Fiennes and his team will have high-tech gear, including battery-operated heating mechanisms in their clothing and special breathing apparatus. They will use modified, 20-ton tractors to transport sledges with mounted living quarters and fuel that is designed not to freeze in the extreme temperatures. The vehicles will have radars that can detect crevasses.
Anton Bowring, co-leader of the expedition, said the modifications to clothing and equipment for the polar trip made it comparable with preparations for a flight into space.
“Psychologically, the conditions are similar,” he told South Africa's Sunday Times. “Once they set off and the winter sets in, they are on their own. You can't get an evacuation if someone gets appendicitis or frost bite. There is nothing you can do about it.”
Expedition organizers plan to raise $10 million for a charity that seeks to prevent blindness. Team members also hope to conduct research aimed at understanding the effect of climate change on the poles.
Fiennes has compiled a long list of achievements over the decades, many involving the Antarctic and Arctic regions. He became the oldest Briton to summit Mount Everest in 2009.