Renowned Polar Guide Dixie Dansercoer Dies in Crevasse Fall

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”.