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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

End of a successful Greenland ice cap crossing

In the morning of the 15th of May, the team was picked up from Point 660 and driven down to Kangerlussuaq. There they spent two nights and after sorting out the cargo being sent back to Iceland they flew over to Nuuk, the capital and the largest town of Greenland. After one night there they flew back to Reykjavík Iceland where the expedition officially ended.

The team originally flew from Iceland to Greenland on the 19th of April. They were flown up to Hahn glacier on the 21st. of April and came off the ice very early on the 15th. That makes the total length of the expedition 31 days including the departure and arrival date, there of 24 days spent on the ice cap it self.

The team was greeted by Björgvin (IMG‘s expeditions operation manager and a guide) and Einar Torfi (one of IMG‘s owners and a guide) on the airport. To celebrate the end of a successful crossing they opened up a bottle of sparkling wine and made a toast when back at the guesthouse. After that the group headed for a goodbye dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant.

It´s was great to see how happy the team was after this long and challenging trip. Also to see how well all the expedition members seem to have gotten a long and have been able to function well together. A strong and competent team like this makes the experience more enjoyable for all and most important, memorable.

Calvin, Gareth, John and Matthew, thank you for joining us and we hope to see you again one day. Maxime (EL), many thanks for an excellent job, we here at IMG expeditions really appreciate your expertise and deep knowledge and experience.

 

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The GC 2016 team celebrating a successful crossing

Arrival at Point 660

Yesterday was a tough day for the team but they succeeded in reaching their goal for the day the fabled Point 660, which they have been aiming for all along, thereby completing the traverse of the Greenland Ice Cap from east to west. Congratulations!

Maxime the EL, called us last night and confirmed that they would continue into the early hours of today in order to reach Point 660, estimating arrival there around 1.00 am. He said that the ice fall was proving to be really tricky with crevasses and cauldrons to navigate through and the slushy and wet conditions had not been favorable. The team was not skiing at all yesterday but dragging the, by now lightweight pulkas along, wearing their boots and crampons. Needless to say they must all have been very tired, yet elated on reaching Point 660.  Let´s hope they all enjoyed a good night´s sleep off the ice.

Happy crossing to all the team members!

Going through the Ice fall

Maxime just called and reported that the team was on the edge of the ice fall and would spend the day getting tackling its obstacles. Last night they camped at the edge of the ice fall and spent, hopefully their last night on the ice. If they complete the navigation through the ice fall they will set up camp on Point 660, a small and barren hill at the edge of the ice. Weather is not bothering them too much today, even though they would appreciate slightly lower temperatures.

Navigating through the ice fall can be a tough feat since you constantly need to change course in order to find the best way out of this labirynth that the cracks and ridges of the ice have formed. Temperature has been high the last few days so there might be some water to tackle with as well. We wish the team all the luck with getting through the ice fall and look forward to hear how they dealt with this last obstacle of the expedition. We will of course report as soon as the team has come off the ice.