Greenland spring – West to east

  • This is where Polar Exploration really started with Nansen’s crossing in 1888, and this being the inspiration for many expeditions, also this crossing going from the west to the east coast. And till today it stands out as the most important expedition you can take on. If you have conquered The Inland Ice you are ready for everything!

    This trip, with it’s challenging Icefalls, vast planes, surprising altitude and changeable conditions, will give you lots of experience,  happiness, an insight into the importance of teamwork and maybe even tidy up the inside of yourself.

    – To step off the ice and onto land after 3 weeks endurance is a moment to savour for life!

  • Food and equipment

    Joining a trip to the cold world, being outdoors for many days in a row, sleeping in a tent, skiing for about 8 hours on an average a day, still being able to keep up the pace, spirit, motivation, strength and also being able to enjoy it, obviously requires some attention to equipment.

    Once you sign up for one of our trips, we will send you the complete and detailed equipmentlist that explains thoroughly what you need for the specific trip, why and how to use the equipment.

    One of the main reasons we have had great success on our many trips, is because we supply the essential equipment that is not easy (nor practical) for you to get yourself. These items are essential in getting you through the day in a good way and ensure that you have a safe and trustworthy experience.

    The equipment you need to get yourself might look like a lot, but this is usually items people will already have or could borrow from friends. You might have to buy some of it, but we will help you choosing the right equipment and all this will be discussed in detail with each and one of you. Then you should have a good set of usable equipment that you will be able to enjoy for many future trips as well.

    Sleds/Backpacks

    The weight of the sled will depend on which trip you are going on as fuel and food adds up for each day with about 1,3 kilos. Some trips also require special equipment like climbing gear, polar bear protection, waterproof bags, etc. Sometimes we have to carry our stuff in backpacks to reach the glacier or good skiing ground, but we do not load to more than max 30 kilos, it is better to go two times.

    On an average we can say that a sled weigh as follows:

    • North Pole Last Degree 40 kg
    • North Pole Full Length (with/without supplies) 75 kg /110 kilos
    • South Pole Last Degree 40 kg
    • Patagonia, Northern Icecap, 50 kg
    • Greenland Spring 52 kg
    • Greenland Fall 55 kg
    • Svalbard – Nordaustlandet 40 kg
    • Svalbard – Spisbergen crossing 40 kg
    • Hardangervidda 25 Kg
    • Finnmarksvidda 25 kg
    • South Georgia 35 kg

    To best prepare for pulling the sled and carrying in backpacks, refer to the training and preparations info. This topic will also be covered more into detail once you have signed up. If you are curious and want some more info either way, let us know.

    FOOD

    We provide nutritious expedition food for each participant for all the days skiing. It will be enough calories for the trip, but if you feel like having some extra snacks, please feel free to bring it.

    There will always be personal choices. We provide several types of freeze-dried dinners, and lunch with a mix of what you like best. Our selection of food to choose from is based on long experience where energy, taste and also preparation are key factors. We have limited time for breaks during the day, about 12-15 minutes at normally every 1,5 hours intervals.

    Our normal day-to-day diet:

    Breakfast:
    Børge’s homemade enriched oatmeal/porridge mix.

    Lunch:
    Choice of: Fruit soup or energy drink for hot water. Compressed biscuits rations and/or Flapjack (oatmeal cakes).

    And/or potatochips, nuts and dried fruit.100-150 g chocolate per day. About 100 g piece of dried meat.

    Dinner:
    Choise of freeze dried dinners. Our partner for dinner is Real Turmat www.real.no. Instant soup, hot chocolate, coffee or tea as you wish.

    All the food will be packed by you in daily rations and stored in bags provided by us prior to departure. There is always a day or so with packing and organizing before we start the trip. You will carry your own food and be responsible for it during the expedition.

    Food- allergies or intolerances:

    If you have any food- intolerances or allergies, we will together with you (and possibly with your doctor) advice the different ingredients you need to ensure the best nutrition but which is adapted to the diet you follow. You should test this beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the way.

    If you need to be on a special diet, we recommend that you yourself prepare most of your food at home before we leave, so that you are sure to get what you need. It will in most cases be a possibility to ship the food to the destination beforehand together with the rest of the equipment.

    Please let us know if you have special needs or concerns regarding food or nutrition, we will do our best to help.

     

     

     

  • Day by day

    Day 1. The Air Greenland flight from Copenhagen laves at 09:00 and lands in Kangerlussuaq on the Greenland West coast 09:40 – the time zone 4 hours after Scandinavian time.

    We use the day for buying the last bits, packing and preparing before having a last big meal in a restaurant.

    Day 2. We finish packing and change into the expedition clothing that will stay on for the next 3 weeks. Then we put the clean “civilian” clothes in the mail to be sent to the other side and take lunch. Right after lunch we drive to the Height 660 (Høyde 660) at the foot of the icecap. Depending on the time of the day, we either camp for the night and arrange the sledges etc, or we do the first kilometres to get the feel for the challenge.

    Day 3-4 (approx). For the first days we need to keep an open mind. The state of the Icefall depends totally on the amount of snow during the winter and the weather. This area can be almost desert-like and years with very little snowfall will result in a wild and exposed ice field. That means crampons, lots of up and down and a pretty tough struggle to reach the snow and getting on the skis. With lots of snow, we can put on skis right away and do good distances from the first day. Whatever happens, this part is the very beautiful and you will (if you are in shape) enjoy it tremendously.

    Day 5-9. As we break out of the lower (and wildest) part of the icefall, the landscape transforms into big rolling hills that rapidly gain altitude. After another day or two we are out of the icefall and break off easterly as we aim for DYE II. The terrain continues to rise, but slowly the landscape flattens out and we can enjoy the Plateau. It is still hard work and our bodies are starting to feel the workload.

    Day 10 (or 11?). If the weather is good, DYE II will show at the horizon some 25-27km away. That makes navigation very much easier. As we get there we camp and enjoy a very well deserved rest day. Apart from having a look at the monstrous relic from the cold war, we go over the equipment, sleep, eat and drink.

    Day 12-18. As we leave DYE II we move into the flattest par of the journey. These plains here are beautiful, and we do great distances as our bodies respond to the break. But we do still gain altitude as we are still some 5-600 metres from the highest point. That is called the ‘Summit’ and is a long and rounded ridge going in south-north direction up Greenland. As we get near, the wind and the weather may be a bit undecided before we finally start feeling that the wind hits us from behind! Then we know we are on the home stretch.

    Day 19-24. The first day we may only descend 50 metres. But soon we go down more and as the wind pushes from behind the distances increase. These days are a strange feeling of wanting to get to the end and not wanting this wonderful experience to end.

    We stare at the horizon and we all agree the first to spot land will get a price as we feel every bit like Columbus (or maybe more like Nansen). To our surprise (or maybe you should not read his) the first peak pops up on our right! But as we break into the icefall, more nunataks come into view in front of us. As we zigzag down we first see mountains, then the ocean, then the icebergs littering the sea before we see real land!

    Pushing hard we hit the first moraine as we stretch the day - and some hours later we are down by the fjord.

    Day 25-26. Depending on what time of the day we get down (if it is very late we camp) we follow the sea-ice out the fjord. As the ice ends, we wait for an Inuit to come and get us by boat and soon we are in the tiny (but very authentic) hunting and fishing village of Isortoq. Here we stay in the ‘Service House’ and visit the store. Food is then the only thing on the agenda – apart from going around and taking photos.

    The next day we fly by helicopter to Tasiilaq.

    Next. Tasiilaq is a very picturesque town and the ‘capital’ of the east coast. Her we (hopefully) get out clean clothes from the mail, shower and enjoy big lunches, bigger dinners and huge evenings…

    The next day (we recommend a stay over just in case...) we fly out early in a helicopter to Kulusuk and the airport there. From there most of us will fly over to Iceland and home after a night in Reykjavik, while other option is to  fly back over the ice to Kangerlussuaq and home via Copenhagen (all letting the adventure sink in and – pondering where to go next?).

  • Expedition details

    We gather in Kangerlussuaq at the west coast. The next day and a half we do the last preparations and packing, before being driven to the edge of the ice. To see the mighty Icecap is a huge thrill and after the last adjustments, we throw ourselves at the mercy of the icefall. The conditions depend greatly on the amount of snowfall during the winter. With little snow, it can be a fun struggle to get ourselves onto proper snow for skiing.

    We will be out of the Icefall after some 3-4 days and then onto the rolling ice-dunes that take us ever higher and towards the plateau. After 9 days (approximately) we reach the abandoned ‘Early Warning Radar Station’; DYE II. Not pretty, but a reminder of the Cold war and by now a historic Icecap relic that slowly is being buried in the snow.

    From here we have a marvellous, and perfect snowfield that really gives a superb feeling of vastness and calm. When ¾ of the distance is covered we pass over the highest point on the route called the ‘Summit’. This long shoulder stretch out in a south-north direction, and marks the entry to the eastern side of the icecap. With that the wind should start coming in from behind. These katabatic winds consist of cold air flowing from the higher areas and down towards the ‘warm’ sea, where the warm air rises and with that sucks the cold air down, - sometimes in a violent fashion.

    With these winds in the back and the terrain starting to drop, the last days will be a real treat as the distances almost double before the first Nunataks start showing on the horizon. An immense feeling of joy keeps building as more mountains appear and eventually – the ocean, littered with icebergs, come into view.

    On the last leg, we need full focus as we tread our way safely off the ice and onto the fjord and follow the thin ice until the edge. There we are picked up by boat and taken to Isortoq.

    Isortoq is a small and very ‘authentic‘ fishing and hunting village. It is the perfect way to round off our acquaintance with the wild Greenland as we start to digest the experience and all the impressions from this truly unique world.

    Heading back homewards we will have to fly to Tasiilaq, the ‘Capital’ of the East-Greenland’, for and a good meal and a night, before flying home either via Iceland or Copenhagen.

  • Training and preparing

    Many wonder how to prepare physically for a polar expedition. This will vary from trip to trip and also for each individual. We will therefore provide individual training programs and advice for each participant if needed.

    In general we expect people to carry a 20 kg backpack for 8 hours for several days on a row. That’s a physical exercise that is easy to measure, but actual training can and will consist of various methods.

    Training and physical preparation for these trips typically consist of at least 3 training sessions a week for at least one hour each. Gradually this should be increased to 4 sessions a week, three months before departure, including one or two longer sessions lasting for more than two hours.

    A combination of cycling, jogging, workout in the gym, walking with backpack or pulling rubber tyres is what we recommend. Its not where you do it that matters, but that you do it. Remember that a cycling session in the gym or a hard work out on the walking machine can be equally as efficient as a session outdoors.

    Related article: The fine art of pulling rubber tyres

    There are two main issues with specific training. One is the physical shape needed to endure the trip you have signed up for and secondly to make your muscles, tendons and ligaments, basically the whole body, prepared for the load on the way. Not to forget the third reason, that physical training in general is very positive, something you will benefit from after the expedition as well. So, its only one thing to do when the goal is set, start training!

    Note: Be careful in the beginning, start at a level you feel comfortable with and increase gradually. If you start out too hard you might experience overtraining and injuries. Consult a doctor or physician if you experience injuries. Don’t forget to stretch out well after each session. Eating well and healthy will also help preparing your body for the upcoming adventure. The trips are not super hard, but you will enjoy it more when you have done your homework and taken training and preparation serious.

     

    TRAINING WEEKEND

    As part of the preparations, we organize a weekend of training in Verdal, Norway late in late January or early February. The aim is to go through the basic skills for winter survival in order to be as well prepared as possible. We go through all the equipment and routines. During this training weekend we also get to know each other a bit beforehand, as becoming a team is an important part of the whole concept. We also open for one-on-one talks with those who would like to get some personal advise.

    Joining the training weekend is free of charge.

    We will cover most of the basic equipment, some food, tents etc, except personal equipment like clothes ski boots etc. This is also a great time to go to the sport shop, since some of the equipment needed for trips like this can be hard to find outside Norway. We can assist you with this as well.

    You need to cover your flight tickets coming here, food and lodging before and after the training outdoors (if any, as the nights mainly will be spent in tents outdoors).

    The training is voluntarily but highly recommended. This will help you and us to evaluate your assumptions and to put focus on the key points for further exercise and practice

    More info on the training trip will be distributed when signing up for one of our trips.

    FINNMARK

    We also do a extended training trip: The Finnmarksvidda Crossing 

    Every February for 5 days and 4 nights around the time of full-moon.

    Finnmarksvidda is in Northern parts of Norway, above the Arctic Circle. This trip is a great way to train and learn the ropes of basic winter survival. It is a 5 day mini expedition that is relevant, cold and stunning as we very often have the Northern lights at night. Timed with the full February moon we normally have enough natural light for skiing as well.

    The Finnmark trip is one of our regular trips (refer to the complete overview for all trips) but if you already are booked on any of our other trips, you will receive a discount.

     

  • Rates, dates and booking

    The dates 2017:

    Meeting point Kangerlussuaq at the beginning of May. Out of the Ice by early June.

     2016 & 2017:

    We are going back in 2018 and 2019. There might be some changes to the dates and price compared to year before. The program will basically stay the same.

    Contact us for more details or if you have any questions, or complete the booking if you know which year you can go.

    The price in 2017:

    79.000,- NOK

    To be paid in full 90 days before departure, (minus the deposit). Refunding/pulling out clauses are dealt with in our Travel Conditions.

    What is included: We do all paperwork and cover the fees (applications, permits for the crossing, radio / communication, weapons) and pay the Search & Rescue insurance; We will supply: food, sledges, tents, stoves, fuel, safety equipment like Iridium satellite phone, emergency beacon, VHF radio, GPSs, maps and waypoints; We pay for transport to or from Height 660, and boat transport to Isortoq; We are responsible for the medical bag, spares and rep bag + a training weekend - and we answer to every question you may have.

    What is not included: You bring your own personal clothing, skis, boots and poles, sleeping bag, mattress and stuff-bags. You choose and pay your own flights and pay for board and lodging during the days right before and after the ice. You must have your own travel / cancelation insurance, travel to and from the training weekend. You may be asked to contribute if you have food allergies etc so that we can be sure you have enough, safe and high quality food. Any unforeseen delays or change of plan by the group may also result in extra cost. We recommend return tickets that can be changed.

    The Deposit: We will send you a Deposit Invoice of 10.000,- NOK approximately 6 months before departure or before if you book late. The system works as follows: Your Booking Form will give you a place in the ?queue?. But it is not binding in any way. It only gets serious as you receive a Deposit Invoice. This is refundable according to our Travel

    Booking - How to proceed

    1. If this is something for you, - send us the booking for your desired trip and your place is reserved. This will be kept for you until you have paid the deposit invoice. Then your place is guaranteed until the remaining amount is due.
    2. You will then receive our expedition-booklet that gives you more information about the trip, insurances, safety, personal training tips towards the trip, as well as info on the training in Oslo (for more info, refer to the training and preparations menu)
    3. We will also supply you with the complete equipmentlist and work with you to ensure that you know what is needed and included from both your- and our side.
    4. Personal information-form. By signing up on a trip, we need you to fill in a form for our records regarding health issues, your recent outdoor experiences- and background, passport- and insurance info as well as next-of-kin details.
    5. The invoice for the remaining amount will be sent to you about 3 months prior to departure (for some destinations the due-dates might be more than 90 days prior to departure. After full payment have been settled, you are guaranteed to get your place for your desired trip. You still have the right to cancel at this point, but depending on how close we are to the departure, some of our basic costs will have to be deducted from the deposit. (For more details on this refer to our terms & conditions)
    Continue to booking | View terms and conditions
  • DN Aktivklubb

    Børge Ousland in cooperation with Dagens Næringsliv gives DN Aktivklubb members new opportunities. A Premium membership in the DN Aktivklubb now provides favorable conditions on three selected trips in Børge Ousland Polar Explorations program:

    • North Pole Last Degree
    • Greenland Spring – West to East
    • Spitsbergen Crossing

     

    For further information on the different trips, please refer to the menus for each destination on our web-page. If you want to learn more about the DN Aktivklubb, and how to become a Premium member, click here

    - Join us on a trip!

Quick facts

Date: 10.05.2017
Duration: Approx 24-26 days. Dates not decided yet
Price: 79.000,- NOK
Sheduled for: 2017, 2018
Participants: 6+1 guide. Open booking 2017
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