Heavy Machinery Helping Team Cross Antarctica
Apr 05, 2013
On March 21, a British team set out to cross Antarctica in the winter—something that has never been done. Named the Coldest Journey the goals include five main aspects:
- Charity: To raise a $10 million for Seeing is Believing, which is a global charity tackling avoidable blindness, where every dollar raised will be matched by Standard Chartered.
- Science: Five important science projects will be carried out on the ice, plus several more from the expedition ship, as well as an unprecedented opportunity to see how materials and machinery work in the coldest environments on earth.
- Education: To create an extremely resourceful education package which will have far reaching benefits to children throughout the British Commonwealth
- Adventure: They doing this because it has never been done before! At the end of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year the team wants to show that her Commonwealth can still do things that no-one else has achieved.
The "Ice Team" is using two specially-modified Cat D6Ns to pull cabooses for accommodation, scientific work and storage, including jet fuel designed not to freeze. The machines will be exposed to the coldest conditions on earth during the six-month journey. Cat Finning mechanics Spencer Smirl and Richmond Dykes are part of the Ice Team. They have the tasks of driving and maintaining the D6Ns during The Coldest Journey.
For videos and a photo gallery highlighting the equipment, click here.
The 2000-mile journey across the continent has for many years been considered too perilous to try and the expedition’s five-man "Ice Team" will have to overcome one of earth’s most hostile environments if they are to succeed, exposing themselves to temperatures dropping close to -90°C and operating in near permanent darkness. It’s expected to take more than 6 months to complete the journey.
The severe conditions have already led to one crew member being evacuated.Sir Ranulph Fiennes was evacuated from Antarctica with severe frostbite, and the crew has decided to continue the trek. (read more here)
You can follow along with the team on The Coldest Journey Blog.
Or check out this updated map of the team’s progress.