Showing posts with label Greenland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greenland. Show all posts

Video: Salomon TV Presents Guilt Trip in Greenland

When a group of professional skiers decides to travel to Greenland to attempt the first descent of a mountain there, they are understandably excited at first. But then, as they begin to plan their expedition, a feeling of guilt sets in over the carbon footprint that their journey will create. That's the premise behind this short documentary film from Salomon TV. And just what do these skiers do about this issue? They invite world renowned glaciologist, Alun Hubbard along to study the impact of climate change on the region. But that is only the very beginning of their adventure, which only gets more difficult and complicated from there. Their full story can be found in the video below.

Kayakers Complete Greenland to Scotland Challenge

For the better part of the summer we've been following the progress of Olly Hicks and George Bullard, two British adventurers that had undertaken the difficult challenge of kayaking from Greenland to Scotland, and endeavor that included several legs of the journey that required them to be out on the open ocean for days at a time. Over the weekend, the pair reached their final destination at last, bring an end to their odyssey that was both mentally and physically taxing.

Hicks and Bullard launched their expedition from the Denmark Strait in Greenland before proceeding across open water to Iceland. From their, the two men followed the Icelandic coastline until they reached the North Sea, from which point they turned their boat towards the Faroe Islands, a very remote destination located just north of the British Isles. Next they crossed 50 miles (80 km) of rough seas to  reach the tiny island of North Rona before pressing on with the final leg, which ended
at Balnakeil Bay in Scotland. Along the way they faced several stops and starts due to inclement weather and exhaustion, but all told they managed to cover approximately 1200 miles (1931 km) over the the length of their adventure.

The expedition came to and end in the early hours of Sunday, September 4. Tired, but sensing that the end was near, Olly and George pushed on, paddling through the night. They reached Balnakeil Bay before sunrise, and although the blog reports of their progress say that they were exhausted, they were happy to reach the end of the journey at long last.

While this expedition saw little attention from the media, it was an audacious one to say the least. The waters that these two men paddled through were incredibly challenging, with ice floes blocking their way and heavy seas often making things rough. There are sections of the route that even commercial ships take care not to pass through, and yet Olly and George did it in a 22-foot sea kayak. That's a pretty impressive accomplishment indeed.

Congratulations to both men on a job well done.

Greenland to Scotland Challenge: Kayakers Make Second Attempt on "Devil's Dance Floor"

Back in June I told you about the Greenland to Scotland Challenge, and attempt by British adventurers Olly Hicks and George Bullard to kayak from the coast of Greenland to the upper regions of Scotland, with some pretty hairy open water sections to contend with along the way. The duo got underway back on July 1 and have working to complete the expedition ever since. The early stages of the paddle went about as they expected, with the two men traveling from Greenland to Iceland with few problems, then slowing making their way around the Icelandic coast. But the most harrowing stage of the journey – dubbed the "Devil's Dance Floor" – is a sea crossing from Iceland to the Faroe Islands off the coast of Scotland that they had hoped to have finished by now. Now, after one aborted attempt, they're getting ready to try again.

Olly and George first tried to paddle across the Dance Floor a few weeks back. They set out from the coast of Iceland on July 23 on what they knew was the toughest leg of their entire journey. But after spending 36 hours on the open sea they received word that bad weather was heading their way. The coast guard advised that they turn back as conditions did not look good.

Fortunately, they were able to hitch a ride on a passing fishing boat and made it back to shore safe and sound. Since then, they've been working on that same fishing boat, earning their keep while they waited for the weather to improve. At long last they've gotten toe okay to proceed, and the forecast looks promising. So, yesterday they returned to the water have has started to cross this treacherous stretch of open water once again.

The boys now face 12 days of living in their kayak as they make their way to the Faroe Islands. During that time they will eat, sleep, and paddle in their boat, completely focused on making progress towards their goal. They have now entered the most crucial stage of this journey, and the next week and a half could be incredibly difficult and dangerous.

As of today, the weather seems to have turned in their favor. The wind is at their back and they are making good progress. In fact, according to their dispatches they have already covered more ground in 24 hours than they did in the first 36 hours out on the Dance Floor. They won't be able to maintain that speed of course, but it is helping to put them back on track. Hopefully the good luck will continue and they'll complete the crossing safely.

Good luck to Olly and George. Follow their progress here.

