My Gadget Life – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Technology is usually a dirty word with difficult expeditionsIt's usually an area where breakdowns occur, so when you get something unusual, that's no

It's usually an area where breakdowns occur, so when you get something unusual, that's not only high tech, but reliable, then your ears really start pricking up. That means something like a Land Rover to get around. In terms of communications though, that usually means high frequency radios.

Mobile phones aren't usually reliable and don't fit in with expeditions

We drop stuff, make it wet, throw it in mud. Mobile phones just don't fit into that. The Land Rover S1 has been designed so it incorporates all the modern tech but within a shell which you can't bust. So far, it's proved everything I wanted. Apart from one thing, it doesn't work down at –70C. Which is how cold it'll be on my next expedition. Sonim has said it's working on it, so we should be ok. I'm not off for two years yet.

Everest goes on forever, you can't believe how bloody tall the thing is

I've failed to reach the top twice. Once in 2005 when I had a heart attack just 300 feet from the summit. In 2008 there was an issue with the weather and exhaustion. That year I knew I'd make it to the top, but not back down. You can't afford to make mistakes. You just need to concentrate on the rope, 7 inches at a time, for 8 hours. I've done it now, so don't have to do it again.

The time we crossed the Antarctic was the most physically demanding thing I've ever done

I started out at 12 stone and by half way I was 10 and a half stone and skeletal. I was burning 11,000 calories every day and didn't have a rest for 97 days. We had no choice. We wouldn't have made it otherwise.

Mobile phones don't normally work after I've had them about a month

As long as they've got four buttons, that's ok by me. I don't try and make out I know too much about technology away from my expeditions. That's when I need it the most.