Greenland ski crossing season wrap-up

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 05:28 pm EDT


(Correne Coetzer, Edited June 18, 2015 10:47 EDT to refelect record kite ski Avery team - see their route image below)


The Greenland ski season kicked off with three young Norwegians, Ronny Andre Kjenstad, Vegard Jørstad and Ole Christian Kjenstad, breaking the seemingly untouchable Greenland "Dream-Mile”; covering around 350 miles (560 km) from Point 660 to Isortoq in 7 days, 10 hours and 20 minutes.


Other teams on this horizontal route as well as teams on diagonal routes have completed their expeditions, battling Greenland’s vicious winds and negotiating glaciers and crevasses. Here goes a wrap-up:



Watkins Range to Qaanaaq

East-West 2500km

X Baluba


Norwegians Cecilie Rydberg and Lars Oven Pettersen completed a 2500 km kite-ski from the Watkins Mountain Range on the East coast of Greenland to Qaanaaq on the West coast; a diagonal route. First they had climbed the three highest peaks north of the Arctic Circle located in the Watkins Range. Gunnbjørns Fjeld is the highest at 3693 m. The Dome and Cone is close by, both just under 3,700 m.


The team started on May 1st when the Twin Otter dropped them with 220 kg supplies where they spent 6 days climbing. On May 24, Day 24, they reported to have survived one of Greenland’s infamous storms. After 41 days they hit solid rock on the Eastern side and continued their way down the mountains to the sea.



Tiniteqilaaq (Sermilik fjord) to Qasigiannaguit

East-West 700km

Greenland Dreams 2015

Finnish guide, Jaakko Heika, told Explorersweb about a duo from Finland who did a coast-to-coast ski crossing. Jaakko himself has guided a three-week round-trip ski expedition on Svalbard and thereafter a 10-days crossing of Vatnajökull in Iceland this Spring season.


Greenland: After a weather and gear delay in Tasiilaq, Finnish duo, Olli Hilander and Lauri Häkkänen, took a skidoo from Angmagssalik to Tiniteqilaaq and from there a boat to the other side of Sermilik fjord to start their expedition at the edge of the sea ice.  


The team had their share winds and white-outs on the Ice Cap. Getting off the ice on the Western side, they had difficulty finding a route through crevasses. On Day 31 they got off the ice and hiked with all their gear on their backs to Qasigiannaguit. The terrain right off the glacier was easier than the last kilometers on the ice, but it didn't stay like that. Day 35, the last day, they reported, “arrived to Qasigiannaguit, hardest day of the expedition today. Super rough and lots of wet snow up to waist at worst.” Total distance calculated: 703.6 km


Olli and Lauri reported to have met another expedition in Qasigiannaguit, before they left for Ilullisat.


Day 1 coordinates:

N66.03539 W038.06392

Day 34 coordinates:

N68.50565 W050.46332



Classic Horizontal Route

Point 660 to Isortoq

West-East 560km


Newland teams


Veteran Norwegian Greenland and Polar skier, Sjur Mørdre guided amputee Peter Bowker and 4 other team members of British Expedition, '65 Degrees North’ across their West-East classic horizontal route, from Point 660 to Isortoq. They completed the route in 26 days. Peter claims to be the first amputee to cross the Greenland Ice Cap on skis. 


The team reported about a crevasse incident down the glacier, with less than a couple of kilometres to go to their end point. "Without any warning Kirk suddenly disappeared down a crevasse and the pulk went crashing over his head. The team immediately pulled together to rescue him and Richard lowered himself head-first into the crevasse to free Kirk's feet from the skis.”  Sjur decided to rope the team together for the final push.


Guide, Torbjørn Øiesvold and his team completed their similar ski expedition across the Ice Cap from West to East in 25 days.


Both guides are from Norwegian outfitter, Newland. Newland has been providing the preparations, logistics, training, equipment, phone call backup. Svante Stand of Newland was involved in the preparations and training. 



Ousland teams


Bengt Rotmo successfully guided his ski team across the Ice Cap from Point 660 to Isortoq in the East. 


Irish duo, Mike O’Shea and Clare O’Leary, completed their dog sled trip with Sigrid and Salo. They reported the last 54 hours to Isortoq gave everyone a real test. 