British Adventurers to Paddle From Greenland to Scotland


Two British adventurers are preparing to set out on a challenging kayaking expedition that will take them across the Arctic Ocean and North Sea as they travel from Greenland to Scotland. Their journey is set to begin this Sunday and is expected to take upwards of six weeks to complete.

In just a few days time, Olly Hicks and George Bullard will leave the U.K. for Greenland where they will launch their In the Wake of the Finnmen expedition. This journey by sea will cover more than 1200 miles (1931 km) as they travel from the Denmark Strait to Iceland, follow the coastline of that country before daring the waters of the North Sea to head towards the Faroe Islands, a remote place located north of the British Isles. After that, they'll turn south to paddle 50 miles (80 km) to reach the tiny island of North Rona before pressing on with the final leg, which ends at Cape Wrath in Scotland.

All told, the two men expect to be padding for six weeks, with 12 nights actually spend out on the water in the open seas. The first three of those nights will take place on the crossing from Greenland to Iceland. The paddlers will then take their time kayaking along the shores of that country, regaining their strength and preparing for the challenges ahead. During that section of the expedition they'll cover about 20 miles (32 km) per day before pushing on to the Faroe Islands, which will force them to spend another six nights at sea. The final three nights will be when they make the final push across the North Sea to Cape Wrath. 

Olly and George will be paddling a modified Inuk Duo 6.8m sea kayak, which is designed to withstand the challenges and rigors of open water in remote seas. It has also been made for long distance paddling expeditions, with plenty of storage for gear and supplies. The kayak even has sealable cockpits, allowing the men to squeeze inside its hull to catch some sleep on those long nights at sea. 

The aim of the expedition is to prove that the Inuit people of the Arctic could have made a similar journey to populate island that are found in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Hicks has called it the “Arctic Kon-Tiki expedition" in a nod to the famous Thor Heyerdahl expedition from 1947. Olly and George's boat is much smaller than Heyerdahl's however, with some very different challenges. 

This won't be be the first waterborne journey for Hicks. Back in 2005 he became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 23. In 2008, we followed his attempt to row around Antarctica as well, and while other expeditions have taken him across the Tasman Sea and around Great Britain. In the future, he hopes to row around the world, taking another crack at the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica once again. 

Japanese Polar Explorer Yasu Ogita Completes Canada to Greenland Expedition

Way back in March I told you about Japanese polar explorer Yasunaga Ogita's plans to ski from northern Canada to Greenland across the frozen sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. At the time, he was just preparing to set out, but now, two months later, he's finished the journey at long last, covering more than 830 km (515 miles) in the process.

Yasu initially set out from Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island back on March 30. He then spent the next 48 days skiing to Greenland, crossing the frozen expanse of the Arctic Ocean along the way. He told ExWeb that his biggest challenge while en route was the fast moving arctic ice that was pushed along by a strong current. Crossing those moving floes can be difficult unless you're traveling at high speed, which isn't possible on foot when dragging a heavy sled behind.

Along the way, the Japanese polar veteran also encountered plenty of polar bears and even an arctic wolf who took an interest in his travels. He also saw seals, musk ox, caribou, and other creatures as well, proving that this part of the world isn't quite so empty as some would think.

To prepare for the crossing Yasu spoke to other explorers who had traveled in the region before, as well as locals in both Canada and Greenland. But much of the path was completely unknown, with very few people ever crossing through this part of the world. The crossing isn't completely unknown, but it is a very rare occurrence to say the least.

Yeas wrapped up his journey on May 16 and just recently traveled home to Japan. He is no doubt already thinking about his next adventure.

World's Largest Viking Ship to Sail From Norway to the U.S.

Photo credit: Peder Jacobsson
A crew of 16 sailors are about to embark on an epic adventure that will take them across the North Atlantic as they look to recreate historical voyages that first took place more than 1000 years ago. On Sunday, the Draken Harald Hårfagrethe largest viking ship ever built – will set sail from Norway with the goal of eventually reaching the U.S., proving once again how Viking explorers reached North America hundreds of years earlier than Christopher Columbus.

Dubbed Expedition America, the journey is meant to learn about the conditions faced by the Vikings as they undertook voyages of discovery from 750-1100 AD. To that end, the Draken Harald Hårfagre has been built to exacting details in the same manner as the ancient Viking ships before it were constructed. It has an open-air kitchen and a sleeping area. The 16 crew members will take turns spending 4 hours manning the vessel and 4 hours off resting throughout the length of the voyage.

