PolarExplorers Greenland Icecap Crossing

Thousands of people visit Greenland every year to witness its remarkable beauty and experience the warm and resilient culture of the Greenland Inuit. Very few of these visitors ever make it beyond the coastal villages of the island, leaving the vast interior, home to Earth's second largest icecap, virtually untouched. And fewer still travel in traditional style, on ski with dogsleds for support. Our expedition provides seasoned adventurers the chance to cross Greenland's inland ice from coast to coast using a route very similar to Fridtjof Nansen's first crossing of Greenland in 1888.

Traversing this incredible inland icecap  with the support of dog teams means that skiers don't have the burden of pulling a heavy sled. They also get to experience the the tradition of traveling with dogsleds and as many as 36 Greenland huskies. This expedition can be demanding, exhilarating, and unpredictable making it ideal for those looking for a classic Arctic adventure. It's also a great expedition for people who have or would like to Ski to the South Pole. As the second largest sheet of ice on Earth Greenland is Antarctica's little sister, with a very similar personality and competing (if not better) good looks. 

Unlike the icy rubble fields of the Arctic pack ice, Greenland's smooth surface snow does not present a technical skiing challenge, but expect long days, steady climbs, and unpredictable weather.

This classic polar expedition has long been considered the third great achievement of the Polar Trilogy. Join our team and find out why explorers hold a Greenland icecap crossing in the same high regard as a North or South Pole expedition. Contact us here for more information.

 

 

  • Itinerary
  • Equipment List
  • Qualifications
  • Dates & Rates
  • Trip Insurance
  • Testimonials
  • Blogs

Greenland Icecap Crossing: Daily Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Kangerlussuaq. Transfer to hotel. Evening welcome reception provides time to meet other team members and review itinerary.
Day 2
A day in Kangerlussuaq to review expedition procedures and equipment, and to take care of last minute details.
Day 3
Depart Kangerlussuaq for the Greenland ice cap by skidoo or charter air. We'll be meeting our dog teams and mushers on the ice at a pre-determined "dog camp" located on the icecap just beyond the crevasse zone approximately 30-40 kn from Kangerlussuaq.
Day 4-25
After meeting up with our dog teams, we'll embark on the crossing. For the next 16-19 days we'll dogsled and ski across the Greenland icecap. This incredible expanse is unlike any other place on Earth, except perhaps for the interior of Antarctica. Our days will be long and potentially very challenging. Our nights provide respite from the elements and a great time to replenish our bodies and spirits with great food, camraderie, and well-deserved rest. As we near the east coast of Greenland we'll make the descent to the coast on ski and by foot, arriving at the town of Isertoq, then transfer by boat or helicopter to Kulusuk. A very welcome night at a local hotel (with hot shower, ahhh!) and a celebratory dinner will provide a fitting finale to this wonderful adventure.
Day 26
After an optional breakfast, we'll transport you to the airport for your flight home.

*This itinerary is highly dependent on a number of factors and is subject to change. Contact us for a more detailed itnerary!

Greenland Icecap Crossing: Equipment List

Upon registration, you will receive a comprehensive PolarExplorers gear guide that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants.

  • 1 pair backcountry skis (bring your own or rent this item from PolarExplorers)
  • 1 pair backcountry ski boots (if renting skis from PolarExplorers your boots must be compatible with NNN BC bindings - important!)
  • Sleeping bag rated to at least -20° Celsius (bring your own or rent this item from PolarExplorers)
  • Bivy sack (bring your own or rent this item from PolarExplorers)
  • 2 sleeping pads (bring your own or rent this item from PolarExplorers)
  • 1 windproof / waterproof breathable anorak with hood
  • 1 pr. breathable wind pants
  • 1 insulated parka with hood (synthetic or down with water repellent finish)
  • 2 pair synthetic or wool working gloves - contact us for additional details
  • 1 micropuff or warm fleece jacket and pants
  • 2 sets synthetic or wool underwear, medium weight top and bottom- 2nd set optional
  • 2 pair synthetic or wool working gloves - contact us for additional details
  • 1 overmitt system (need to fit over working gloves)
  • 2 hats: 1 lightweight balaclava, 1 ski type
  • 2 neck gaiters
  • 3 pair socks and sock liners
  • 1 face mask
  • Sun glasses and/ or mountain ski glasses
  • 2 pr. anti-fog goggles
  • 1 sturdy small backpack with waist belt and sternum strap
  • 2 Thermos bottles or insulated water bottles
  • 1 set eating utensils with bowl
  • Pocket knife / multi-tool
  • Personal toiletries
  • 1 pee bottle (small plastic bottle)
  • Face cream, lip protection
  • Luggage locks

Greenland Icecap Crossing Qualifications

This adventure is for people who are in good shape and who are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. Prior cross country skiing experience is preferred. You will need to have very good cardiovascular endurance and the ability to ski several hours at a time, with only short pauses, day after day.

