Is Sir Ranulph Fiennes The World's Greatest Adventurer?
In a lifetime of expeditions – from Everest, to Antarctica and a round-the-world first – Sir Ranulph Fiennes has literally seen it all, and his pursuit of extraordinary challenges shows no sign of letting up
‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.’ For Sir Ranulph Fiennes, greatness in exploration was achieved through groundbreaking expedition after expedition – pushing the limits of human endurance and setting new standards for explorers the world over – even if he describes himself as ‘a travel writer.’
With an exploration CV longer and more varied than anyone else’s on Earth, some highlights include becoming the first person to reach both Poles, cross both the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, circumnavigate the world along its polar axis, and complete an unsupported crossing of the Antarctic continent. Renowned for his incomparable toughness – he famously sawed off his own frostbitten fingers – and capacity to endure the very worst conditions on the planet, many of Sir Ranulph’s achievements are difficult even for the most experienced of explorers to comprehend.
And despite relentlessly pursuing new and extraordinary challenges for over 40 years, he has no plans of hanging his boots up just yet. With three mountains left to climb in his Global Reach Challenge – an attempt to become the first person to have crossed both polar ice caps and have climbed the highest mountain on each continent – what continues to drive Sir Ranulph’s life of adventure? And how does the man voted the World’s Greatest Living Explorer reflect on his most iconic achievements?
I have a letter saying, “These people are trying to do what Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen and Franklin tried to do – all in a single journey”