in the Antarctic for a world first. He will lead a team of explorers to conquer…

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