This expedition demands that you stay well-fed and hydrated. You need to be proactive about keeping yourself healthy and free of injury. An evacuation from this expedition is very costly and logistically difficult. You do not have to be a world class athlete to participate in and enjoy this expedition, but every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the journey more enjoyable and safer. Please contact us with further questions!

Greenland Icecap Crossing Dates & Rates

2017 Tentative Dates

May 04 – May 29, 2017

Price

∙ $25,500 USD

Inclusions

Includes all group equipment, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear, SAR insurance and most meals.

Expedition Trip Insurance

Trip cancellation insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every PolarExplorers expedition.

Medical Evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of $300,000 USD is REQUIRED on every PolarExplorers expedition.

Ensure that your policy covers your activity, destination and any pre-existing medical conditions (to cover pre-existing medical conditions you may need to purchase your policy within 14 days or less of your initial deposit).

If you are mountaineering check that the policy covers roped technical mountain travel and the elevation limit that you will have.

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Ripcord Insurance (For non-US residents use the Offer Code "ripcordintl" which will enable you to receive quotes and/or purchase policies.) If your expedition is more than USD $30,000 you may need to send an email to: ClientServices@redpointresolutions.com or call them at +1 617-307-4636

If you live in the USA you have additional options. 

Travelex Insurance - Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.

Travel Guard has comprehensive policies that include trip cancellation or you can purchase a Single Trip Medical Evacuation Important! You must include the optional Adventure Sports coverage upgrade if you are climbing any mountains or traveling in rope teams. (Pre-existing medical coverage is not available with this policy.)

Greenland Icecap Crossing Testimonials

Tony HampsonCollectively we had a great team and I personally appreciate the effective, but non-authoritarian manner in which the trip was run, which is in contrast to some of my past experiences in the cold parts of the world with other companies. Many thanks for your professionalism and those of your colleagues. Jointly you are a great credit to PolarExplorers as an organisation.

Tony Hamson - Tindale

Alex DrozdkovThe expedition's difficulty was exactly at my level and I found my hidden reserves with the guide's help. The guides were like mother and father to me and are beyond any criticism. It was a great adventure and a lot of hard work. I will remember most the huge energy reserves and mental resources of our guides.

Alex Drozdkov

Norbert KernWhat do I remember most from this expedition? The teamwork, the professional work of the guides, and the storm turning down our tent. What would I say to someone considering this expedition? Do it!

Norbert Kern

  • Until next time Antarctica

    This morning, a Twin Otter was finally able to fly into Vinson Base Camp to gather the team off the Branscomb Glacier. A short 40 min later they were back in Union Glacier, awaiting the Ilyushin 76 which touched down on the Blue Ice Runway around noon. 

    We just heard from the team that they had safely landed Punta Arenas where a hot showers and soft beds await. Tomorrow morning, with much regret, the team will dissolve as people catch flights back home.

    Thank you to everyone who followed along and engaged with us on social media, and thanks to all of the staff, guides, and team members that have made this expedition such an incredible success!

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see more photos of this and other expeditions, and also to receive news on upcoming expeditions! It's never too early to join the PolarExplorers Team.

     

     

     

    Written on Friday, 20 January 2017 22:06 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Low visibility = plenty of time for cards

    The Vinson team thought they were good to go. The call came in that their pick up plane was on its way so they took down their tents and packed up. Then came the sound of the plane overhead. VROOOOM!

    Written on Thursday, 19 January 2017 20:04 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Back at Vinson basecamp - mission accomplished!

    After a day of descending from high camp the team has returned to Vinson basecamp, their temporary home away from home. It brings a sense of closure to this awesome expedition, but that doesn't mean that it is over!

    Written on Thursday, 19 January 2017 04:49 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Success! The summit on a beautiful day!

    We are excited to share that the South Pole / Vinson combo team reached the summit of Vinson today around 3:30 PM local time. Wohoo! Everyone was thrilled to be standing on the roof of Antarctica.

    Written on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 03:46 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins Be the first to comment!
  • Relaxing day at high camp

    If there's anything better than having a deep sleep inside a tent (with no wake up call!), it might be getting served pancakes and eggs with syrup and jam. That was the morning routine today for our group of climber's at Vinson high camp.

    Written on Monday, 16 January 2017 16:59 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Climbers at high camp

    This is a quick update to let everyone know that the Vinson team made it to high camp. They are all doing well despite being knackered after a long day. They departed low camp around 2 PM and spent around 9 hours on the go, ascending roughly 3,350 ft / 1020m of elevation gain on slopes as steep as 45 degrees. They had a delicious dinner cooked up by Keith and Garrett and they are hitting the sac happy to be one step closer to the summit. Tomorrow they will take a rest day and hopefully (weather permitting) enjoy the outstanding views that high camp has to offer. 

