Eric Schlameisen, Philip de Roo and Joep Bovens crossed Greenland from East to West in 2007 and in 2008 from South to North.
During the 2nd and 3rd days it rained so much that the morning when they wanted to start it took over an hour to drain the water from the sleds, repack and put stuff to dry outside the sleds.
During the days the snow is too soft to pull the heavy sleds. The past days we have been getting up at 3 in the night so that we can use the frozen crust to get up to speed. What a treat to see sunrise on the icecap!"
At 2am we got out and lifted our biggest kites. Seemed a little bit too fast after an hour so we changed kites again. It was freezing cold this night so that we had to cover everything from the razor sharp wind; face masks, double down jackets and down mittens... still the wind finds your skin! By 1500h we did a staggering 165km. Above images courtesy of notice-expedition.nl (click to enlarge)
Sanne Mülschlegel, Pim Reurings, Raimo Haverink, Edwer Veldhuijzen, Jeffrey Ringrose and Henk-Jan Geel on the Icecap. Their last two days: After a hard day yesterday, lots of snow, hidden crevasses, and difficulties, today was a bright day with blue skies. One long downhill to Isortoq, and at the moment they are staying in a hut full of Inuit kids, giving away their remaining food. Image courtesy of Projectinlandice.com (click to enlarge).
The Dutch flying across Greenland

Posted: Jun 30, 2008 02:55 pm EDT
(ThePoles.com) Two Dutch teams were kite skiing across Greenland during the Spring season, from South to North and from West to East.

For the South-North team it was their second time across Greenland. During the Spring of 2007 Eric Schlameisen, Philip de Roo and Joep Bovens crossed the Icecap in 26 days from east-to-west, Isortoq to Kangerlussuaq. This was a preparation expedition for a longer kiting challenge, from Narsarsuaq to Qaanaaq.

The Notice Expedition

Joep, Eric and Philip, from the Notice-expedition started their kite-skiing in South-Greenland at Narsarsuaq and described the town as follows, Narsarsuaq is a small town of about 150 people, and this time of year it looks like a ghost town. We are all alone in this hiking cabin and each one of us has it's own 6 person room! What a silence here; not a single person on the street and also the houses look deserted. Beautiful it is indeed, nice weather and the town lies next to a fjord with chunks of ice in it. It is the only town on Greenland that has trees (about 20 or so).

On 14 May, after the police had inspected their gear the usual Greenland procedure - they started their expedition by taking a boat to their starting point we had to unload our 3 125kg sleds off the boat onto some rocks. All three of us worked as hard as we could. Using anchors and 30m rope we pulled the sleds over crevasses and rock. After 3 hours we could finally each pull our sleds on the steep glacier.

Rain

The first two week of their were not all sunshine, hard snow and winds for kiting.
During the 2nd and 3rd days it rained so much that the morning when they wanted to start it took over an hour to drain the water from the sleds, repack and put stuff to dry outside the sleds.

Too warm during the days

The days got so warm that it made the snow very difficult. The team decided to ski during the night. At first they got up at 3 am and then extended the night hours.

On 18 May they wrote, During the days the snow is too soft to pull the heavy sleds. The past days we have been getting up at 3 in the night so that we can use the frozen crust to get up to speed. What a treat to see sunrise on the icecap! We still have headwinds so that we cannot use our kites yet. During the day we sit around in the tent which can be very hot! It's a desert out here.

19 May: We are still getting up in the middle of the night since it is so hot during the day. Walking during the night (still no wind) and during the day killing time by running around naked. We are sitting in our tent with sleeping bags on top of it for some shade and thats the way we rest and wait for wind.

All night skiing

They report on 21 May about the effect of the warm days: Around 1300h the snow is all mushy which makes pulling the sleds almost impossible. The 20km we did was barely doable in the burning sun. Today we were able to kite for about 1.5hours with light winds. When the wind disappeared we did the old fashioned walking again,

We really like to make progress and thats why we will start in the evening now and continue all night instead of getting up at 3am. Winds hopefully better and snow is harder and not so hot (it freezes about 10 degrees). This will definitely not be a walk in the park but we are only starting now.

Wind, burning sun, storms

28 May: It doesnt seem to get easy on us; for the past 6 days we had terrible weather, snow and thick fogs. Still we were able to do 100km yesterday. Today we had our eye on Dye-2 but we were forced to stop 45km away from the station (we did 40km)... the wind is terrible now! A furious storm is raging with lots of snow everywhere; isn't there anything in between no wind and a burning sun or the continuing storms?

So far a couple of our thermos bottles dont close very well any more, Joeps 7m Frenzy kite has 30% broken chambers due to a crash but still flies and last but not least; just an hour ago Joeps insulating sleeping pad blew away in the gail; Spirits are a little down but we are not done yet!!

DYE-2 station

They report on 30 May: We only stopped at the station to sign the guestbook, take some pictures and have a chat with the caretaker of the airstrip here. She told us that the storm had been raging constantly at 36m/s for at least 4 hours. It was the worst storm in her 15 years here.

Breaking their kiting records

2 June: Today we set that record to 151km! Almost 8.5 hours of non-stop kiting... it's a great sports but definitely hard work! All three of us have knees hurting so bad after such a day that we can hardly stand up afterwards. We were completely done when we looked at our gps at our new record."

