Map of the Progress

GC2012 – the 7th expedition IMG leeds over the Greenland ice sheet:

The course is set to cross Greenland Glacier from Ammassalik/Kulusuk on the East Coast to Sondre Stromfjord on the West Coast. From Tasiilaq expedition members will be flown by helicopter onto the Hahn-glacier at about 900 meters (2700 feet) altitude, where the skis will take over for the next 540 km (335 miles) or so. From Hahn glacier it takes about 10 days to climb up to the highest part of the Ice sheet on this route, topping off at 2500 m. Then it takes about a week to get from the summit to the phantom radar station DYE 2, surely one of the most bizarre buildings on the planet (used to monitor the Russians during the Cold War). From this strange place it takes from around 5 days to get to Terra firma – Hill 660, the landfall on the western side of the ice sheet.

The Guide:

Róbert Þór, the expedition leader, is one of Icelandic Mountain Guides most experienced guides. He has been with the company for over a decade and led many of IMG’s most demanding hiking and backpacking tours. His latest this winter was a 9 members cross country ski expediton over Sprengisandur-Center Iceland, from the north to the south.

 

More about Robert Thor

 

Technical information:

Start of journey: Reykjavík, Iceland April 18th
End of journey: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, May 18th +/- 3 to 7 days
Expedition Size: 4
Cross country skiing: 4 to 5 weeks polar expedition
Walking per day: 6 to 8 active hours
Total distance: 540 kilometers (335 miles)
Altitude: 0/900 – 2.500 meters above sea level (0/2.950 – 8.200 feet)
Max elevation one day: 250 m (820 feet)
Duration: 4-5 weeks

GC2012 – back to Iceland!

Date: 22nd May | Location: Reykjavík | Weather: Cloudy   Reykjavik 22.5 – The team is back to Iceland after a great expedition. Now here at last some words from the expedition leader him self: “The 7th IMG Greenland Crossing was completed successfully on may 15th, thanks to everyone for keeping an eye on us! Overall we skied 549km’s in 27 days. We expected to take 25 and were close to finishing on the 26th, only 7km’s away from Hill 660. We had three weather days, one with no skiing. It snowed 10 days, there were 8 days in whiteout or higher winds and we had 9 sunny days. Due to the amounts of snowfall the surface was often covered with sastrukis (windpacked snow waves) which took an average of two days to blow away. Overall, heavier snow conditions than on previous crossings. All members were in good health all the way, minor frostbite and swollen feet from elevation and strain were the only issues. No important gear broke on the way except for a few binding screws and one stove which was replaced. Thanks to everyone at IMG and AC that supported us with planning, preparations, logistics and communications, specially Björgvin at IMG. All in all a great crossing, fantastic team and an adventure to be remembered!  -Robert Thor Haraldsson, EL.”

GC2012 – point 660!

Date: 15th May | Location: Greenland – Kangerlussuaq| Weather: fluffy little clouds

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 it´s 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!

/bh

GC2012 – the crossing coming to an end!

Date: 14th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Clear sky and gentle breeze

 

14/5 23:35 (GMT) They are getting closer to the “finish-line”, now there are only 7,6 km to Hill 660. The terrain is quite difficult where they are, big hills that they have to cross and drag the pulkas over. At one point they could´t go further and had to go back a little to find a better route.

There is some water around and snow is covering it so it´s hard to see where the spots are. Róbert said he has been going through few times but not far, it´s not deep so no worries. Being so close to the edge of the glacier it´s pretty sure they will step off it tomorrow, when exactly we can´t say for sure. It´s good to take a look at the Spot map to get the latest point, it´s updated faster than the map on the front page.

The weather today has been beautiful, clear sky and gentle breeze from behind. It might be a bit cloudy tomorrow but still quite ok weather. They did 33 km today and the elevation now is 730m.

If everything goes as planned, they will be picked up tomorrow in the afternoon. If they come to point 660 early they might start to walk, without the heavy gear, down the road that leads to Kangerlussuaq.

/bh

GC2012 – mountains on the horizon!

Date: 13th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Clear sky, a bit cold and wind in the back

13/5 23:34 (GMT) 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 Hill 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 🙂

/bh

GC2012 – closing in on Hill 660!

Date: 12th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Snowing with little visibility

12/5 23:50 (GMT) This morning fresh snow was covering everything and it was snowing the whole day making it hard to drag the pulkas. 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.

/bh

GC2012 – foot steps of a big fox heading north!

Date: 10th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Good weather with little wind

10/5 22:37 (GMT) Around noon yesterday Róbert and the team reached the DYE II 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 II) 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 condition 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.

/bh

 

The team reaching the DYE 2 station!
The team reaching the DYE II station!

 

GC2012 – DYE 2 station in sight!

Date: 8th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Good weather with some wind in the back

8/5 22:38 (GMT) Yeah… the DYE II 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 II 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.

/bh

 

DYE 2 station
DYE II station

GC2012 – traffic on the ice sheet!

Date: 6th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Foggy and some hail with little visibility

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.

/bh

 

raffic on the ice sheet!
Traffic on the ice sheet!

GC2012 – the skins are coming off!

Date: 4th May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Sunny and a bright sky

4/5 23:50 (GMT): Yesterday the weather was good sunny and bright skyes. 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 beeing 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 him self, so no wonder their spirits are strong 🙂

/bh

 

GC2012 – better skiing conditions!

Date: 2nd May | Location: Greenland ice sheet | Weather: Sunny and litle wind, a bit cold

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.

/bh

 

Good skiing conditions!
Good skiing conditions!