    Keith on the ascent to high camp

    Written on Sunday, 15 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • All fights are "GO", climbers at Vinson low camp

    Great news! The weather at Union Glacier and Vinson basecamp cleared enough for both our flights today. This means that both teams are on schedule with the South Pole team back at Punta Arenas and the Vinson team on the mountain. Antarctica has very fickle weather and when things are running on schedule it's a good reason to be thankful - and we are!

    Written on Saturday, 14 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Union Glacier, home away from home

    Both teams are now back at Union Glacier and enjoying the amenities of a well run basecamp. There is excellent food, hot showers, lectures and fresh faces to smile at and people to meet. 

    Written on Friday, 13 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Back to UG for one team, another night at the Pole for the other

    After a very celebratory night with many cheers and toasts, everyone finally got some shut-eye though several people would have like more!

    Written on Thursday, 12 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • The Pole at last!

    We are very proud and excited to announce that both teams reached the Geographic South Pole today at 16:15 local time! Wooo hooo!

    Both teams slept in for a lazy morning and broke camp around 11 AM. For the first few marches they could see each other and by the last push before the station boundaries they were together. From there they phoned in their position to the base camp manager, Hannah, who warmly greeted them and told them to "come right on in." As they approached the Pole the many miles of tugging a sled over the vast Antarctic plateau melted away and all that was before them was the red and white striped Pole that marks 90 degrees South. Well, almost 90 degrees South. Most people don't know that there are two "poles" at the South Pole. There is the Ceremonial South Pole with the red and white stripes and reflective globe, surrounded by flags. This is the Pole that is most often photographed. There is also the actual US Geological Survey marker that denotes exactly 90 degrees South. This "Pole" is around 10 meters from the Ceremonial Pole. Don't worry, they'll have plenty of time at each pole before they leave!

    After many hugs, high fives, photos and phone calls home the teams, who had put in a long day by now, retreated to the temporary basecamp for visiting explorers. When we talked with them the camp manager, Hannah, who is an old friend to many of us, was preparing them a hearty dinner. This will be a celebratory dinner. Not only did they reach the South Pole, but they can relax and enjoy themselves without having to get up bright and early to ski tomorrow! We heard a rumor that Michael pulled out his very coveted Shackleton Whiskey, which everyone is drooling over. We also heard that Graeme had carried with him a very special medal that the monarch of Italy presented to Ernest Shackleton! So it is not a far stretch to say that The Boss himself is with them tonight.

    They have planned a station tour at 9 AM Chile time tomorrow morning. That's the middle of the night NZ time. This is intentional timing to reduce the impact of our 15 person strong team on the people who live and work at the station. Then they'll return to the Pole for a photo session when they expect to have more favorable lighting. In the later afternoon if all goes as planned they will fly back to the Union Glacier Basecamp.

    We have a wonderful audio dispatch from the dinner tent that captures the mood of the evening and we hope to post more photos of their day soon. So check back again!

    Written on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 21:56 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • So close, South Pole station in sight!

    It was another cold day for our teams. The windchill forecast was for -40 C/F but the wind didn't pick up as much as expected. Still it was bitterly cold.

    Written on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Getting close!

    It was a cold day up on the polar plateau. Colder than any other day so far (around -24 C / -13 F) and there was enough wind to make everyone feel the bite (around 6 kt). This made managing hands and faces harder than previous days but everyone did well and survived the day with all parts intact.  

    Written on Monday, 09 January 2017 22:56 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Half way there!

    Today the teams report that they had nice conditions with colder temps (around -23 C) with a 3-5 kt wind coming from the NE. In case you are wondering what direction that is if you are skiing to the South Pole it is hitting them in their left butt cheek and the backside of their left shoulder.

    Written on Monday, 09 January 2017 03:51 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Antarctica at it's calmest

    Antarctica can be the harshest place on Earth but not today. Today it was amazingly beautiful. It was sunny, warm (-15 c), and utterly calm. Not a breath of wind. Most of the team were peeling off layers until they were only in base layers with no anorak. A good dose of sunscreen or the thinnest face covering protected their skin.

    Written on Sunday, 08 January 2017 01:37 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • A beautiful day on the polar plateau

    Today was a beautiful day. The weather remained clear with a few scattered clouds and the wind diminished, first to light and variable and then to almost calm. The temperature remained around -20 C /-5F Here are the updates from the two teams:

    Written on Saturday, 07 January 2017 00:14 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!

 


Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328


Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

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