4 June: At 2am we got out and lifted our biggest kites. Seemed a little bit too fast after an hour so we changed kites again. It was freezing cold this night so that we had to cover everything from the razor sharp wind; face masks, double down jackets and down mittens... still the wind finds your skin! By 1500h we did a staggering 165km.

Luck changed

After yesterdays hard work and lots of distance, luck changed today. This morning Joeps sled-rope got stuck behind his ski while launching his kite and causing him to crash, hurting his ribs and damaging his 7m kite even more.

The last stretch

Last three days have been very hard with only light winds. It was hard for us making progress... Long days gave us still 140km and 106km and then the wind completely died.

These are the last couple of days so we are eager to get to the finish; we are doing fine apart from the exhausting last couple kilometers. For us this meant putting up the tent a couple times a day waiting for the wind; wouldn't it be nice again to do this only once a day?

We are longing for a nice hot shower and a regular toilet... Today (12 June, 5am) started out with lots of overcast but by noon the scenery was stunningly beautiful with scattered clouds and sunlight. The wind turned to our favour and for hours at a stretch we were shouting for joy! We started to see the coastline and by 9pm we covered 241km and called it a day. Tomorrow the rest and we hope to pitch tent at the fjord by Friday night!

Arrival on Friday the 13th

Joep, Eric and Philip did arrive on Friday night, 13 June, at a glacier near Qaanaaq after covering 2340 km in 32 days.

They had to wait a few days for a helicopter pick-up instead of a boat pick-up. Upon our arrival at the end of the glacier last Friday we discovered that the fjord was still frozen. No wonder, we're nearly three weeks early!

The only option out is a chartered helicopter flight. Our base camp quickly informed us that there wouldn't be a flight out of here before Monday due to bad weather. We've already spent 36 hours in our sleeping bag and went for a short walk today. Man, this is boring!!

Project Inland Ice expedition West-East crossing

Another Dutch group, five men and one woman, Sanne Mülschlegel, Pim Reurings, Raimo Haverink, Edwer Veldhuijzen, Jeffrey Ringrose and Henk-Jan Geel, crossed the Icecap from west to east, Kangerlussuaq to Isortoq. In Kangerlussuaq they received their gear that they have send ahead, 19 boxes with a total weight of about 380 kg.

They started their expedition on 16 April. A truck drove them to the ice cap. Their home team reports, The edge of the icecap is heavily crevassed, so they will have to work serious to drag the sledges across this labyrinth.

DYE-2

On 26 April, 10 days into the expedition they reached the building at Dye-2. That was also the first day that they were able to use their kites.

Today there was a 5 bft wind from the west, and they have used their kites for the first time. They have kited from 11.00 to 15.30, and in half a day they did 21 km; a distance that would take a full normal walking day. Although the first kite experiences didnt go without a fight (a lot of falling and getting up again). Not everyone in the team is already fully used to the way the kite handles, and with this strong wind it can be very scary to kite so fast.

Highest point

On Monday 5 May their home team reports: Yesterday evening the team called with another milestone: on sunday 4 mai, they went over the highest point of the icecap (somewhere around 2500 m altitude) . From there on its all the way down to Isortoq!

The days before were quite calm but cold, with temperatures on Friday reaching -15, and on Saturday -14. Saturday also brought cold wind from the East, so they used their protecting facemasks for the first time. Saturday evening they reached their point of no return: 290 km back to Kangerlussuaq or 290 km to Isortoq. Needless to say they choose the last option?

Almost a meter of fresh snow

In the second half they experienced warm weather, white-outs, snowfall and several gear breaks. They hoped for cold nights to freeze the snow to ski easier.

Thursday 15 May: The team has had almost a meter of fresh snow in a few days, which delayed them heavily. Saturday I announced proudly that they had only 120 more km to go, today they still have 65 km to do. The good thing is that the snow is finally a bit more compact, and yesterday they had a 20-km day again. They are still doing fine, but tired and focused on one single point: Isortoq

Saturday 17 May 2008: After 32 days, walking across 570 km of the Icecap, the team has completed their journey. After a hard day yesterday, lots of snow, hidden crevasses, and difficulties, today was a bright day with blue skies. One long downhill to Isortoq, and at the moment they are staying in a hut full of Inuit kids, giving away their remaining food.

The Notice-expedition team
Joep Bovens, born in 1974, is from Utrecht. When I was seven my parents took me to the mountains for the first time and since then I have not wanted anything else. I am attracted by mountains, glaciers a snow capped peaks.

Joep met Philip who had his eye on a Greenland kite crossing. Philip de Roo, born in 1985, is from Apeldoorn. His favourite activities are skiing, mountaineering and winter climbing.

Eric Schlameisen (1969) is also from Utrecht. Some of the highlights of the activities he has undertaken are for example an expedition lasting two months through the wilderness of Alaska (rafting, sea kayaking and climbing). An expedition to the Geographical North Pole, taking part in an Arctic sea kayaking race, various climbs in Nepal, France and Tanzania.

Joep, Eric and Philip successfully crossed the Greenland Icecap from east to west in 2007 in 26 days. The expedition team takes care of all preparations with regards to logistics, materials, diet, sponsorships, media, mental and physical training and lots and lots more!

Project Inland Ice team
They are a team of six Dutch from the Utrecht area. Sanne Mülschlegel, Pim Reurings, Raimo Haverink, Edwer Veldhuijzen, Jeffrey Ringrose and Henk-Jan Geel from different backgrounds, a technician, a scientist, a civil engineer and expertise in marketing. But at the end of the line we have one common interest. Snow.

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