Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen (click to enlarge)
Erik Bruun Jørgensen. Above images courtesy of Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen and nerthus-explore.com (click to enlarge)
Jesper Melin and Erik crossed the Greenland Ice Cap and arrived at the fjord areas in the Northeast. Above map and live images courtesy of Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen and thuletilthule.dk (click to enlarge)
ExWeb interview with Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen: We want to see what Peary saw
Posted: Mar 17, 2009 06:48 pm EDT
(ThePoles.com) End of last week two Danish men, Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen and Erik Jørgensen, embarked on a new route Greenland expedition.
Relying on mother's home-cooked expedition food in the start; the aim is to cross the Icecap from Kangerlussuaq (Sønderstrøm Fjord) to the fjord areas at Independence Fjord in the Northeast and then to film areas that Peary explored on Greenland. <cutoff>
The two men plan to cover approximately 3500 km with kites but no resupplies, and to stay 3 to 4 months on Greenland. They started much earlier than the usual ski season and expect to kite in temperatures of 40 to 50°C on the Inland Ice.
ExWebs Correne Coetzer caught up with Jesper Melin and Erik in Kangerlussuaq where they were ready to depart in 20°C.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> You are planning an approximately 3500 km, 3-4 month expedition on Greenland. What is your game plan?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> We will start from Kangerlussuaq on the southwest coast and will be crossing the Greenland Icecap diagonally to Independence Fjord on the northeastern coast with kites.
The crossing of the Inland Ice is a new area for Erik and I. From there we will travel around the northern coast of Greenland, via Cape Morris Jesup to Qaanaaq on the northwest coast. Most of this area is well known to us, because we worked there for several years.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> What is the aim of your expedition?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> We want to investigate and explore the unknown areas where Peary had been in the 19th century. He took photos in Peary Land and we want to see what he saw.
We work together with the Danish Arctic Institute Museum for Polar History to document this area with photos and film to see what it looks like today.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> It is a long period to take food and fuel with. What is your plan with your supplies?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> We take all our food and fuel and equipment with us for four months. Although we travel as light as we can, our sleds weigh 160 kg each.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> Are you taking any special gear or food with?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> The first 10 days we will eat my mothers special home made Danish food. From then on we will have the usual freeze-dried food.
We have developed some new stuff to keep our hands and feet warm, using Muskoxen wool for gloves and using Inuit techniques to keep our fingers warm.
As it is still very cold this time of year and we will be kiting at fast speeds for 100 200 km at a time. The wind-chill factor is our biggest enemy. As we have worked in Greenland before in very cold temperatures we have problems with our fingers, because of previous frostbite damage. Therefore we have to be very careful.
We will use Telemark skis and Nordic bindings to improve our blood circulation in our feet. It is important to have flexible bindings to help with the blood circulation. Further we shall use Norwegian wool sox, boots and over-boots.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> Apart from living in Scandinavia, what is your cold weather, expedition background?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> I was a member of the Sirius patrol in Greenland and worked for three years in the Northeastern part of Greenland.
At present Im the founder and owner of the guiding and travel company, Nerthus Explore, and have guided three expeditions across the Greenland Icecap along the classic Arctic Circle West-East route.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> Who is your team-mate? How do you know each other and what is his expedition background?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> My team-mate is Erik Juergensen, a Dane who lives in Denmark and Greenland. We met in the training school for the Sirius Patrol and worked together for the Sirius Patrol for three years in the Northeast of Greenland where we did dogsled patrols. So we know that area, but the Icecap will be new for us.
After our time with the Sirius Parole Erik joined the Navy Special Forces and I went to University where I obtained a doctorate in frostbite, hypothermia and other cold weather related illnesses.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> To do an expedition on Greenland one needs to get permission from the Danish Polar Center. Did you have to get permission from anybody else on Greenland for the areas that you are going to cover?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> Yes, apart from the permission from the Danish Polar Center to be on the Icecap, we got radio permission, insurance permission, weapons permission and permission from the National Park authorities to enter the National Park in the Northeastern area. Lots of permissions.
We wanted to start our expedition in the beginning of February, but couldnt get permission for that.
We prefer not to ski in the summer with the melt water and the heat; but the change over to summer could be problematic as well. We will travel in darkness for 2-3 weeks, but after that it is 24-hours daylight.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> How long did you prepare for this expedition?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> Four years.
<i><b>ExplorersWeb:</b> How do you feel at the moment?</i>
<b>Jesper Melin:</b> Very excited. The police inspected our equipment and we are ready to go.
<i>From mid-March to mid-July Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen and Erik Bruun Jørgensen will cross the Greenland Icecap diagonal from Kangerlussuaq (Sønderstrøm Fjord). in the Southwest to the fjord area of Independence Fjord in the Northeast. From there they will travel along the North coast of Greenland, via Cape Jesup Moris to Qaanaaq on the northwest coast; according to them a total of app. 3500 km.
They describe their Thule to Thule Expedition on their website as the longest expedition in modern times of Danish history. The expedition is organised by Nerthus Explore and they will explore and film areas where Peary travelled.
Biographies courtesy of their website:
Jesper M. Ganc-Petersen (34) is promoter of Nerthus Explore. He has travelled in most of the world and has a special love for Greenland and South America. From 1999-2001 he has been working for the Sirius Patrol and has through his work made a special knowledge of Greenland. Jesper is a doctor with interests in medication for expeditions and traumatic things.
Erik Bruun Jørgensen (33) has been guide and adviser in Nerthus Explore since the beginning. With many years of experience from the Sirius patrol and 7 years as a ranger Erik knows what planning is about. He guided The Inland Ice in 2007 and a team in 2008. When Erik not is on a trip he gives lectures, writes books and is advising about a lot of things that no one else knows about.</i>