SIR Ranulph Fiennes has said he was “frustrated” at being forced to pull out of an expedition across Antarctica because of frostbite.
The 68-year-old was injured in a fall while skiing during training at a base camp in Antarctica and developed frostbite after taking off his outer gloves to fix a ski binding in temperatures of around -33C (-27.4F).
It has forced him to quit the Coldest Journey expedition, which has been five years in the planning, but he will continue to support the project through fundraising.
After flying back to the UK, the explorer said: “The vascular surgeon I saw yesterday said that, in his opinion – he wasn’t sure – two of the fingers definitely would not require surgery and two of the fingers might require surgery.”
Sir Ranulph’s team-mates will continue with the 2,000-mile trek, which they are expected to embark on later this month.
He said: “You could not put a better team together than that lot. I’m very pleased with and proud of the team in charge of the crossing. Everything is going totally on schedule as of today.”
Sir Ranulph had a double heart bypass in 2003 and suffered a heart attack two years later as he came agonisingly close to the summit of Everest.
He finally reached the top in 2009 on his third attempt, becoming the oldest Briton to do so at 65 years of age.