Follow our Greenland Crossing team as they ski east to west across Greenland from April 16 - 19 May, 2012. The team will be led by Robert Thor from Icelandic Mountain Guides, our partners in Iceland.
We will post occasional progress reports on this page, as well as the AC Facebook page, when we hear from the team with news. This won't be every day!
Check the team's position as they cross Greenland using their Spot Tracker
19 April, 2012 - Hahn Glacier
Róbert just called in (22:56, 19/4).
They are all ready up on the glacier. They had the chance to get a ride with the chopper sooner than they expected from Tasilaq. Everything was ready so they jumped on it. They walked about 10km today, from 14:30 to 17:30. Good weather and good conditions Róbert said. So all is looking good.
21/4 22:16 (GMT): In the latest call from Róbert and his team, he said that things are going very well. They still have good skiing conditions and sunny but cold weather (-25°C). They skied 15,2 km yesterday and 16,1 today.
24/4 15:57 (GMT): The team is going about 18km each day now, a good pace. It´s been cloudy and a bit windy lately but now it´s better. The sky is clear again and the temperature has gone up. In the nights the temp is about -20°C and about -10°C when they are getting up in the morning. Around noon today the temp was around 0°C, pretty nice.
Yesterday they celebrated Hugh's birthday with balloons and a cake and had bacon with the dinner as a special treat :)
Update 25/4 : Due to bad weather conditions, the team will stay put in the camp today.
26/4 23:11 (GMT): Yesterday the team got caught in a bad weather ( > 15 m/s) and had to stay put for the day. It was snowing a lot and they had to spend most of the day clearing snow off the tents. The morning after they had to dig out the skis (that stood upright) since it had snowed more than two meters and everything was covered. After this there are big sastrugis all over that will probably slow them down for a while.
After the 0 km day they had a good one today and did 15,4 km even though it was hard to pull the load in the demanding conditions after the heavy snowfall. The visibility was very bad until noon and after that they could see the sun every now and then.
When in night camp on the 26th they had done 109 km total and the altitude is 1890m.
28/04 23:32 (GMT): Last two days have been slow. There are lot´s of sastrugis around that make it hard to drag the heavy pulkas forward. The weather has been sup-optimal to say the least, windy and snowing and the visibility bad. Because of the wind they've been using the tarp when they take breaks. The temperature was high yesterday, up to 1°C when it was snowing, colder today and down to -16°C this evening.
It looks like the weather might be a challenge for a bit longer. The winds are predicted to be high tomorrow with some snow fall. Less wind on Monday but it might be snowing even more. Let´s see how that goes.
The team did 14,3 km yesterday and 14,2 km today. The elevation now is 2068m and they have done 139 km total so about 400 km left to go.
They are obviously not alone up there. Róbert said they saw footprints of a fox in the snow today.
30/4 22:52 (GMT): No wind yesterday but it was snowing a bit. So today it was hard to drag the pulkas. At noon today the wind got a lot stronger. Tonight when Róbert called there was no wind and good visibility.
They did 16,5 km yesterday and 14 km today. The elevation is 2213m so they only have about 250 vertical meters left to the highest point. After they reach the highest point the fall-wind should stop teasing them. They also start to go downwards instead of upwards so the speed will go up. They have now done 170 km total.
In the evenings they have been enjoying beautiful sunsets despite the wind. Today they were briefly visited by a small bird. It obviously didn´t like them very much since it flew off right away.
2/5 22:10 (GMT): The team has had two pretty good days in a row with decent sunny weather. Still, it was quite cold today, -15°C at noon (last night it was -26°C, brrrr). The wind was only around 5 m/s but that means face masks in this cold.
The skiing conditions are better now, the snow is getting more even. They did 18 km yesterday and 16,3 km today. Now they have done 202 km total and have about 340 km left. The elevation now is 2370m.
Greenland Crossing 2012 - the skins are coming off!
4/5 23:50 (GMT): Yesterday the weather was good sunny and bright skies. Camp at 2454m, -26°C in the night. Sastrugis are getting very small and the snow is more even and the group walked 20 km. Today was a great day, they reached the top of the glacier and for the first time the felt like going down a little bit. They took skins off and advanced 23,5km on 6,5 active hours.
An amazing thing happened today when over 50 geese sat down on the glacier close to the group, a fantastic moment! They have now 98 km left to Dye 2 station and spirits are high. Count on being there in 4 to 5 days. 246 km are now behind them and less than 300 to go. Tomorow they will be halfway in km. Around 9 to 10 days left in total. We have also learned that one of the group, Hugh is actually a decendant of Nansen himself, so no wonder their spirits are strong :)
6/5 23:40 (GMT) Flock of geese? Nope, it´s the Norwegians crossing the glacier west to east. Róbert's team met a group (of nine) from Hvitserk today. It was nice for them to finally meet other people. One other team has passed them few days ago but too far away from them to see each other. The Hvitserk team was on their 13th day. They said there is another Hvitserk team on the way, 11 people. They also said that there are three Australians one day ahead of our team. Then another Icelandic team of two has just started from the Hahn glacier, so there is quite a lot of traffic these days.
