Mt. Gunnbjörn 2016 expedition comes to a successful end

The team landed safely in Akureyri yesterday (4th of June) where they then staid one night before continuing to Reykjavík. There the expedition started officially and that´s where it ended. Yet another successful Mt. Gunnbjörn expedition in the bag for Icelandic Mountain Guides.

Like before we collaborated with Norlandair, the experts in getting us to the Watkins mountains area and back safely. This time we also collaborated with our friends at Adventure Consultants. Thanks to both for a fruitful cooperation.

Even thought the team got to Greenland one day later than planned, they came back to Iceland one day ahead of schedule, mission accomplished fast but safely.

You can find plenty of photos and info in previous post but let´s take a look at some more photos Ívar brought back …

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There was a lot of new snow and the plane sank in quite a bit. They actually had to “dig it out”, get some snow out of the way before the pilots could move it again and start the takeoff process. The landing site was at 2215m.

 

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This photos was shot the last day when they were almost down to the landing site, looking back towards the summit. We can see their tracks there and Mt. Gunnbjörn is right in the centre of the photo.

 

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After landing, the team moved higher up the valley, about 3,4km away from the landing site at 2415m and set up a camp.

 

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Mt. Gunnbjörn highest peak of the Arctic (3694m).

 

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Ívar looks back and snaps this photo of Simon, Travyn and Thomas when they were on the way up towards the mountain. The distance to the summit from the camp was about 6km. They started out from camp at 10:30 GMT and stood at the top around 16:30. GMT.

 

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The track is well visible on the ridge leading  towards the summit.

 

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A selfie on the summit of the highest peak in the Arctic.
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They said the views were amazing and countless peaks around. This photo proves that.

 

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At base camp, looking down towards the landing site. After the summit was in the bag, they staid one more night in the camp.

For those who are interested in the Mt. Gunnbjörn 2017 Expedition, please check out IMG’s website for further information. After doing Vinson, the highest peak in the Antarctic, Mt. Gunnbjörn is a logical next step 🙂

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In the air…

Now we know that the ski-plane landed safely 12:38 GMT today, close to were the Mt. Gunnbjörn team was waiting.

Takeoff was at 13:08 GMT. We haven’t heard yet if it happened in first attempt or if they needed more tries to succeed.

But the main thing is that they are on their way and all is good.

They will stay one night in Akureyri and the fly back to Reykjavík in the morning.

 

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And the ski-plane arrived.

 

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This one is shot out the window of the plane during takeoff. There we see Mt. Gunnbjörn, right in the centre of the photo.

 

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Flying high above, awesome views.

 

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Countless peaks, falling glaciers and ice fields.

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Flying back to sunny Iceland from sunny Greenland

Right now (10 o´clock) the ski-plane is about to depart from Akureyri to pick the Mt. Gunnbjörn team up and bring them back to Iceland. Ívar has called in and talked to the pilot, assured him that conditions are ok. Well, the snow is still heavy and when the team and the gear is in the plane, it´s heavier than when it was trying to take off last time. But we are lucky to be cooperating with Norlandair and their crew of true expert staff and pilots that know the area well and have done countless landings and take-offs there in all conditions.

 

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The team on the way to the landing site. Just about to be picked up.

 

The weather is good and all looks fine for a landing around or soon after 13:00 today. It makes things easier to have people on the ground to tell us how the weather is, tell us if the clouds are likely to be teasing us. It´s different on the way out when we only have the forecasts, computer models to tell us how it most likely is.

 

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Waiting for the plane to land. Plenty of everything so no reason to get bored or hungry.

 

The waiting for the plane won´t be too much of a torture for the team since it´s warm and the sun is shining. Ívar told us actually that he´s wearing a T-shirt, working on his tan I guess 🙂 The sun will stay with them cause here in Reykjavík, Iceland we have exceptionally good weather now and the sun is shining bright. A warm welcome is waiting them.

 

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In the Arctic… but it’s warm in the area right now.

 

We wish the team a pleasant flight back to Iceland.

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On the summit!

Ívar just called us from the summit of Mt. Gunnbjörn. The weather was good and no real reason not to go for the summit today. And that´s what they did. At 16:30 (GMT), 03.06.2016, the four of the stood on the summit. Congratulations! But they still have to get down and we hope for a phone call or a message after they reach camp tonight.

