Greenland ski: dogs and deep snow

Posted: Jun 04, 2013 05:33 pm EDT

(Newsdesk, Updated June 7, 2013) Fedor Konyukhov and Victor Simonov, who have completed their Geographic North Pole to Canada ski and dogsled expedition, are waiting for their new dog team after some issues were sorted out. They are preparing in Greenland to start their next stage, a North-South Greenland crossing. [Update: the Russians have decided to postpone their Greenland stretch to 2014 due to melting snow.]  


On the East side of the Greenland classic horizontal route, one meter deep loose snow and unusual harsh weather have made the west-east crossing hard this year. Earlier in the season, teams who started from the east skiing west were trapped in Greenland's infamous winds, with one death reported when a British team got exposed to the elements. Details of what had happened are still not clear.


Fedor Konyukhov and Victor Simonov


The two Russians, who finished their skiing and dogsledding expedition from the Geographic North Pole to Ward Hunt Island on May 22, will start the next leg in the area of Victoria Fjord, North Greenland.


Fedor and Victor are not allowed to take their foreign Russian dogs to Greenland. Apart from that it was a difficult logistical process to evacuate the dogs from Canada. The team's organizer, Victor Boyarsky explained to ExplorersWeb, "The biggest issue is for Russian dogs that have to be evacuated in a special way to avoid any contact with Greenland and Iceland animals." As the Russian dogs are not allowed on Greenland, the home team had to fly to Greenland to negotiate with local dog owners to hire or sell them their best dogs.


A few days ago the home team reported on their blog that two dog teams (10 and 12 dogs) were selected at Tasiilaq at the East coast and brought by boat to Kulusuk where there is an airport. Although the distance between the two villages is only 30 km, the boat ride took 10 hours in the ice covered sea. Yesterday the North Pole dogs have arrived safely in their home country Karelia, Russia.


West to East ski teams


Veteran Norwegian Polar explorer, Sjur Mødre, attempted his 13th Greenland crossing. They had the worst weather of all his crossings, ExplorersWeb was told, and ran out of food due to one meter of loose snow on the East side. Pushing like crazy they could reportedly not quite do 2km/h. With 85 km to the finish line at the East coast they called for a charter flight to fly out and ate their last food while waiting.


After reaching DYE2, Bjørn Sekkelseter, guide/co-owner for Fram Expeditions, and 4 Norwegian girls teamed up with two other groups who were behind them in a bid to make it easier to break trail in the deep snow. Together they were 23 skiers. Probably the biggest queue ever up there. ExplorersWeb was told they came across a polar bear some 100km in on the ice. It was just looking and walked north after a while.


Bengt Rotmo, guiding an international group for Borge Ousland, completed his expedition two days ago in good spirits. Bengt who has extensive Polar experience on Greenland, Last Degree North Pole, Hercules Inlet route on Antarctica and the Northern Patagonia Ice Cap, helped a German team down the glacier on the East side.


Norwegian outfitter, Hvitserk had two teams on the Icecap this season and completed their expeditions successfully. Both crossed from west to east.


The horizontal route, which more or less runs along the Arctic Circle, stretches between either the village of Kangerlussuaq or Point 660 about 40km inland on the West side, to the village of Isortoq or the nearby Nagtivit Glacier on the East side. 




North Pole breaking news: Konyukhov and Simonov reached land


Jose Mijares and dog, Lonchas: best friends on Spitsbergen


Three Canadians completed Mount Logan circumski


#Polar #FedorKonyukhov #VictorSimonov #SjurMødre #BjørnSekkelseter #BengtRotmo #Hviterk #Greenland


Dogs and men worked well together on the North Pole to Canada journey, said the team, and sometimes they saved each others' lives. In the image Victor Simonov and Fedor Konyukhov with some of their dogs.
courtesy Victor Simonov and Fedor Konyukhov, SOURCE
Greenland's ice covered sea made sled and dog delivery going slow.
courtesy Karelia - North Pole - Greenland team, SOURCE
Greenland dogs for the Russians, Fedor Konyukhov and Victor Simonov
courtesy Karelia - North Pole - Greenland team, SOURCE
The abandoned Cold War Radar Station, DYE2, marking more or less the halfway point on the horizontal crossing. In the Image Bengt Rotmo's team.
courtesy Bengt Rotmo, Borge Ousland Expeditions, SOURCE