Heads up: Louis-Philippe Loncke solo Iceland crossing

Posted: Jul 07, 2010 01:19 pm EDT

(Story edited 01:30 pm EST Jul 16, 2010) The Belgian adventurer who crossed the Simpson Desert solo, unsupported is back with a new solo attempt. This time he will try to become the first person to walk between the 2 extreme latitudes of Icelands main island without resupplies.

Louis-Philippe Loncke will be heading for Iceland in a few days and sent the following heads up to ExplorersWeb:

Belgian Explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke is back this summer with a new solo unsupported trek. Hell try to walk between the 2 extreme latitudes of Icelands main island and improve on Christopher Mikes 2008 crossing time of 27 days. LouPhi will try to cover the distance in 19 days.

Christopher Mike was the first person to walk solo and unassisted from Rifstangi in the extreme North to KĂśtlutangi at the extreme South of Iceland. (Ed note: The article earlier stated that Christopher Mike got a resupply, but he informed ExplorersWeb he didnt. Click here for updated status).

I found a Frenchman who made a North-South in very ultralight style 12kg backpack including 6kg of food for 10 days to make the traverse. He used bridges, tracks and sometimes huts. I want to feel alone on the island and take a more direct difficult route avoiding tracks and not using human structures to cross rivers.

But luckily for me he started from the wrong furthest North point (the second: www.nat.is/travelguideeng/plofin_hraunhafnartangi.htm) and finished in SkĂłgar so not the furthest point South.

The correct extremes are on Wikipedia between Rifstangi and KĂśtlutangi, thats 370km as the crow flies but roughly 560km of walking through lava fields, forking rivers and possibly climbing a few volcanoes.

I will have lightweight equipment and around 700g of food per day but Ill have a lot of video/camera/tripod equipment and solar panels to charge all these.

When I talked to Dixie Dansercoer, he told me it was very ambitious to aim 30km per day during the summer in Iceland. Its possible so the only question is: Am I able to?

But there another reason why I want to do this very possible summer trek. My main goal is to join these two extreme points in the winter. No one has crossed Iceland in the (calendar) winter and unsupported.

I have asked HalldĂłr Kvaran who worked with Cameron Smith to built the pulka hut to cross the Vatna glacier in 2004 (www.explorersweb.com/polar/news.php?id=16663 and www.soloice.com).

Besides the challenge, there will be scientific cognitive tests in the field as LouPhi did during his 2008 Simpson Desert crossing. This time, an attempt on a polar first in Iceland, on skis will be done in January.

The idea is to put myself into the extreme: solo, hauling in the dark as the average daylight is only 4 hours in January if no blizzard.

The hard part of the summer trek will be to imagine the landscape being covered by snow and finding the most appropriate route. To ski in the dark or in the blizzard, GPS points will be taken every km or so. These waypoints will become my eyes.

LouPhi is currently working on the concept of the ISSNIGILL (the Ice-Snail in Icelandic), which will be prototype liveable pulka taking the best ideas Camerons Pulka hut and Julio Fiadis red Capsule (www.explorersweb.com/polar/news.php?id=15543).

A Belgian company has invented an industrial process to combine flax with carbon and Kevlar in composite materials. Its a natural fiber, which is lighter than carbon and absorbs shocks. This material will be used if the company agrees to help.

For the moment the CEO likes the idea. I will have a backup tent but I do not want to imagine myself putting up a tent alone in the dark under a snowstorm, this would be too dangerous especially for me with no polar experience. The ISSNIGILL will be my solution to make it across or not. END

In the Australian winter of 2008 Belgium adventurer Louis-Philippe Loncke walked solo, unassisted from North to South across the Simpson Desert. His route took him from Jervois, across the centre of the desert to Macumba Station in the South.

Louis-Philippe has a passion for the Oceanic countries where he already has traveled thousands of kilometers. Some of his adventures: He walked solo, unsupported across the West MacDonnell National Park in Australia, starting West and walking East to finish in Alice Springs; walked solo, unsupported, South to North across Fraser Island, the biggest sand island in the world; and walked across the Tasmanian wilderness.

Apart from walking across remote wilderness areas, Louis-Philippe is also a painter and photographer and he loves scuba diving.


My main goal is to join these two extreme points [Rifstangi and Kötlutangi] in the winter. In the image Louis-Philippe learning Nordic ski trekking in the France (click to enlarge)
courtesy Louis-Philippe Loncke, SOURCE

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