The Greenland Crossing 2016 is about to start

The Greenland Crossing Expedition is about to start. The expedition members coming from abroad are arriving to Iceland this weekend. On Tuesday the 19th the team of five will fly off to Kulusuk, east Greenland and continue right away to Tasiilaq. There they will stay for two nights before being flown up to Hahn glacier where the actual crossing starts.

In Tasiilaq they need to take care of some paperwork, hand in permits and also do the last preparations before starting the almost month long journey across to the west side of the ice cap.

Here on this blog site we will map the team’s progress. The map will be „glued“ to the top of the page if you go through the “Greenland Crossing 2016” link under the “Greenland Expeditions” category tab on the top of the web site. So we recommend you bookmark that link if you are focusing on this specific expedition.

We will post comments from expedition members and tell about how things are going in general. We try give those at home some insight into the expedition life. So stay tuned if you are interested in following how the expedition is going.

 

BjorgvinHilmarsson (5)

2015 Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition, a great success

Our Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition in April 2015 was a great succes. Conditions were good and we got many days with very good weather. On this eight days expedition we crossed Vatnajökull, Europes‘s largest glacier, starting from Tungnárjökull outlet glacier in the west and ended down on Breiðarmerkurjökull outlet glacier in the south-east. On the way we stopped at the hut in Grímsfjall and then again in Esjufjöll. Three nights in the huts and four nights in tents on the ice cap. We started out on the 14th of April and came down on the 21st.

Here below are few photos from the expedition.

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
The first two camps. On the left is how the camp looked after the first night and on the right how it was after the second nigh.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
Getting closer to Grímsvötn caldera. There we see Öræfajökull in the background, some 50km away.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
The hut on Grímsfjall (Grímsvötn area) is great. It´s heated up by the volcano it self and there we also have a volcano powered steam bath.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
We spent two nights in the hut. The plan was to ski in ther area during the day but the weather was too bad for going out. Enjoying good food in the warm hut for a day wasn´t that bad 🙂

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
The weather was bad all day until about eight or nine. After that the skies cleared and this is what we got. A beautiful night and great views.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
Here we see down to the Grímsvötn caldera from the hut. Snowless areas around where the ground is warm and steam rising up.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
We kept on going, now towards Öæfajökull. Going down from Grímsfjall mountain is fun. The slope is steeper than before so you can simply sit on your pulka and slide down. The weather this day was awesome and we did 23km, our longest day.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
The tents are roomy and comfortable.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
We continued down to Breiðamerkurjökull glacier instead of going up to Öræfajökull. We decided to follow the good weather.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
There we see Mávabyggðir mountain range. We are on our way to Esjufjöll further east.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
The hut at Esjufjöll is small but very nice and has all you need.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
Inside the hut at Esjufjöll mountains.

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
We did some skiing without the pulkas in the great Esjufjöll area before heading down towards the endpoint of our expedition

 

Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
In the Esjufjöll area you have mountains, broken up ice fields and splendid views over Breiðamerkurjökull and down to the ocean even.
Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson
Stopping for snacks on the way and enjoying the sun.

 

All photos by Björgvin Hilmarsson

We have two departures planned for next year. Check out our web site for more info. For info on other expeditions check here.

For photos from a Vatnajökull crossing in 2014, check here.

 

– bh

Polar Explorersweb interviews Einar Torfi about his South Pole expedition

Recently, Polar ExplorersWeb published an interview with our Guide Einar Torfi Finnsson who guided three clients to the South Pole, an expedition that lasted for almost two months and ended on the 19th of January 2015.

In the interview Einar tells about the expedition, about the gear he used, the food, the routine and much more. Very interesting to get first hand information about practical things that matter in an real Polar expedition.

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South Pole guide, Einar Torfi Finnsson, top gear: a skirt, a mask and boot liners
In English – Published on the 6th of March, 2015.

ET_a_polnum

A local news paper here in Iceland published an article and an interview with Einar Torfi mid February. There you  have both photos and videos.

57 dag­ar og 1130 kíló­metr­ar
In Icelandic – Published in Morgunblaðið  (internet version) on the 15th of February, 2015.

– bh

South Pole All the Way: Media coverage

Here are some links to media coverage after Einar Torfi and his team arrived to the South Pole on the 19th of January, 2015.

Radio Interview with Einar after he arrived to the South Pole, aired on the 20th of January, 2015.
In Icelandic – RÚV (national radio). Interview starts at 41:10. It´s online for two weeks after first release (that is 20th of January, 2015).

Komst á Suðurpólinn í kvöld
In Icelandic – Published in Morgunblaðið (internet version) on the 19th of January, 2015.

Einar Torfi á suðurpólnum: „Þetta er svolítið súrrealískt“
In Icelandic – Published on Visir.is (web media) on the 20th of January, 2015

For older media reports about the expedition see here (around Chrismas and new year).

– bh

 

SP_teamThe team of four that just made it to the South Pole after skiing 1130km in 57 days.

