Text: Anders Stenbakken
Destination East Greenland
As big as it gets
This is one of the more extreme activities offered in our district, and definitely not for everyone. However this is also a fantastic adventure that will leave a never fading memory.
The most common route, which is done by individuals and groups every year, is from the Isortoq settlement – Kangerlussuaq, on the west coast or in reverse order. Distance: 570 kilometres.
There are several ways of crossing. The most common are: Skiing with dog teams, man hauling pulka or ski and kites.
There are a number of commercial expeditions that take will you across the icecap. However, if you want to do you own crossing we strongly recommend you to contact tour operators with experience. Tasiilaq has some of the most experienced people in crossing the icecap either by dogsled or by skis. They will be able to support you on best time of crossing, weather conditions, route coordinates, local transportation, suggestions to equipment and food.
Search and rescue operations are done every year, and this is mainly due do bad or insufficient preparations.
Since the Ice Cap was crossed for the first time in 1888 by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, the ice cap has been crossed numerous times, in every route imaginable. Even by skidoos and four wheels drive vehicles. So you are properly not going to concur new territory, but this is, from my point of view, beside the point when were talking about the magnitude of this adventure. Your personal crossing of the vast and unchangeably Ice Cap is an achievement shadowed by nothing.
Of course modern technology have provided us with better equipment than what was available when Nansen did the crossing - but still the distance and the Ice Cap are unchanged, and you have to do the work.
Even though people are crossing the Ice Cap every year, the number is still only counted in hundreds, and your crossing will bring you in the this very small and exclusive company.
Gert Mikaelsen from Tasiilaq holds the local record in Ice Cap Crossings. Nine (9) times has Gert and his dogs done the crossing. All attempts have been successful. Only one person in the world, the Norwegian Sjur Mördre from Hvitserk, matches this record.