The Expedition Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Greenland Crossing - Nansen Route Expedition.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Greenland Crossing Nansen Route Trip Notes
The team will have a minimum size of 4 members and 1 guide and a maximum size of 8 members and 2 guides.
The Adventure Consultants team includes experienced Arctic/Antarctic travellers whose knowledge and expertise are imperative in making these expeditions a success. The guides for each crossing are confirmed six months prior to departure time.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Amelia Crofut-Brittingham, Client Liaison
Amelia has been with Adventure Consultants since October 2017 in the role of Client Liaison. Having spent many years working in the ski industry, Amelia brings a wealth of experience to her role.
Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician to receive a full medical examination. This information will be sighted only by the expedition leader and our medical adviser and treated with full confidentiality.
Level of Experience Required
Team members will require previous backcountry winter experience on skis and the ability to work well within a team environment. The nature of this expedition demands strong team cohesion and commitment. An essential ingredient for participants is physical fortitude for working hard in a cold weather environment hence each member must be strong and healthy.
Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.
Preparing for Your Trip
Effective work at high latitudes requires a good (and specific) physiology for the activity and a solid outdoors background. Of course, there is much we can do to enhance the physical attributes we have and these are best achieved by specific training. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for the expedition.
The physical issues endured by polar travellers are the sheer amount of physical output required on a daily basis, and repetitive strain injuries incurred from said activity. Weight loss often occurs through the sheer inability to eat the amount of calories you burn up in a day. There are ways to try to minimise this through diet, pace and regular snacks throughout each working day. However, on the longer trips, the result of all the effort is a lower level of performance and, consequently, the muscular system deteriorates through a calorific deficit. It is worth anticipating muscle loss and therefore you should train to ensure you have a bit extra before you leave.
Being generally fit, healthy and strong is paramount to doing well on these travels. Training should focus on developing cardiovascular capability and strength training for specific muscle groups. There is no training for pulling sleds like pulling sleds! Sport specific training will ensure your ligaments and tendons are conditioned for the stresses of expedition work so if you can get an old tractor tyre out and drag it around behind you in a field then that will ultimately be of some benefit. However, this can be difficult to do and many polar travellers have focused on other ways to simulate the strains to be experienced in the polar regions. Being overweight places more stress on your system so ensure that you are not putting yourself at a disadvantage before you start. It is recommended that you focus on strength development and stamina training as your body is constantly stressed through sled hauling and dealing with the cold. Lots of gym work is recommended and a physical trainer will assist in working on any areas of weakness you may have. Additionally, a lot of long-duration exercise like hill walking (with a pack), mountain biking on hills and swimming are beneficial. Be careful not to over-train just prior to the trip as you will need all your reserves and you don’t want to 'peak' too early. The fact that you are looking at losing (sometimes) considerable body mass indicates the need to be quite heavy at the start of the trip so do not over-do it prior to the expedition.
Aerobic exercise should not be ignored either as you do not want to turn up fully bulked, but not able to perform short duration bursts of energy expenditure where necessary, like when you set out and are feeling cold. During aerobic training, it is necessary to monitor your heart rate to ensure you are training your cardiovascular system. This can be achieved by using a heart rate monitor or by manually measuring heart rate during exertion. A basic formula is 220-Age=heart rate (HR) maximum. Operating at 70-85% of your HR max will ensure you are exercising to enhance cardiovascular fitness.
For all the effort that goes into training the body, the mental attributes are worth some analysis and attention also. The most important of these are a strong work ethic, an ability to pace one’s self for a long duration project, strength of character and—above all—the ability to get on with others. If you are not a 'team player' or you find that you often come into conflict with others (even if you do think it is their fault) then you should not consider taking part in polar expeditions, unless you do it solo!
Adventure Consultants also offers a specific Polar Training Course to introduce the essential skills and techniques you’ll need to prepare for a polar expedition. Based in the New Zealand mountains, this is a 4-10 day course designed to give you greater confidence in the judgment and decision making aspects of polar travel. While no course can prepare you fully for the real thing, this course offers a variety of terrain that enables you to develop the essential skills you will need.
What You Carry
Like the pioneering explorers, we must carry or drag on sleds all the team equipment and food. This reinforces the need to take just the right amount of equipment with you for the trip and to ensure you are fit before you arrive on the expedition.
At the beginning of the expedition, each member should expect to haul a sledge weighing about 75kgs (165 pounds). This is the total weight of both personal and communal gear. Towards the end, your sledge will be closer to 50kgs (110 pounds).
Your guide will help with your equipment check in Iceland, but you will need to arrive fit and ready to tackle the challenges ahead!
Evacuation insurance whilst on the trek will be included in the expedition fee but is limited to cover legitimate accident only and is limited to evacuation to the nearest port within Greenland. We require expedition members to carry additional insurance for evacuation and repatriation as well as normal travel medical expenses. Contact us for expedition insurance advice.
In 1888 Fritjof Nansen completed the first traverse of Greenland on skis in an epic journey of hardship and discovery. Nansen built large sleds for the journey which were the first of their type and required several men to haul them. Of course, modern technology has provided us with better equipment than what was available when Nansen did the crossing - but the distance and the Ice Cap are unchanged, and you still have to do the work!
Food will be of the highest standard possible, given the remoteness of the situation. As we are hauling all of the gear and food for a month long period, it is usual for food to be somewhat monotonous! However, we are planning our cuisine to be varied and nourishing to ensure energy levels are maintained. Please inform us if you have any special dietary requirements.
Clothing & Equipment
Adventure Consultants will supply all group gear (e.g. tents, stoves, food and sleds) whilst expedition members are to provide their own personal clothing and equipment including skis, skins and boots. A comprehensive equipment list will be provided to expedition members upon confirmation of your participation.
These days our equipment has improved dramatically since Nansen’s time allowing us to undertake this significant adventure with considerably less hardship! However, the equipment we do take must be of the highest quality and appropriate for the specific requirements we will encounter.
Obviously, weight is everything and hence we will rationalise every item we are to carry. A gear check will be carried out prior to departing Reykjavik to allow us to finalise loads.
Communication & Messages
To safeguard members of the expedition we will be carrying a satellite telephone and a Personal Locator Beacon.