Storms, Deep Snow Hinder Greenland Expeditions

Despite unfavorable conditions, the three Greenland expeditions are progressing across the Inland Ice.

Norwegian sisters Aase and Hanne Seeberg are performing strongly on their east-to-west traverse. After 22 days, they are due to arrive at DYE II, an old radar station about three-quarters of the way along their 600km route.

“They have found deep snow but have skied a regular 20km every day,” reports expedition liaison Lars Ebbeson. “They cleared the Summit [the apex of the Ice Sheet] before the last storm on the east side, so have been able to progress over the last few days.”

Norwegian guide Are Johansen and British client Preet Chandi have had a harder time during their first two weeks on the ice. The first obstacle was the crevasse-ridden glacier above Isortoq on the east coast, which took about three days to surmount before they reached the Ice Sheet proper. Like the Seebergs, they too have faced deep snow — the milder weather of late summer and fall in the Arctic means that the snow does not firm up as easily in a wind. They are behind schedule and are a little over 100km from the Summit.

On Sunday evening Johansen and Chandi had to dig in and build a snow wall to protect their camp from the very strong winds. They managed to travel on Tuesday and Wednesday, but were tentbound again on Thursday and Friday because of winds of 16-22 m/s (roughly 60 to 80kph).

Tordeur and Dansercoer relax with a game of Chance. Photo: Matthieu Tordeur

After struggling through the Ice Fall on the opposite coast for five days, with sleds laden for a 1,500km+ kite journey, Dixie Dansercoer’s team took a shortcut with a 20-minute helicopter flight up to the Ice Sheet. Since reaching flatter ground, the team has made solid progress, hitting daily distances up to 142km. They are now 19 days into their route, with their exact location unknown.