Here we have some photos from the "East coast or Death expedition", as the team called themselves after Nansen's famous phrase!
Tror jeg lar min noe fritt oversatte versjon av Jules Verne klassiske roman fra 1873 ligge her, og heller prøver meg på et sammendrag av en 8-dagers fantastisk tur i regi av den norske guiden Sigrid Ekran som ble avsluttet i går torsdag den 29. mai. De siste 1500 meterne (luftlinje) av turen ble ski, slede og hunder byttet ut med båt siden det var alt for lite is igjen til å kjøre hundespann. Problemet (selv om jeg ikke liker det ordet) var bare at det også var for mye is til å kjøre båt, men etter en time med «storslalåm» mellom isflakene var vi trygt i havn. Men la oss begynne med begynnelsen, som var vår lokale guide Salos varme smil som møtte oss sammen med hans 18 bjeffende, glade og rastløse hunder som alle var klare til å ta fatt på oppgaven. Vi kastet loss torsdag den 22. juni og fikk bokstavelig talt en flying start på turen i høy fart og med stabil kurs over et 3 km langt vann. Dette tok en brå slutt da sledene plutselig lå med 30 grader slagside med «badene» og bjeffende hunder og en noe overrasket Morten som ikke har stått med vann til over knærne siden en golfrunde i Malaysia for et par år siden. De neste 2-3 timene ble veldig våte og relativt utfordrende og det var helt greit å rulle inn i camp og fyre primusen 3 timer senere. Vi ble værfaste i denne campen i 36 timer og selv om Salo hadde forsikret oss om at været ville bli bra «tomorrow-tomorrow» ble det så bra allerede «tomorrow» at vi kunne fortsette på morgenen den 24. juni.
De neste seks dagene ble et eventyr med et fantastisk påskevær som slår selv de mest optimistiske godværsprognosene, og utenom de lange og slitsomme dagsetappene ble det også tid til innlagte skiturer, seljakt, skytetrening, bursdagsfeiring, kortspill (en modifisert variant av «gris» vi kalte «dog»), bading og mye kvalitetstid sammen med de fantastiske Grønlandshundene til Salo. Ellers imponerte Sigrid med sine stødige hundekjøreferdigheter, samt rolige og behagelige vesen på hele turen. Astrid på sin side delte villig sine erfaringer fra diverse tidligere ekspedisjoner, mens Gudleik og Morten brukte kveldene i teltet til utveksling av gamle militærhistorier, samt «simultanlesing» av Jan Guillous Brobyggerne. På grunn av Salos noe begrensede språkkunnskaper ble Astrids «lille røde» grønlandsk - norsks ordbok (som hun lagde selv) et nyttig og hjelpemiddel, bra Astrid! Menyen under turen bestod i alt fra Børge Ouslands spesial komponerte frokostblanding til proteinbarer og sportsdrikker, og ikke minst Real Turmat til middag. Det var imidlertid lunchene under åpen himmel som smakte best hvor vi fyrte panna og stekte reinkjøtt, hvalkjøtt og moskus. Til dessert (snack) gikk det stort sett i tørket reinsdyrs hjerte, tørrfisk og kaffe/te. Under bursdagsfeiringen av Gudleiks kone ble det servert «painkak» (som Sigrid kalte det) med blåbærsyltetøy servert på en snøskuffe – nydelig! Denne testturen var i all hovedsak en rekognoseringen til fremtidige turer som Sigrid planlegger å arrangere her på Grønland, og gikk i et veldig kupert og spennende terreng som varierte fra breer, daler, elveleier, morener og høye majestetiske fjell som kunne minne om «Paramount Pictures Mountains». Selv om dessverre hundespannkjøringen, skigåingen og teltlivet er over for denne gang er heldigvis ikke turen helt ferdig, og senere i dag reiser vil til Kulusuk hvor vi blir et par dager før vi setter kursen mot Norge etter en overnatting i Reykjavik. Der blir det nok en gjentagelse av suksessen i forrige uke med et bad i «heitur pottur», og skal jeg dømme etter værrapportene fra Norge er det kanskje lurt å heve kroppstemperaturen noen hakk før vi lander på Gardermoen tirsdag den 3. juni.
We came inn last night after another beautiful day. When we came to the bay here in Tasiilaq, the ice was broken up so bad that we had to get a boat to bring us over to town. Our boat man did a couple of rounds back an forth to get everybody, mushers and dogs, sleds and equipment, over the ice broken bay in to Tasiilaq. We are now back at the hotel safe and sound, celebrating a real Greenland adventure.
