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Greenland Ice Cap ski expedition, 15 days (2055)

This expedition on the Greenland Ice Cap is a unique opportunity to explore a place were the human rarely visits. One of the few places on the world map marked "unexplored". The Ice Cap is an enormous ocean of bottom frozen ice that covers 85% of Greenland. Approximately 2500 km long, 1000 km widen and 3 km thick. Come with us on a 15 day extraordinary adventure! Comparable to a classic ice cap crossing this one is more varying with mountains, ocean and both living and dead ice.

After a visit to Qassiarsuk or Brathalid as the Vikings named the place, we will start the expedition by boat. We first make a stop at Narsaq, South Greenland third largest village, before we continue through the ice fjord Tunulliarfik filled with icebergs. If we are lucky we will some seals on our way. We arrive at the very beautiful Qaleraliq where we will set up our camp at a sandy beach.

From here we will get up on the glacier and start our expedition out on the ice cap. We trek and ski over the glacier with our sledges. We put up our camp directly on the ice or at a nunatak were we will get solid ground under us. We will be on both living and dead ice and some areas may be covered by water or rivers will cross our path. So we need to adopt the route to the changing environment. Our moutain- and glacier guide will guide us safely.

When our expedition have reach the destination we will be picked up by helicopter and we get a scenary flight back to the civilization.

 Travel date (2055)
  2017: June 28 - July 12

Min / max participates: 4 / 9

 Pric per person:
  From Keflavik: 35150 SEK / 3495 € (+flight taxes)
From Copenhagen 38250 SEK / 3805 € (+ flight taxes)
 
 The price includes
  • Flights Copenhagen or Keflavik - Narsarsuaq r/t
• 11 nights in tent
• 3 nights in hostel
• Experienced English speaking mountain guides.
• Boat transfers as described in the program.
• Helicopter ride from the inalnd ice cap.
• Equipent that is listed in the equipment list
 The price does not include
  • Equipment that is on the personal packing list
• Following excursions: Kayak tour 75€ (min 2 pers), Qooroq ice fjord 66€ (min 4)
• Flight taxes, aprox. 200€
• Travel- and cancellation insurance.

Itinerary
Day 1
Flight Keflavik/Copenhagen–Narsarsuaq Reception in the airport and transfer in RIB boat to Qassiarsuk. Walk through the village of about 100 inhabitants, mostly farmers, comprising the old Brattahlid, capital of Viking Greenland, and where Eric the Red settled in 985.

Day 2: Qaleraliq Fjord
We will set off for Qaleraliq camp, navigating along Tunulliarfik fjord among numerous icebergs. We will stop at Narsaq to visit the third most populated town in South Greenland, with about 1700 inhabitants. You will have free time to visit the local market, fur shops etc… and go for a walk or do some shopping, before boarding again to navigate towards the Inland Ice.

We will set up the camp on a sandy beach, which contrasts with a spectacular view of two glacier fronts from Qaleraliq’s glacier. We will spend the night at the camp, allowing our senses to enjoy the unbelievable views and the thunder roar of the icefall from seracs.

Day 3: Entrance to the Ice
We will situate very close to the Ice cap, on one of the extremes of the Glacier Front. As we start to climb up the glacier and we enter the ice-field, in this first area, we come across ravines which can be crossed easily as well as moving ice. We return to solid ground to skirt an area of crevasses and we reach a height of 300 meters where we find an area of wet snow. The march continues along the ice, passing a lake full of black icebergs until we reach the campsite, in the middle of snow but not too far from solid ground.

Days 4 to 10 Ascent to Plateau
Gradual climb up to the plateau, where conditions are unpredictable and depend a lot on previous snowfall and temperatures. We get into the ice through an area of dead ice usually flat, reaching first a Nunatak that we will climb, from there we will start travelling north, in order to get altitude. The first thing we come across is an area of fissures and ravines which can easily be crossed. Then, an area of living ice, and later, a drainage area which can be covered in glacial lakes of ice and water. Then the snow covered plateau is reached and we start to travel on skis. We left on the plateau a hidden Nunatak, a rocky out-crop in the middle of the ice, totally unseen from any other point, a magical and mysterious place which can’t be approached due to the various crevasses which surround it.

We continue skiing into the mysterious interior of the plateau. In our back we have the mountains from the coast and in our front the big inland ice that stretch more than 2000 km until the arctic ocean. We change course eastwards towards Aputaiutseq, a type of ice-peak, a landmark which can be seen rising out of the ice from far away. This is our destination. We will ski towards the base of this magical Matterhorn.

This part is done on skis and pulks, the total distance to ski is around 100 km. And we will average around 15km a day, but always depending on the conditions. The nights are spent in tents. Throughout the whole trip you can see the plateau on one side and a panoramic view of fjords, mountains, glaciers and drift-ice on the other, with visibility up to 100 Km.

Days 11 and 12 - Aputaiutseq
Base Camp at Aputaiutseq Nunatak. If it is possible, we will set the camp up on a rocky surface. Excursions around the mountain. We will normally not climb it due to its technical difficulty, although if there are experienced climbers on the team we might try an attempt.