The ship will depart from Vibrandsøy, Haugesund, Norway, setting out across the North Atlantic with the goal of reaching Reykjavík, Iceland by May 1. From there, they'll continue on to the port of Qaqortoq in Greenland, skipping across the ocean just as their ancestors did before them. After that, they'll make a harrowing voyage across the Davis Strait – traveling a thousand miles north of where the Titanic went down – on their way to the viking settlement of L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. They hope to arrive there around the 1st of June.

The voyage won't end when they reach North America however. The Draken Harald Hårfagre will than proceed up the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Quebec City, before proceeding into the Great Lakes to visit places like Toronto, Chicago, Green Bay, and even traveling as far west as Duluth, MN before turning back east for a stop in New York City in September.

Of course, you'll be able to follow along with this voyage on the expedition's official website. It should certainly be interesting to watch unfold.

Yasu Ogita to Launch Arctic Expedition Next Week

Japanese adventurer Yasu Ogita is preparing to embark on his next big polar adventure, which is expected to get underway next week. He is currently in Canada, and preparing to head north, as he embarks on what promises to be yet another difficult expedition.

In 2014 we followed Yasu closely as he attempted to ski solo and unsupported to the North Pole. Unfortunately he had to abandon that attempt when he simply ran out of time before he could reach 90ºN. But back in 2002, Ogita completed a journey on skis from Resolute Bay to Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island. Now, he'll set out from that point on his next adventure, which promises to be a challenging one.

According to ExWeb, Yasu will set out from Grise Fjord on March 24. He intends to ski across the frozen Arctic Ocean in an attempt to reach Greenland. Along the way, he'll cover more than 1000 km (621 miles) with the hope of reaching Siorapaluk in the Qaanaaq area on Greenland by May 7.

The Japanese explorer has already scouted out the route, and reports that the ice is in excellent condition. He hasn't traveled through this region before however, so he doesn't know completely what to expect. He does plan on taking plenty of photography equipment and video cameras along for the expedition to document the journey however, including a drone to capture aerial footage as well.

With the challenges that now face explorers attempting to reach the North Pole, I expect we'll start to see more Arctic expeditions like this one. There is plenty of exploration to be done in the frozen regions of our planet that don't involve going to one of the Poles. The Arctic seasons have been rather quiet over the past few years, and will probably continue to be so. But a few intrepid souls will still find ways to travel through this difficult and demanding part of the world.

We'll keep an eye on Yasu's progress in the days ahead as he makes his way across the Arctic. Stay tuned for updates.

Video: Climbing the Polar Bear Fang with Mike Libecki

The Polar Bear Fang is a massive rock face located in a remote region of Greenland that climber Mike Libecki had been planning to climb for the past decade. Earlier in the year he finally made the pilgrimage to the mountain to attempt the first ascent of that virtually unknown wall. As you'll see in the video below, it turned into quite an adventure in a wilderness setting that is strikingly beautiful. In addition to overcoming the climb itself, the team faced other challenges that include trekking across glaciers, wandering polar bears, and training a younger brother who is not a climber on how to go up such a big wall.

The New York Times Looks at the Impact of Climate Change on Greenland

Inexplicably the topic of climate change remains a controversial one, even in the face of overwhelming data that indicates that it is indeed a very real threat to our planet. But despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still those who refuse to believe that it is happening all around us. I would direct those people to a new article from the The New York Times, which explores the direct impact of global warming on the ice sheets of Greenland.

A team of reporters traveled to that country to explore this topic in-depth, and returned with some sobering findings. In Greenland the impact of climate change isn't just something that is recorded with fine scientific instruments. It can be observed with the naked eye, as water from the melting ice caps flow across the landscape like rushing rivers, somethings that is seen in this interactive piece by the Times in the very first image found at the top of the website.

To more directly take stock of the changing environment in Greenland, a team of scientists went there this summer, and got a first hand look at how things are shifting. The discovered that not only are the ice sheets melting, their disappearance is accelerating at an alarming rate. The lakes and rivers that form from that melt off are slicing through the glaciers like a knife, warming the surrounding ice faster than expected. Those rivers than drill through the ice, creating vast and deep sinkholes that eventually deposit the water into the ocean. As time goes by, this will cause the ocean levels to rise, directly impacting places that fall along our current shorelines.

These large holes are called "moulins" and while scientists were aware of their existence, they didn't know just how prevalent they were until this year. As one research explained it, the ice cap in Greenland is "porous like Swiss Cheese" and that is allowing the water to run off at a faster rate, and melt more ice in the process.