Sigrid, Morten, Gudleik and Astrid
Hi, this Are, speaking for the expedition.
We have finally reached our destination in the East coast!
Our position is N 65 36.453, W -38 51.361. Our elevation 103 m above sea level. We will be picked up from here tomorrow and on our way to Isortoq, back home and civilisation !
Yesterday we skied for 14 hrs and covered a total of 35 Km. The weather was very good, no wind at all, just beautiful. And then we had a little celebration on arrival to campsite.
We are all very happy that we have achieved our goal and fulfilled our dreams. We have performed very well as a team and we are very satisfied with that too, and with the memories of what we have left behind. As Gunnar said yesterday, the expedition will continue forever and ever in our minds.
We all want to say hello to family and friends for their support, and to everybody who has been following us on the blog.
So, as I say, we are all glowing with happiness, and somehow wishing that this feeling will never end.
Our best regards to all from the East coast of Greenland : )
Hello, this is Gunnar speaking:
Our current position is N 65 53.210, W 039 15.347, elevation is 1321 m.
Today we covered a distance of 34.4 Km. Tomorrow, we cross our fingers, our expedition will be over, although it will continue forever and ever on our minds.
And so, on behalf of the rest of the team, I would like to express our gratitude to our leader and guide Are Johansen. He is always enthusiastic and positive, his messages are given with authority but always on a friendly way, and he’s also a very good team member.
Thank you very much, Ale, from all of us.
Hi, this is Gudleik calling in todays update. We still have an amazing weather. I guess thats kind of the best description on this trip: the good weather trip. We don't really mind that, but it means that the breakdown of the snow also goes fast. When we comes down to the lover part of the land it will be more demanding to find good places to run the dogs, so some places we mush on gras, stones and rocks. We are now going down some of the steep hills we earlier climbed up, and to us who are not used to mush, some of the steps are quite dramatic. Its unbelievable what you can do with a dog team!
Our lunch camp was one of a kind. A beautiful view. Something that I earlier only have seen on film, and the meal was nothing but real greenlandic rain deer meet!
Other than that Morten now have been using shorts and T-shirts quite a lot, and I must say he dress it very well here on the glaciers in Greenland. In the eventing we had a couple of rounds playing cards and the others spotted me sabotage the game by losing so I could go early to bed.
Hi this is Sigrid - I´m eating a lovely breakfast and talking on the Sat. Yesterday we had camp on the same place as the day before. We used the day skiing around from the camp. Our Camp is on the biggest glacier on the Tasiilaq island, with a beautiful view. I guess I must have told you that yesterday as well... The weather was great trough out the day, and we got a bit sunburnt. Noting major. Before Lunch we did a couple of mountains, telemarking down. Then we had the birthday party for Pernille, which was celebrated with Pancakes and chocolate mousse.
After lunch we took skies on our feet again, and explored the area closer to shore. We even saw polar bear tracks that only was a couple of days old. Today we will start to mush home, weather is not as good as yesterday, but still good.
Our greetings goes to everybody back home, hope you are fine!
Sigrid and the team!
Today we have seen the mountains. We had nice weather all day, with just a little bit of wind. Still the skiing was very tough as the snow was very loose. We had like 10 to 25 cm of snow all day. Another tough day, and we expect to have a very long day tomorrow.
Our position is N 65 52.158, W-40 00.712, elevation 1332m
We send regards to all of our folks from here, in the Greenland Icecap.
We are on camp 20 tonight. Our position is N 65 58.903, W-40 47.236. Elevation 1824 and distance done today is 30.7 Km.
We skied all day in very rough conditions. Difficult and a lot of snow and strong winds. The wind blew throughout the whole night and most of the day. Lots of sastrugi and always falling through the snow. A hard day...
We are now in the tents and it seems the wind is calming down. Feeling really good inside our homes.
Gareth turned 28 today and he wants to say hello and send regards to his Mom and Dad, who are always very glad to celebrate birthdays at home.
It was a special moment when 2 thirds of the day behind us we passed the Arctic Circle and we went below 2.000 m elevation as well.
We are now melting water and eating whatever we can get our hands on. Outside is a beautiful tempest and all together we are having some beautiful days her in the Greenland ice cap glacier.
Regards, Are and team.