"Completing over 120km (20% of the total journey) trying to beat a massive storm that was on the way, our last 14 hours were spent trying to drive through the storm and to negeotate the threatrous icefall in whiteout and with sleds attached to dogs, the only way to describe it was exhilarating (can't mention the other words here) hitting speeds of 30-40km and sliding sideways over ice mounds in a huge storm is an experience we will all remember for the thrills and excitement it caused."





This Norwegian outfitter had also a team on the Horizontal Ice Cap route this season.Christian Iversen Styve was the guide.



Fram Expeditions


This Norwegian group also crossed the classic horizontal route.





4000km Baffin Island Circumnavigation completed


Earthquake near North Pole


Greenland horizontal coast-to-coast kiters: Avery team talks about their record expedition


Greenland "Dream-Mile" broken: Lars Ebbesen talks

Exweb interview with Norwegian world record skiers on Greenland: Strategy, experience and weight-cutting


Norwegians set new Greenland speed ski record


Greenland: Focus on beating the storm


Norwegian Greenland speed ski update: Day 2


Greenland kicks off with speed record attempts (2015)


The elusive Greenland speed ski record: Three Norwegian dark horses (2012)


ExWeb interview with Bengt Rotmo, Greenland Fall vs. Spring


Finland’s Jaakko Heikka talks to ExWeb about Greenland’s horizontal ski route


Wings Over Greenland II: The Icecap Circumnavigation 2014


Greenland ICE expedition completed circumnavigation


Greenland ski wrap-up: New kite distance world record


ExWeb interview with Jaakko Heikka, “Vatnajökull is a great destination for a little expedition”



Other Media


Japanese hunter in Greenland embarks on last epic journey





Weather4Expeditions (Mark de Keyser)


Interactive maps at Windyty


and Earth Null School 




Norwegian Snåsa Expedition (Ice Cap record) 



SPOT tracker


British kite-skiers


Greenland Dreams 2015



Amputee crossing (65 Degrees North)










Ousland Polar Exploration




The Ice Project (Mike and Clare)





X Baluba

Cecilie and Lars Oven



Fram Expeditions






















Team 65 Degrees North's Kirk fell without warning in a crevasse near the end at Isortoq. The team immediately pulled together to rescue him. Richard lowered himself head-first into the crevasse to free Kirk's feet from the skis.
courtesy 65 Degrees North Facebook, SOURCE
Lars Oven Pettersen and Cecilie Rydberg at their drop off, to climb Greenland's highest mountains and kite ski to Qaanaaq.
courtesy X Baluba, SOURCE
Cecilie Rydberg and Lars Oven Pettersen's 2500km route. (click to expand)
courtesy Cecilie Rydberg DeLorme, SOURCE
Olli Hilander and Lauri Hakkanen from Finland (click to expand).
courtesy Greenland Dreams 2015 team, SOURCE
The Finns camping near the summit.
courtesy Greenland Dreams 2015 team, SOURCE
The Finns, Olli Hilander and Lauri Hakkanen, didn't have vehicle support off the ice, they carried their gear to the West coast.
courtesy Greenland Dreams 2015 team, SOURCE
Olli Hilander and Lauri Hakkanen's route from Tiniteqilaaq (Sermilik fjord) to Qasigiannaguit. (click to expand)
courtesy Greenland Dreams 2015 team, SOURCE
Guide Sjur Mordre led the 65 Degrees North team with amputee Peter Bowker, who lost his leg in Afghanistan.
courtesy Newland Facebook, SOURCE
Clare O'Leary and Mike O'Shea completed another ice cap as part of their Ice Project.
courtesy The Ice Project Facebook, SOURCE
"24 dogs in Salo's boat = no problem!" reported Sigrid at the end of their dogsled journey at Isortoq.
courtesy Ousland Polar Exploration, SOURCE
Christian Iversen Styve led the Hvitserk team.
courtesy Christian Iversen Styve Facebook, SOURCE
Tom Avery, Andrew Gerber, George Wells and Patrick Woodhead coast-to-coast record kite ski, Isortoq to Kangerlussuaq (classic horizontal route via Point 660): 9 days, 19 hours, 40 min. [Edited June 18, 2015 10:47 EDT]
courtesy 67 degrees North Greenland Challenge Delorme/TomAvery, SOURCE
Andre Kjenstad, Vegard Jorstad and Ole Christian Kjenstad broke the seemingly untouchable "Greenland Dream-Mile", a record that stood for 13 years.
courtesy Snasagutan, SOURCE