The article from the Times is a fascinating one that deftly melds interactive elements with engaging writing, and excellent research and reporting from the field. It is a long story to read, but the photos and other media that are included with help convey just how important this story truly is. If you love the outdoors, and have any concerns whatsoever about how climate change will change the face of the Earth, this is definitely one story you won't want to miss. Kudos to the "Newspaper of Record" for  a job well done here. This is sobering stuff to say the least.

Climbing Team Completes First Ascent of the Mirror Wall in Greenland

A few weeks back I posted a story about a team of climbers that were attempting to become the first to complete an ascent of an impressive rock face in Greenland known as the Mirror Wall. At the time, the squad had just launched their expedition after spending more than year planning its logistics, and weeks just getting to the mountain. But after spending 12 nights on the massive face, the group was able to reach their objective, topping out in the middle of a snow storm.

The team was led by British rock climber Leo Houlding, who was accompanied by Joe Möhle, Matt Pickles, Matt Pycroft and Waldo Etherington. They managed to ascend the 1200 meter (3937 ft) wall in 25 pitches, 23 of which were free-climbed.

The remote and massive north face of the Mirror Walls has been compared to the iconic Dawn Wall in Yosemite that drew so much media attention earlier this year. But unlike the Dawn Wall, the this climbing challenge is very remote, requiring the team to be flown into their starting point, and later retrieved by helicopter. It is also taller than the Dawn Wall, with a similarly smooth rock face that is guarded by snow and ice seracs.

Despite those difficulties however, the team managed to reach the summit at 4:20 AM local time on July 22. Inclement weather didn't allow them to enjoy their success for long, as they also had to find a safe way to descend and get back to Base Camp in time for their scheduled July 28 pick-up. Fortunately the were all able to get down safely and have now started their journey home.

You can learn more about their adventure, and read the archives of their dispatches, on a website created specifically for the climb that is hosted by Berghaus, the major sponsor of the Mirror Wall expedition. It looks like it was quite an excursion.

Climbing Team Begins Ascent of "Arctic Dawn Wall"

A talented team of climbers has set their sights on an incredibly difficult and remote wall in Greenland which has been dubbed the "Arctic Dawn Wall." The team – which includes climbers Leo Houlding, Matt Pickles, and Joe Möhle, along with filmmakers Matt Pycroft and Waldo Etherington –  departed for a seldom visited region of Renlan where they will attempt a climb of a massive granite peak known as the Mirror Wall.

At 1200 meters (3937 feet) in height, the rock face of the Mirror Wall is even taller than the famous Dawn Wall in Yosemite. It is said to be incredibly smooth and difficult, with an approach that is guarded by snow and ice seracs. The team has scouted a route to the summit, but will have to inspect it to ensure that it is safe and that it will provide the access that they expect.

Just getting to the Mirror Wall is an adventure. Located in a remote region that is only accessible by helicopter this time of year. Before they could begin the expedition, the team had to first ship all of its gear and supplies to Iceland in June, and than have it airlifted to what would become their base camp by light aircraft. The men followed on earlier in the week, and have started working on establishing their BC before starting the ascent of the wall.

The expedition is sponsored by Berghaus, and regular updates will be posted to a special section of the company's website that can be found here. Unfortunately for those of us who live in the U.S., that site is redirecting to the local version of the Beghaus website, which does not have the updates just yet. I'm told they are trying to work out this issue, so hopefully we can follow the progress directly soon. In the meantime, updates are also being posted to Facebook as well.

According to recent reports, Leo and team have experienced some bad weather to start their adventure. That weather is disrupting communications to a degree, and preventing them from launching their climb. Hopefully conditions will improve soon, and they can start their ascent.

Video: Trailer for The Great Shark Hunt - Climbing in Greenland

Last August, a trio of climbers – Matteo Della Bordella, Silvan Schüpbach and Christian Ledergerber  – traveled to Greenland to attempt a new route on a peak called the Shark Tooth. Prior to their expedition, the 900 meter (2952 ft) rock face had only been climbed one other time, and this team hoped to do it in alpine style without fixed ropes. On August 18 they managed to reach the top of a route that they named "The Great Shark Hunt."

The video below is a trailer for an upcoming documentary of that expedition. As you'll see, the men had to travel on foot, and by kayak, just to reach the mountain itself. Then, they faced a challenging climb on a sheer face that required skill, strength, and daring to overcome. The views along the way are spectacular, the climbing phenomenal, and the outcome inspirational. Everything you'd want out of a good adventure film.

