There are very few men in the limelight of the world today who epitomize masculine virtue. One of them is Sir Renaulph Fiennes.

Fiennes served in the British Army for eight years, including a period on counter-insurgency service while attached to the army of the Sultanate of Oman. He later undertook numerous expeditions and was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means, and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot. In May 2009, at the age of 65, he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. According to the Guiness Book of World Records,  he is the world’s greatest living explorer. Fiennes has written numerous books about his army service and his expeditions, as well as a book defending Robert Falcon Scott (a masculine Naval officer and adventurer) from modern revisionists.

A few highlights of his life include.

1. Getting kicked out of the SAS for defending his country’s honor and being a rascal

Fiennes served eight years in the British Army—in his father’s regiment, the Royal Scots Greys—and was later seconded to the Special Air Service, where he specialized in demolitions of all things.

His service life was enlivened by various scrapes and escapades, including an occasion when Fiennes and another officer procured a very lively, squirming piglet, covered it with tank grease and slipped it into the crowded ballroom of the army’s Staff College (where officers are trained). On another occasion, offended by the construction of an ugly concrete dam built by 20th Century Fox for the production of the film Doctor Dolittle in the village of Castle Combe, Fiennes planned to demolish the dam. He used explosives which he later claimed to have accumulated from leftovers on training exercises.

Using skills from a recently completed training course on evading search dogs by night, he escaped capture, but he and a guilty colleague were both subsequently traced. After a court case, Fiennes had to pay a large fine and he and his co-conspirator were discharged from the SAS. Fiennes was initially posted to another cavalry regiment but was then allowed to return to his regiment.

2. Walking across both poles unsupported by oxygen and chopping his own fingers off in a tool shed to speed up recovery from injuries

The expedition failed when his sleds fell through weak ice and Fiennes was forced to pull them out by hand. He sustained severe frostbite to the tips of all the fingers on his left hand, forcing him to abandon the attempt. On returning home, his surgeon insisted the dead fingertips be retained for several months before amputation, to allow regrowth of the remaining healthy tissue. Impatient at the pain the dying fingertips caused, Fiennes cut them off himself with a fretsaw above where the blood and the soreness was. Some of his other achievements include:

  • Discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman
  • North Polar Unsupported Expedition (furthest north unsupported record)
  • Pentland South Polar Expedition (first unsupported of the Antarctic continent and the longest unsupported polar expedition in history)
  • Climbed the Eiger by its much-feared North Face

3. His political affiliations are manly  and conservative

Fiennes  is an official patron of the UK Independence Party (one of the most conservative and anti-liberal parties in UK). He is also a member of the group “The Freedom Association” which is, unsurprisingly to any red pill man, libertarian.

4. In 2003 he ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, four months after a heart attack and bypass.

Race 1: Patagonia – South America
Race 2: Falkland Islands – “Antarctica”
Race 3: Sydney – Australia
Race 4: Singapore – Asia
Race 5: London – Europe
Race 6: Cairo – Africa
Race 7: New York – North America

5. He was almost James Bond

Fiennes married his high school sweetheart, who passed away while they were married. He was also considered for the role of James Bond during the casting process, making it to the final six contenders, but was rejected by Albert Broccolli for having “hands too big and a face like a farmer.” Roger Moore was eventually chosen.

He has also written over 27 books detailing his journeys, his struggles (he climbed Mount Everest while having a fear of heights and suffering from vertigo and heart problems). Some of his books are titled;  A Talent for Trouble, Where Soldiers Fear to Tread, Hell on Ice, To the Ends of the Earth (written with his wife Virginia), and his autobiography, Living Dangerously and Mind Over Matter: The Epic Crossing of the Antarctic Continent. His number one bestseller, The Feather Men, is also published in Signet.

I would elucidate more, but the interview below puts it better than any words could. And through it all, he maintains a dignified composure, a calm way of talking and a confidence without arrogance.

Read Next: Ascent Into Eternity: The Unconquerable Will Of George Mallory

Send this to a friend