PolarExplorers Greenland Icecap Crossing
Thousands of people visit Greenland every year to witness its remarkable beauty and experience the warm and resilient culture. 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.
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.
- Equipment List
- Dates & Rates
- Trip Insurance
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, which is the official end of the expedition. From Isortoq we will transfer by boat or helicopter to Tasiilaq and/or 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
- Flights to Iceland or other destinations in Greenland are available from Kulusuk.
*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
2019 Tentative Dates
May 04 – May 29
∙ $25,500 USD
Includes all group equipment, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear, dinners and breakfasts while on the ice.
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.
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
Collectively 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
The 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
What 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
It's a wrap!
Your well wishes and crossed fingers worked! The weather cleared and our team departed from Kulusuk this afternoon, saying their final farewell's to Greenland. It was a fitting end to a trip filled with weather delays, storms, & holding patterns, but also plenty of good times and rewarding days and above all a brilliant team.
Thanks to everyone who followed this blog, and thanks to our amazing Greenland team. Heather, Dale, Ian, John, Eric, Taylor, Salo and Julius, you had us wondering how it would all end and we are delighted to have been a part of your adventure.
Until next time!
Greenland Weather Strikes Again!
The team left Tasiilaq this morning on a short helicopter flight to the airport at Kulusuk. They were scheduled to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland a couple hours later.
Photos From Yesterday
We received these photos late last night. Looks like a GREAT end to the expedition! Check back again today for more...
A huge CONGRATULATIONS is in order for our team who reached their final waypoint at approximately 11:30 AM Greenland time and successfully finished their crossing of the Greenland icecap, woohoo!!!!
The Day Described With Four W's
The team could describe today using four words that start with W: wind, whiteout, warm and wet.
Chicken Strips and French Fries!
What does it say when the blog title is about food? Well, for starters food is in the top three things people think about while skiing all day every day...
Better Than Yesterday, But Still Hard
It was another tough day on the Greenland icecap. It was made that way mostly by the fresh, deep snow. The visibility was terrible again but towards the afternoon they got some breaks with a little sunshine. Oh what a sight!
Skiing in a Whiteout
Tough day today. The visibility was nil, there was absolutely no contrast, there was wind in the face, and snow. A whole lot of nothing to look at but the backs of team mates and the butts of dogs.
Getting It Done
This team is getting it done, one day at a time. Today another 37 km are behind them. They are tired but satisfied and the end of the expedition is not too far beyond the horizon.
Making Progress - Another 37 km
The team made great progress today, putting 37 km behind them. The weather was a little of everything. Cloudy, snowy, a little sun, always the wind.
On The Move Again
A day after being tent bound by strong winds the team was back at it. They made 32 kilometers in a slightly modified way of travel.
Another Day, Another Storm
We thought this might happen, but it's not all bad. Another storm day. Strong winds, cold temperatures and low visibility all combine to keep out teams in their tents today.
Shortened Day Due To Wind
It was a beautiful day today, but it was also a cold day and the wind just kept coming and coming (almost a direct headwind). It all started out OK with clear skies but as the wind picked up the ground visibility went down, and with temperatures hovering around 0° F the windchill was REALLY cold.
Cold and Windy But Good
Welcome to another day on the Greenland icecap, where today the wind and the cold were on the minds of our team. They did a great job, putting almost 30km behind them.
Another 30 km Day
Actually it was 30.2 km - a seemingly small difference, but not if you are the person who did all the skiing! They'll take every tenth of a kilometer that they can get!