Adventure Television Casting News - Animal Planet and Survivorman

Have you always wanted to be a reality television star? If so, than I have a couple of casting opportunities for you that just might be your big break.

First, Animal Planet is looking for expedition leaders to travel Greenland to be a part of their show Ice Cold Gold. The program follows a mining company as it travels to remote areas of globe in search of valuable metals and minerals. This year, that quest is taking them to parts of Greenland that have seldom been visited by outsiders before, where they'll race to complete their job before the harsh Arctic winter sets in, covering the landscape in snow and ice once again.

If you think you might be qualified, send an email that includes a photo and a brief description of yourself, as well as some info on your expedition experience,  to [email protected]. You can also find a bit more of a description in this posting at ExWeb.

The second opportunity is one that I'm sure will appeal to a number of readers will be interested in. Reality television legend Les Stroud is preparing to film new episodes of his show Survivorman and he's looking to take one lucky viewer with him out into the field. For those who haven't seen this show (have you been living under a rock?), Les is dropped off in a remote region of the world – usually completely alone – and he must survive in that environment while making his way to safety.

But for an upcoming special episode Les wants to take someone along with him on his adventure, and he is accepting applications to do just that here. Applicants will need to fill out the online form and submit a 5-10 minute long video explaining why they are the right person to accompany him out into the wild. The submission deadline is April 1, which is a week from today, so you better get going. Les explains more in the video below.

Good luck to anyone who applies for either of these opportunities. They could certainly lead to some interesting adventures.

Two Norwegian Scientists Exploring the Arctic Ocean via Hovercraft

Two Norwegian scientists are on the expedition of a lifetime in the Arctic Ocean. The two men – 73-year old Yngve Kristoffersen and his partner Audun Tholfsen – have been exploring the mostly-unknown region of the world between Canada and Greenland aboard a hovercraft since last August, braving extreme cold, inhospitable weather, and months without sunlight for their research.

The 18-month long project has a number of goals, not the least of which is mapping a massive deep-sea ridge that runs from Ellesmere Island all the way to the North Pole. But they are also searching for a large meteorite that is believed to have crashed into the ice millions of years ago, as well as conducting research into what the Arctic was like back then, when the water was much warmer, and unique species of sea turtles and crocodiles lived there.

The two men have been living in a small hovercraft for the past four months, using it not only as their means of transportation, but also as a mobile research lab. The hovercraft is a vehicle that is well suited for travel in the Arctic, where the ice can get so thick at times that only specially equipped ice breakers are capable of breaking through. Riding on a cushion of air generated by two large turbines, their sturdy craft glides along above the ice however, rarely encountering any surface conditions hat it can't maneuver over or around.

The scientists will often park the hovercraft on an ice flow and stay stationary for days while they take samples of the ice and record atmospheric conditions. At other times, they're on the move, off to another location to explore a new area of the Arctic. As they go, they have witnessed the way the ice moves, breaks apart, and shifts, giving them a rare glimpse of the powerful forces that are at work at the top of the world. During their time exploring this part of the world, they have discovered indications of a tectonic fault line in the region and spotted a strange new species of fish that resembles an eel living in the cold mud of the sea floor. They have even stumbled across a Russian submarine patrolling the Arctic as well.

In a few months, Tholfsen will be airlifted home and replaced with another scientist, but Kristofferson will stay for the entirety of the expedition. You can follow their ambitious mission at the expedition's official website, which has more information about their goals, and regular updates on the team's progress as well.

Video: Two Lands - Greenland and Iceland

This short video gives viewers a glimpse of two of the most iconic, adventurous, destinations on the planet - Greenland and Iceland. The timelapse images depicted here are beautiful and awe inspiring, providing us with some insight into why these two cold, challenging, places hold such an allure with adventure travelers and explorers the world over.

Two Lands - Greenland | Iceland from SCIENTIFANTASTIC on Vimeo.

Video: Climbing Icebergs in Greenland

Since the release of the Hero4 camera last month, GoPro has been sharing videos that demonstrate its use in the field. This is another one of those clips, this time showing pro climbers Klemen Premrl and Aljaz Anderle as they tackle some icebergs near Greenland. The mood of the video is set in the first minute, when they are ascending a wall of ice, only to find that it is starting to crumble around them. The rest of the short documentary shows more of their adventure, and the beautiful landscapes that they operate in.