Hi, this is Sigrid. Its morning here now, yesterday was another fantastic day here on Greenland. Blue sky, sunny and no wind. Yesterday we followed a frozen river, nice to mush on even in these heavy snow conditions. We had a long lunch in the middle of the day. Where Salo brought up local food, harvested from the land. Salo even took a bath in one of the creeks. The day went on with happy dogs and god laughs behind the sled. Now we are camped on a glacier with a great view to the sea in both directions. We are taking a long morning here with breakfast outside, will do some ski trips around camp to explore the land. The big happening today its that Pernille, Gudleiks wife, has her birthday. So a big birthday grating goes to Pernille from Gudleik and us here on ice.
I am really happy with the dogs. Small strong greenlandic dogs, each with their own personal attitude and i love them all! Other than that everybody is HAPPY!. Okay, talk tomorrow.
- Sigrid and the Team
Hi this is Astrid again! Yesterday was another stunning day here on Greenland. In the morning we had great weather and a warm tent because of the sun. We used the morning to dry up clothing that got wet the day before. The first part of the day was quite hilly. We worked hard behind the sleds to get up some of the hills. One of us had to go in front to navigate the dogs in rocky areas. At the end of the day we came up in better snow and a flatter area. We mushed along some really nice ice blue lakes and by a nice glacier.
Yesterday evening we skied down to the sea ice and watched seals that was drying up on top of the ice. A wonderful sight! Gudleik went the other way, to take look at the glacier. Right now it is quiet in the camp. The dogs are resting. Quite opposite from sounds when we are ready to go, when the dogs bark, jump and are wondering why we are not moving. We have had some great laughs about these wonderful animals. They are really strong and in good shape, it is amazing to se how Salo are working with them.
A new great day is calling!
Sigrid, Astrid, Morten, Gudleik and Salo
Are, speaking on Iridium phone from Greenland:
This is our report for today:
Our current position is N 66 04.082, W 41 25.736. Elevation 2030m beyond sea level (We can hear laughs, and several voices in off saying they hope it is beyond sea level...)
Today we covered a distance of 31.5 Km. Beautiful day, almost too hot. No wind and sun out all day. It has been just amazing, maybe the most beautiful scenery so far on this trip.
All of us are enjoying in this good weather. Our lapses flew like nothing today, and it was really easy to walk.
At night we are celebrating a double birthday: not only Bill’s 60thbirthday, but Gareth’s as well, which is tomorrow, and he will turn 28. This goes to companions and friends so they remember him.
We have been eating cake and maybe, maybe, we will have some Irish whisky later, I don’t know...
We hope the weather stays good, and if everything goes as planned we will be down by the shore for pick up Saturday morning.
Everything is great right now !
Cheers and good night.
Today the sastrugi seem forever, but we did have the nicest day. Sunshine all day, smiley faces and happy feet !
There was almost no wind, for a change, and we covered a distance of 31.5 Km. Our current position is:
Tomorrow is Bill Hanlon’s birthday, and we will throw a party in the tents to celebrate. Wishing all the best for him,
Are and the rest of the team : )
The team had to wait today for another storm to pass. They started the day about 5 hours later than usual, but they are fine and spirits are high as they prepare for the night, says Are.
The weather forecast is good for the next few days. There is a high pressure system coming out of Canada and that will produce favorable winds, helping them along the way.
After this short report Are called again last night. Their position at 02:00 am Western European time was:
N 66 14.929, W -42 44.717. Elevation 2380. Distance covered 25 Km.
They waited out the storm (as he told us in the morning) and started late, noon in Greenland because of the storm but then the weather cleared up and it was fine afterwards. They are very glad that they put a good distance behind in spite of the weather and that they are on schedule.
Everyone is in the tent, they are happy and in a good mood and they will be back to normal tomorrow. Weather at the end of the day was beautiful, warm, but pretty cold at night. He confirms the high pressure forecast and hope that it will last for a while.
We roamed out of town in two teams. One sledge with 12 dogs and the other with 6. Salo our local guide are handling the big team and most of the equipment. The sea ice is bit slushy and wet, it forces us to navigate away from the worst parts. The dogs are really happy, they love the water and they love each other. We had to stop once since one of the females is in heat... We camped on the other side of the bay, snow is better here than on the ice. The dogs are doing a great job and we are happy campers.
- Sigrid and the team.
After a long night sleep we are now preparing for takeoff. The stoves has been checked and tents have been put up and checked. Food and equipment are packed and we are all set. We will meet with our local dog guide and he's dogs later on before we take off to the ice. The weather is great! Sunny and blue sky, good for T-shirts.
Sigrid and the Team
Our position is N 66 15.932, W-43 51.195. Elevation 2480. Distance covered 26 Km.