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Simon Gower, Thomas Rhall and Travyn Rhall along with the expedition leader Ívar Finnbogason (behind the camera) made it to the summit of Mt. Gunnbjörn on the 3rd of June, 2016. They have now all been to the highest summits of both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Congratulations!

 

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Ívar Finnbogason, expedition leader, standing on the top of Mt. Gunnbjörn for the second time.

Since the goal has been reached, we will see if it´s possible to pick the up already tomorrow. If that will be the case, they then have finished what they came for in just three days.

Like we mentioned before, it took the ski-plane many attempts to take off after the team was dropped off. The reason being wet and heavy snow. Ívar told us that last night it was warm, sleet and quite windy. So probably the conditions haven´t gotten any better.

We are in contact with the pilot an we will make a decision early tomorrow morning if it´s a go or no-go.

More info soon.

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Earlier today when the team was leaving the camp, heading towards their goal.

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A phone call from the Watkins mountains

Ívar, the Mt. Gunnbjörn expedition leader, called us tonight briefly. He told us that it´s a bit hard to drag the pulkas cause of how the snow is. But they have now moved away from the landing site and closer to the mountain. He told us that the ski-plane also had some difficulties taking off. It took few attempts.

It was a bit windy today but according to the forecasts, the wind shouldn´t be a problem the next few days. We of course hope that will be the case indeed. Ívar told us that they will probably be aiming at Saturday as a summit day.

We will post more news as they come in.

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Touch down on the glacier

Great news! Our Mt. Gunnbjörn team has managed to land in the Watkins mountains area where Mt. Gunnbjörn is located.

The plan was to fly to Greenland yesterday (1st of June), but since the weather conditions in the landing area were not good enough, the flight was postponed till today. A new departure time was decided 07:00 this morning. It was not 100% sure if they would be able to land but today looked like the best day according to weather forecast, out of the next three days. So we gave it a go.

All went well obviously cause the ski-plane touched down at 11:21 this morning. We don´t yet know exactly how the weather was but good enough for a successful landing at least and that´s all we need to know right now.

Now we wait for some news about how things are going. We are confident that the team will do well and manage to summit on Mt. Gunnbjörn in the next few days.

Ívar sent us some photos while still having mobile coverage. Please take a look…

 

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Next stop after Akureyri was Ísafjörður. The shortest distance to the landing site is from there. Here we see the ski-plane being filled up with fuel.

 

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Inside the ski-plane. Lot´s of gear of course.

 

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The view soon after takeoff from Ísafjörður.

 

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Here is an old one. It shows similar ski-plane and Mt. Gunnbjörn to the far left.

 

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Flight from Iceland to Greenland postponed until tomorrow

Weather conditions in Greenland were not favourable today so the team will spend the day exploring Akureyri and the area around.

The plan now is to fly to Greenland tomorrow morning (2nd of June) at 07:00. Let´s hope the clouds will find something better to do than lingering over the Watkins mountains and force us to change plans again.

More on this later.

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The Mt. Gunnbjörn 2016 team off to Greenland

The Mt. Gunnbjörn 2016 expedition has begun. Early this morning, the team flew off to Akureyri in the north of Iceland. There they will board the ski-plane that takes them to the Watkins Mountain area in Greenland after a brief stop for more fuel in Ísafjörður, a small town in the west fjords of Iceland.

Mt. Gunnbjörn is Greenland’s highest mountain. It´s also the highest peak located north of the Arctic Circle. Therefore it does not just hold the title of being the highest peak in Greenland but is also the highest peak of the Arctic (3694m).

The expedition leader Ívar Finnbogason is one of IMG’s most experienced guides and with him are Simon, Travyn and Thomas, all three from Australia. They are scheduled back to Iceland on the 5th of June if weather and conditions allow.

 

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The Mt. Gunnbjörn team ready to depart from Reykjavík domestic airport. From left: Thomas, Travyn, Ívar and Simon.

It´s a short expedition but still we will post here information they manage to send us while out there. The weather in the area looks good for the next few days. The ski-plane needs very good visibility to land and the only question at this point is weather they manage to fly from Iceland today, and land, or if they need to wait until tomorrow.

We´ll keep you posted.

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