Arctic Roundup: New Expeditions Ready to Begin

As two expeditions near their end, three more prepare to step out onto the ice of Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, and Baffin Islands.

Greenland to Baffin Island

The ice bridge between Greenland and Ellesmere Island did not form for Pascale Marceau, Scott Cocks, and Jayme Dittmar. Instead, they have been pottering about on Greenland’s icecap.

They have found it exceedingly tough going: “The conditions on the ice cap proved to be harsh, only allowing the team to move two to five kilometres per day, carrying their loads through low visibility and rough terrain.”

They arrived back in Qaanaaq three days ago.

The Greenland Icecap. Photo: Pascale Marceau


Cycling the Arctic

Italian cyclist Omar Di Felice is cycling 4,000km from Russia to Alaska through the Arctic, flying between each segment.

Yesterday, he began the final stage of his journey. Setting off from Whitehorse in western Canada, he has a 1,600km ride ahead of him to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Di Felice has loaded up his bike and set off for Alaska. Photo: Omar Di Felice


“The first 155km of this American crossing was a silent ride in the heart of the most rugged nature, along the Alaska Highway, up to Haines Junction, the gateway to Kluane National Park,” he wrote in his latest update. He has made short work of previous stages and should finish in less than two weeks.

Baffin Island

Louis Nethercott and Anthony Lambert have arrived in Iqaluit on Baffin Island for the final leg of their “Expedition 5” project. The two former Royal Marine Commandos are “crossing the planet’s five largest islands unsupported, using only human power.” The pair have already crossed Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, and Greenland.

Louis Nethercott and Anthony Lambert. Photo: Expedition 5


In a recent post, they acknowledge that Baffin Island expedition won’t be quite a full crossing.

“We have opted as far as we can to utilize a series of waterways and the Penny Ice Cap to traverse the island. Purists will tell us it is not a true crossing as it is not between its furthest points. To them, we say good luck with that. We have done what we can to do justice to what is essentially a gimmick we dreamed up,” they wrote on their website.

They will spend a couple of days in Iqaluit sorting through their gear and then head roughly 500km north on snowmobiles to their start point at the mouth of the Koukdjuak River. From there, they head east to Nettilling Lake, ski across it, then continue along another waterway from its northeastern corner. They then intend to travel 270km up the (hopefully) frozen waterway to the Penny Ice Cap.

Nethercott and Lambert will try to cover 20km per day, dragging 100kg each.

Expedition 5’s planned route. Photo: Expedition 5


Ellesmere Island

The North Water Polynya at Cape Norton Shaw, Ellesmere Island. Photo: Jerry Kobalenko


The Pikialasorsuaq (the Inuit name for a polynya, an area of open water surrounded by sea ice) expedition will see Dave Garrow, John McClelland, and Frank Wolf take on a 400km ski route on Ellesmere Island.

Their trip includes some citizen science, while skirting the edge of the North Water Polynya between Ellesmere and Greenland.

The shortish expedition should take about 21 days.

Axel Heiberg Island

John Dunn and Graeme Magor will soon set off on a 60-day unsupported end-to-end ski traverse of Axel Heiberg Island.

Their “Double Axel Expedition” will start at the southern end and involve two 475 kilometre legs.

Lena River

There is still no information on Charlie Walker’s progress on the Lena River. Walker’s 1,600km ski expedition began on the day that Russia invaded Ukraine.