(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
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
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:
Day 34 coordinates:
Classic Horizontal Route
Point 660 to Isortoq
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.
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.
This Norwegian group also crossed the classic horizontal route.
Interactive maps at Windyty
Norwegian Snåsa Expedition (Ice Cap record)
Greenland Dreams 2015
Amputee crossing (65 Degrees North)
Ousland Polar Exploration
The Ice Project (Mike and Clare)
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