Going to Extremes

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Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes — Ran Fiennes to his friends — put the five frostbitten fingers of his left hand in his workbench vice, one by one. With a fretsaw, he cut off the blackened end joints.

"If the finger bled or hurt, I just moved the saw up a little," he says. Fiennes was frustrated that five months after his return from the North Pole his hand was still intensely painful and he could be of little help to his wife on the farm. His physiotherapist, who also treats horses, examined the stubs and said he had done "rather...