The topic today is still ascending towards the summit. We started with very foggy conditions in the morning, which improve a bit later on. Then the wind started blowing after lunch and now is around 15-20 m/s. But we are inside the tents having dinner and we are happy !
Everything is as it should be on a long expedition.
We have to say we are very happy that soon we will be going downhill instead of upwards every day. It feels that we are now going home : )
Bill report from the Ice on 22 May.
Our position is N66 18.527, W-43 51.481. Elevation 2475 m, distance covered today 24.7 Km.
A good day on the Ice. We woke up to light winds which increased as the day went by and we got closer to the summit. We are almost there now. These are katabatic winds coming from the East.
Everybody is doing well, enjoying the trip very much and we are working very well as a team. We are very excited due to the fact that we are getting close to the summit (it’s been quite a few days of uphill...) and then we will be heading down towards the East coast.
We are all doing this trip for different reasons, I am on it for basic health international, a foundation dedicated to taking medicines to remote parts of the world, and this definitely a remote place.
We send our best regards to all family and friends from all the team.
Bill : )
Gunnar speaking today, from the middle of Greenland !
Today we have been climbing up all day. We found ice on our way and have to fight against it. Our elevation is now 2411 above sea level.
Group spirit is very good, in a couple of days we will finally reach the summit and after that it is all downhill !!!
Want to say regards to (at this point signal went very bad...) mother on her birthday, and to have an enjoyable day. We guess it has to be Gunnar's mother, but impossible to confirm.
Position was very hard to copy as well, impossible, as a matter of fact. what was understandable is: N66 1?. ?74 W44 28. ? ? 7
Gareth was sending the report yesterday went the Iridium signal went down, so all we know is that everything is good and they are well. They will call again tonight with position and more news.
Topic today is weather bound. Hit by a fast storm yesterday, with winds of up to 25-30 m/s the team has been holding out, laying down in their tents and waiting for it to go.
In one tent Petter has played about 200 rounds of cards, in another Bill and Maria are telling stories and singing. In the head tent, Sanna, Gareth and Are read books, recall history lessons, listen to music and drink coffee.
The tents are holding well, and the weather forecast is good for the next few days, so everything is fine in spite of the storm !!!
Are wants to say hello to Oline and to young Hgalmar. I love you!
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Langspurt på 70 km i bittelite vindu mellom to stormsystemer!!
Fremme nå kl 0400.
Stolte, glade, sultne……. J J
A long sprint of 70 km in the tiny window between two storm systems!
Courage now for 0400 a.m.
Proud, happy, hungry ....... J J
Report from the team on 18th May.
Position N 66 24.399, W-46 49.377, elevation 2217 m. Distance 24 Km.
"Yesterday morning we celebrated Norway's National day by singing the Anthem in the morning and then played some traditional games in the afternoon. It was a good day!
Today we have skied 24 Km, a lot of it on whiteout conditions. When the wind picked up we pitched camp, and now are eating dinner on the tents. Is snowing outside and everything is quite all right!
Grønland gir oss motstand på nasjonaldagen. Våknet i natt til storm/piteraq, sterke fallvinder.
Har jobbet knall hardt for å berge telt og utstyr og alt og alle i god behold!
Det roet seg litt nå på kvelden. satser på langspurt og fint vær søndag.
Gratulerer med dagen alle hjemme!!
Greenland stood up to us with strong resistance on our National Day. We woke up in the middle of the night to a storm and very strong Piteraq fall winds.
We worked extremely hard to set up tents and equipment and keep everything and everyone safe and sound!
We are now focusing on a long sprint and nice weather for next Sunday.
Happy birthday to all home!
Petter called to give us a report on yesterday’s progress.
Our current position is N66 29.598, W046 18.869, elevation 2090 m. Beyond sea level.
Yesterday we covered 12 Km in good but very variable conditions. We had winds, snow drifts, and white out for a while. Everything is good, though, and we are enjoying dinner in our tents now.
All the team members are in good shape, and we are looking forward to reaching the summit tomorrow (and the downhill that will come later...).
Special greetings to my girlfriend My and to Kaia as well!
Today Is Norway's National Day. For a few days now, the team had been preparing songs to celebrate!
Position is N66 29.996, W046 34.972, elevation 2023 m and yesterday 16th May they covered 26 Km.
It was Gunnar turn to call, and he wants to say hello and greetings to family and friends.
Very variable conditions yesterday, sun, clouds, snow and wind coming from all directions.
the team is working very well together, a lot of humor, good comments and we laugh, sing and in general having a lot of fun here in the Icecap !!!
Regards from Gunnar and the rest of the team !