Reporting from the South Pole: The last two days in retrospect

Last night (19th of January) we reported about Einar and his team arriving to the South Pole. Later on he wrote to us about the last two days of the journey. So here it goes:

“I found yesterday [18th of January] quite hard,  snow was sticky as it has been last days and I was not feeling particularly good. The cold is now intense enough to freeze the evaporation from our bodies before it gets to the outer layers so the breathing capacity of our clothes is largely reduced and they are damp or half wet in the evening.  We managed to make 21,9 km in 8 active hours. I was glad at the end of this day that our trip is coming to an end.

The weather this morning [19th of January] looked really bad. Strong wind at about 20 knots, spin drift and bad visibility.  Luckily it cleared up about when we started skiing and the weather became very good. When we had about 15km to go we saw the first buildings of the American research station in the distance and that motivated us. We finally skied into camp at about 6:30 pm [10:30 pm GMT] and got a warm welcome from the ALE staff at the Pole.  After 1130 km, 57 days of travel and 53 days of skiing,  we have finally made it.  Yuppie!

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 52 at 89°47’392 66°23’672
Camp 53 at the South Pole

Brilliant! Again we congratulate the guys for the achievement and wish them a pleasant journey back to their family and homes. After Einar gets back we will for sure post some more photos and stories about the expedition. Thank you for following up on us.

– bh

They made it

Another phone call was coming in from Einar Torfi. He just arrived to the South Pole (around 22 GMT) and already had a cold beer to celebrate. He´s still trying to realise what he has just done, will probably take a while. The last day of skiing was fine, the weather was nice and the visibility good. But it´s been a long journey and hard work. Now Einar and the team will finally get a good rest. But first Einar needs to take few phone calls from home, the media is hungry for some news about the expedition. The first phone call actually came in when he still had 2km left 🙂

They will most likely fly back to Union Glacier already tomorrow.

Congratulations from us at IMG to Einar, Hugh, Bill and Tim.

– bh

14km left… almost there

Einar just phoned us (14:25 GMT) and is now only about 14km away from the South Pole. He can already see some buildings around. They have some 5-6 active hours of skiing left to do and will be at the pole between nine and ten GMT tonight. We are looking forward to hear from him again when he´s finished, nothing can stop him and his hard working team now from getting all the way. More soon…

20150101_192741Einar like he looked like in the beginning of January

– bh

Hard pulling and cold weather

The latest message from Einar just came in:

“Yesterday [16th of January] we had another day with very little visibility, very cloudy and some few snow grains falling. Temperatures from -19 to -21°C which is quite mild seen where we are.  Pulling the sled was very hard but with the 8 active hours we covered the necessary distance to keep plan, 23,5 km.

This morning [17th of January] the temperature was -23 but when we started skiing it started clearing up and the temperature dropped significantly.  All our ski masks froze more than usual and we felt on our hands during breaks, how cold it was. When we camped it was  -30°C and about 10 knots wind. Today’s skiing conditions where terrible and it was like pulling a sled in sugar. No gliding at all.  We still managed to cover 22,3.km but this was one of the hardest day of the expedition.

With only two days and 47 km to go we are all looking very much forward to the arrival to the South Pole and of course fantasising about food and drinks.

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 50 at 89°23’855 S 74°29’561 W (end of 16th of January)
Camp 51 at 89°35’805 S 73°13’513 W (end of 17th of January)

Click here to view the progress on a map

-bh

The last degree in white out

Our heroes in Antarctica are still faced by challenging snow conditions but don´t complain too much. Their plan is to be on the South Pole next Monday, 19th of January. Here we have Einar´s latest message:

“The last two days our progress is steady but rather slow. We did 19,2 km yesterday and 21,2 today.  The snow continues to be sticky and yesterday afternoon it started to snow.  In this Antarctic desert the annual precipitation is very low but during the night we got between 2 and 3 cm of new sticky snow. It was still very cold yesterday, -27°C in the morning and -28° in the evening.  This morning the temperature had risen to -20 along with the snowfall.  It does not help our progress that we had a total white out for a good part of the day.  I got so tired of the floating feeling that I asked Tim to break the trail at the end of the day.  And what a relief it is to be behind someone and actually see the ground 🙂

We arrived to the 89th parallel south yesterday and decided to camp on the edge so we didn’t have to carry our poo with us.  On the last degree we cannot leave anything and I mean anything,  behind. Our poo is carried along in special plastic bags we have to put in the pulkas. This started today and our sleds are now decorated with gray plastic bags with frozen content that I will not describe further.

Yesterday we had another important milestone,  when we passed 1000 km. Today we have 1037 km on the counter and 93 to go. We continue to aim for an arrival to the Pole on the 19th.

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 48 at 88°59’999 S 77°27’890 W (end of 14th of January)
Camp 49 at 89°11’316 S 76°18’206 W (end of 15th of January)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh