Two Groups Complete 400Km Cambridge Bay-Gjoa Haven Arctic Ski

It’s been a quiet season in the world of arctic expeditions — but don’t tell that to Matthieu Tordeur and Anja Blacha.

The two skiers who just polished off a 400km trek from Cambridge Bay to Gjoa Haven in northern Canada. Tordeur and Blacha began the trip on April 7, with plans to finish in 15 days. When they pulled into Gjoa Haven on April 21 at 1 pm local time, they were right on schedule — and evidently no worse for wear.

Right behind Tordeur and Blacha, a gaggle of skiers affiliated with Borge Ousland’s adventure tour company are on track to finish the same route. The Ousland Explorers left Cambridge Bay on April 5, naming eight members. By April 24, they’d reached King William Island. That left them anywhere from 100-150km to go. Day 19, the team reported on its blog, would be the “last night with the gang.”

Four hundred kilometers is a straightforward distance to cover on skis with relatively light sleds on windblown sea ice. “It’s an ideal first sledding expedition distance,” says ExplorersWeb editor Jerry Kobalenko.

a map of the northwest passage, with the segment from Cambridge Bay to Gjoa Haven marked

The 400km objective. Photo: ExplorersWeb


A small segment of the Northwest Passage, the area claims a rich history. In 1846, Sir John Franklin’s two ships sank near King William Island during his famously doomed expedition. Gjoa Haven is named after Roald Amundsen’s ship of the same name — the Gjoa, the first vessel to fully transit the Passage in 1906.

Tordeur and Blacha seem to have suffered little as a result of their journey.

“The Northwest Passage is damn wild. It’s a universe that is always difficult to understand and together we brought a lot to each other,” Tordeur concluded on Instagram.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.