Day 13. Helicopter
A helicopter will pick us up from here to Qassiarsuk. Impressive breathtaking views, rivers and lakes of water and ice, glaciers, hidden mountains, crags, fjords…
Night at the Leif Eriksson Hostel.

Day 14. Tasiusaq, the “Iceberg’s Bay”
Walk to Tasiusaq farm, where seven people live in notable isolation next to Sermilik fjord, which is almost always blocked by the ice from icebergs coming from Eqaloruutsit glacier. Later we can go for some arctic salmon fishing or for a walk in the region.

Optional: Kayak excursion in the “Iceberg Bay”
A 2 hour sea kayaking trip for beginners among icebergs and ice in one of the safest and best place in the whole Greenland.

Farewell dinner, with typical Greenlandic products, whale, seal, caribou, mattak… and night at the Leif Eriksson Hostel.

Day 15. Qooroq Ice Fjord and Copenhagen
Optional: Qooroq Ice Fjord
Transfer Qassiarsuk - Narsarsuaq on a RIB boat. Free time to visit Narsarsuaq. Flight Narsarsuaq - Copenhagen

NOTE: This is a real expedition, with a spirit of discovery and adventure. The route can be done as it is explained above or in reverse order. The order of the activities may not be exactly as planned in this outline. Greenland is the wildest country in the northern hemisphere, infrastructures are almost non-existent and logistics pose enormous challenges.For this reason, we may not follow this daily itinerary exactly as planned. It is subject to change in order to adapt the journey to the weather conditions, sea conditions, or technical and organisational difficulties, and it therefore requires flexibility in the traveller. Weight to be transported per person is about 30-35 kg, with the aid of pulks. There will be one pulk per person. For most of the ski part, the group will be tied together, and in some points it might be necessary to use crampons. Due to presence of water in various areas, most of the traverse will be done with over boots, adapted to each participant’s boots. Nights will be spent in tents.

Difficulty
It is necessary to have a minimum previous experience in the mountains and to be in good shape. The expedition is not technically difficult, but it is essential that you know how to use crampons, how to walk tied on a glacier and minimum knowledge of glacier rescue techniques, which will be introduced by the guide on the first days of the expedition. Conditions might be hard due to weight, uneven ice and the presence of water over the ice, at some points covering up to one meter. Some of this we will go around them, and some we will cross. The stages include 4 to 6 hours of walking or skiing every day, with stops and rest periods. Some stages might have to be longer, due to conditions.
It is recommended that previous training is carried out previous to the trip, especially running or mountain walking to help building endurance.

Food during the expedition
Breakfast: Coffee, tea, infusions, cocoa, powdered milk, biscuits, bread, jam, muesli and cereals.
Packed lunch: Bread, cheese, chorizo, salami, ham, foie-gras, chocolate, nuts, biscuits, soup, hot tea…
Dinner: Meals cooked at the camp. Rice, pasta, fish, mashed potatoes and meat, sausages, bacon, chorizo, tuna, squid…

 

EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY THE ORGANIZATION TO THE GROUP
CAMPING EQUIPMENT
• Tents
• Camping stoves and cooking accessories, kitchen utensils…
• Snow shovel
• First-aid kit

COMMUNICATION
• PLB
• Satellite Iridium Phone (Global signal)
• Spot Satellite Messenger

SECURITY
• Rope
• Axe and Pulleys
• Ice screws
• Rope rings
• Karabiners

ORIENTATION AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
• GPS
• Compass
• Maps

GLACIER SKIING EQUIPMENT
• Skies, bindings and seal skins
• Over boots
• Pulks

PERSONAL EQUIPMENT NOT PROVIDED BY THE
ORGANIZATION

HEAD
• 1 Fleece or woolen hat
• 1 Sunglasses (glacier type)
• Sun cream (we recommend strong protection against UVA rays)
• Lip balm (with sun block)

BODY
1 Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex or similar)
• 1 Waterproof trousers (Gore-Tex or similar)
• 2 Thermal leggings (one summer style and one winter style)
• 2 long sleeve thermal t-shirts (one summer style and one winter style)
• 1 short sleeve thermal t-shirt
• 1 Fleece vest
• 1 Fleece jacket
• 1 Rain cape

HANDS
• 1 Fleece gloves (Windstopper or similar)
• Waterproof mittens

FEET
• 1 Waterproof trekking boots (Suitable to use with crampons)
• 1 pair of crampons
• 3 pairs of shocks

CAMPING EQUIPMENT
• 1 Knife
• 1 Glass
• 1 Plate
• 1 Cutlery set
• 1 Sleeping bag (if possible, synthetic and suitable for -15ºC - comfort).
• 1 Mattress pad (better classic cell-type. Avoid inflatable pads)
• 1 head torch

PROGRESSION EQUIPMENT
• 1 Rucksack (60-70 liters capacity)
• 1 harness
• 1 pair of poles

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Please add toiletries, towel, travelling clothes, personal medication, and any other item you may need.


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