Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeh
The BBC reports that he’ll be traversing the continent by ski, pulling along ground penetrating radar equipment, which will peer under the ice and snow to check and see if there are any crevasses. These giant cracks in the ice could spell the end of Fiennes’ support team—two giant bulldozers loaded down with supplies and shelter.
But why undergo such a journey in the seventh decade of life? The obvious answer is ‘why not?’ But Fiennes also mentioned a deep-seated rivalry.
He told the BBC: “We heard a rumour that Norwegian explorers were contemplating this. We realised we were going to have to have a go.”
The statement eerily echoes a rivalry from a century ago, when Norwegian Roald Amundsen beat British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole in 1912. With any luck, Fiennes will fare better than Scott, who died trying to make it back from the Pole.
In addition to setting a record, Fiennes hopes to collect scientific data and raise money for charity. He starts on his epic trek across the continent next March.
More from Smithsonian.com: