Renowned Polar Guide Dixie Dansercoer Dies in Crevasse Fall

Antarctic Arctic
Dixie Dansercoer, 58, has died in Greenland.

Yesterday evening, veteran Belgian polar explorer and guide Dixie Dansercoer fell into a crevasse about 250km north of Upernavik, Greenland. A helicopter team arrived on the scene within hours, but the crevasse depth prevented immediate recovery of Dansercoer’s body.

The 58-year-old Dansercoer was guiding a single client on a partial south-to-north kiting expedition across the ice sheet. The duo had covered 1,647km over 31 days, and were around 443km away from their finish in Qaanaaq. “Nice temperatures, terrain wonderful and perfect visibility,” Dansercoer recorded in his last journal entry.

Dansercoer was apparently manhauling and noticed that they had strayed into a crevasse zone when the accident occurred. It happened shortly before 5 pm. Dansercoer’s partner, Sebastien Audy, was unharmed and alerted emergency services.

A helicopter flew to the scene. A rescuer found Dansercoer’s sled 25m down in the crevasse. After descending a further 15m, he found no trace of the Belgian explorer, and the search ended.

Although best known for polar travel, Dansercoer had roots in a wide array of outdoor sports. As a semi-professional windsurfer in the 1980s, he lived through the pioneering years of kiting and even sewed his own “powerkites” to make a first wind-powered crossing of Greenland in 1995.

His many long-haul polar expeditions included a coast-to-coast crossing of Antarctica in 1998. Dansercoer and fellow Belgian Alain Hubert manhauled and kite-skied 3,924km in 99 days. The pair also crossed the entire Arctic Ocean from Siberia to Greenland in 2007.

In 2011-12, together with Sam Deltour, Dansercoer almost completed a circular, unsupported trajectory around Antarctica (5,013km in 78 days). He then set out for Greenland with Eric McNair-Landry in 2014. Together, they kite-skied a 4,045km loop around the second-largest ice sheet on earth in 55 days.

Dansercoer was a Master Polar Guide for the International Polar Guides Association. He ran several companies where he shared his knowledge with other polar travelers and provided support for expedition snowkiters. Dansercoer authored 27 books and four documentaries. He had climbed Cho Oyu, completed a couple of Ironmans, placed highly in a number of ultramarathons, and spent years guiding in the polar regions. Together with his wife Julie Brown, Dansercoer had four children: Jasper, Evelien, Thijs, and Robin.

A statue of Dansercoer in Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

A sculpture of Dansercoer, called De poolreiziger (the polar traveler) was erected in his former town of Nieuwpoort before one of his Antarctic expeditions.

Earlier today, Belgian’s Prime Minister, Alexander de Croo, tweeted condolences to Dansercoer’s family and described him as a “limitless adventurer and climate advocate”.

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About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK. He juggles a day job as a public health scientist with a second career in outdoor writing.

His words have featured in national newspapers, international magazines, and on various websites. Major bylines include Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Porsche, Outside Magazine, Rock and Ice, and Red Bull.

He holds two degrees in Exercise and Health Sciences, and a PhD in Public Health.

His areas of expertise are polar expeditions, mountaineering, hiking, and adventure travel. In his spare time Ash enjoys going on small independent sledding expeditions, outdoor photography, and reading adventure literature.

Read more at www.ashrouten.com or follow Ash via @ashrouten on Twitter and Instagram.

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Alex Hibbert
4 days ago

Such a nice bloke.

+1
Louis-Philippe Loncke
Reply to  Alex Hibbert

Hi Alex, if you have met him or got advice from him or just want to, I can add you on the card that will accompany the flowers I’ll drop tomorrow near his statue “DE POOLREIZIGER” in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. I’m currently 10km from it and will cycle now to a Flower shop for tomorrow. Just tell me, I’ll add your name.

+3
Jonas Bjørneskjold
Jonas Bjørneskjold
4 days ago

NOTE: I am writing here as a private person, and by no means in any official capacity or as an official representative of JRRC Greenland. Hi Louis-Philippe, I was part of coordinating the rescue operation for Dixie and received the first distress call to SAR authorities. Just last week, I was telling my own wife (in relation to my own planned Greenland ice cap crossing – although E-W and not such a large undertaking as the one Sebastian and Dixie were undertaking in this case) that she would not need to worry about crevasses, when I go on the ice.… Read more »

Louis-Philippe Loncke

Hi, Jonas, Thanks to Ash I’ve seen your request. Of course.
Email me on info@louis-philippe-loncke.com if you need a correction.
I will write: From Belgian adventurers and internationanal polar explorers.
Then list all the names and add as a “name” All the Search and Rescue team of Greenland.”.
Is this ok?
If you email, I will also send you a photo.

+1
Moufid Taleb
Moufid Taleb
2 days ago

I met Dixie in January for 3 days, as I was training for a polar expedition.

I would love to be added on the card if possible. I want to thanks him for all.

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Rik Flynn
Rik Flynn
2 days ago

Dixie will truly be missed. I met Dixie and his daughter Robin on the beach In OceanSide Oregon, USA while windsurfing. He and his daughter walked up to me as I was warming myself in the sand and grass for another session. That next year we were kite surfing the Oregon coast together. Doing down winders an catching waves. What a guy. We had good times and barbques at his house in Oceanside with his wonderful wife Julie and daughter. He was a good joker, lots of laughs together. I feel terrible for his family. I wish to send them… Read more »

Karin Kaser
Karin Kaser
14 hours ago
Reply to  Rik Flynn

I never met Dixie, but I know of the fun and adventure he and Julie brought to the lives of my dear friends Rik and Noreen Flynn during his time
in Oregon. They have shared much of Dixie’s amazing life endeavors with me… I am touched and feeling grief for the loss his loved ones and friends are experiencing. 🙏🏼Karin Kaser

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copeland
1 day ago

Anyone who spent time with Dixie shares the heavy burden of this tragic loss, and the heartbreak for his family. Dixie was a friend to anyone who shook his hand, and was generous with his experience and warm heart. The location of this accident is perplexing this far from Qaanaaq. One can only assume that he strayed too far to the western slope of the ice cap, probably looking for katabatic wind, where gravity starts to pull towards the sea and would crack the ice. Having made the same crossing in 2010, this loss hits home: losing a dear friend… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by copeland
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