Yesterday was warm, sleet all day and whiteout. They did 21 km. Today they did 25,8 km, the most distance covered in a day so far. It´s still warm, -2°C at noon and -4°C tonight. It was foggy today and some hail with little visibility but good skiing conditions. The elevation is 2384m.
8/5 22:38 (GMT): Yeah… the DYE 2 station is in sight. Tonight's camp is only 10 km away from it. They will reach the station tomorrow at noon probably. Must be interesting and even a bit eerie to see DYE 2 out there in the middle of the glacier. Getting there is a certain milestone and good for the team spirit. Congratulations :)
They met two Norwegians today. But they had not seen the two Australians that should, according to the latest news, be one day ahead of our team.
The weather has been good lately and for the first time they have been having some wind blowing from behind. That´s helpful and probably had something to do with new record days. They did 28 km yesterday and 29 km today. Now they have done 350 km and have about 190 km left. The elevation is 2180m.
10/5 22:37 (GMT): Around noon yesterday Róbert and the team reached the DYE 2 station and spent some two hours having a good look. They met a man called Drew and his wife, who live next to the station for five months each year. Drew takes care of the airstrip there. Huge Hercules planes come from NY to practise landing every week. Drew told them that last season, 84 people came a cross the glacier. That´s quite some traffic.
In the beginning, when they were still going up towards the highest point, they walked for 4 times 1,5 hours every day. Some days they did extra 30 minutes. After they started going down again they changed the routine to 5 times 1,5 hours of walking. They always stick to the 1,5 hours before taking a brake, that´s holy.
Yesterday they did 23,5 km (long brake at DYE 2) in white out first half of the day but after that it got brighter. Today they did 33,4 km. First it was bright and then it started to snow. Skiing conditions are good, almost no wind and not so cold. The elevation now is 1850m.
Today they saw footsteps of a big fox heading north. That one is obviously on a long journey.
12/5 23:50 (GMT): Closing in on Hill 660!
This morning fresh snow was covering everything and it was snowing the whole day making it hard to drag the polkas. Still they did 31 km today and 32,4 km yesterday. It´s around 77 km left to Hill 660 and they will head straight in the direction to there tomorrow.
Today they started out in -19°C but it gradually became warmer and in the evening the temperature was up to -2°C. They descended about 200m and the elevation now is 1450m. So far there have been around 10 days with almost no visibility and Róbert is hoping that there are bright days ahead.
Róbert mentioned how grateful he is for the good group he has with him. Good helpful travel companions and conversations are fun and lively. That's priceless on a journey like this.
13/5 23:34 (GMT) Mountains on the Horizon!
Finally seeing mountains in the distance, what a great feeling that must be. This is an obvious sign, they are getting really close to finishing the Greenland glacier crossing. They did 38 km today and have only 40 km left to point 660.
It was a good day today with some wind in the back even. They are on hard ice but luckily there is some cm of snow on top so they are still able to ski. Most likely they have to, at some point, take the skis off and put on the crampons. That will slow them down so let´s hope they can ski for some time more.
It was -17°C last night and it´s also cold tonight and clear skies. If it´s cold it´s less likely they have problems with water on the way down. It is possible that they can get off the glacier tomorrow if everything goes super well. But probably it´s more realistic to assume they will finish around noon on Thursday.
Róbert has been calling in every other day but now he will call more frequently. He called last night and tonight and will call again tomorrow. Now things are happening fast and we are excited to know how things are going. So stay tuned :)
15/5 22:05 (GMT) "Point 660 here we come!!"
Yes, they are off the glacier. Tonight around six their time (20 GMT) they made it off the glacier. Congratulations guys :)
Today was "hardcore" like Róbert put it. Last camp on the glacier was 7,6 km away from point 660, so a rather short way to go but it was not easy. First they managed to go on skis over demanding terrain but at one point they just could not go further, facing a 50m high steep hillside, almost a wall. It was no way they could have dragged the heavy pulkas up there. At this point they decided to take the skis off and use the crampons for the rest of the way, some two kilometers.
They filled their back-packs, managed to take half of the gear with them off the glacier. Then they went in again to get the rest. This wasn´t easy at all. The terrain there on the edge of the glacier was very demanding and took its time. We had originally arranged for a pick up that we then had to delay a bit.
When Róbert called tonight they were expecting the pick-up in a short time. Everyone is of course very happy to be off the glacier now, having achieved the amazing thing of crossing the huge Greenland ice cap from east to west. It´s easy to imagine that now they are very eager to get to a warm shower after all this time :)
For the next two nights they will stay at Old Camp in Kangerlussuaq. On Thursday morning they will fly over to Nuuk and stay there one night. On Friday evening they have a flight back to Iceland.
It´s going to be great to hear some interesting stories straight from them when we meet them after they're back home. Now we know that they are all very happy and everyone is feeling good and healthy. Again… congratulations guys!