The team arrived back in Reykjavik this afternoon, looking forward to their final celebration dinner. More showers ("hand sanitizer only goes so far" was overheard from one of the group), drying out clothing and gear, sleeping on a mattress, eating real food... all most appreciated and very well deserved. Huge congratulations to all team members!! We'll let them speak for themselves on their accomplishments and wish everyone safe travels home, till their next adventure! Thanks to all for following along and we look forward to seeing you on another expedition! If you think you might enjoy this expedition for yourself why not join our 2018 team? Read more here.
The team awoke to hard driving rain which started around 4 AM and did not let up all day. They broke camp around 8 AM and had an extremely challenging day descending the glacier in the driving rain. They were only able to ski for the first 200 metres, then had to switch to walking. The first 2 hours they had snow, then it changed to bare ice for the remainder of the descent. The conditions were such that their sleds were either sliding ahead of them or hitting them in the ankles. If they put the brake on the sled, it would get stuck in the ice or cause so much friction that it was nearly impossible to maneuver.
The team called in from N 64° 08.243, W 016° 27.158. They are hanging out in their tents, having just finished dinner and a poetry reading session (Robert Service always a favorite on all PolarExplorers expeditions!). They are around 10 km from the edge of the glacier. They had a fairly leisurely morning, starting on trail around 10 AM. Overnight the winds were quite strong as had been forecast but they were comfortable in the protected campsite they had chosen with their wind walls.
In the morning, the weather was beautiful with bright sun but they could see the weather moving in over the mountains. They passed some beautiful ice falls and saw some lenticular cloud patterns that were stunning (see photo below) Around mid-day the clouds moved in to fully envelope them, they had 20' visibility at times and the snow became soft and wet as they were going down some steep inclines. They alternated between skis and boots. They stayed roped together all day as they were in crevasse territory.
The team just called in from N 64° 07.548, W 016° 40.767. They woke up to a nice cool morning and had a fairly relaxed start, waking at 7 AM, then snoozing till 7:30. They had a nice ski and traveled about 19 km. At the last stop, they put on their harnesses and roped up as they were heading into crevasse territory. They will remain roped up for the remainder of the expedition.
They found a beautiful spot to camp, looking out across a glacial valley with mountains all around. They had an outdoor kitchen and dinner again tonight.
The team's current location is N 64° 14.737, W 016° 53.195. They had great weather today with minimal wind in the morning, then calm the remainder of the day. The temperature was around 20° F (by the way, yesterday's "below zero" temp was Celcius- it was around -10°C (14° F) whereas today was -6.7° C, 20° F). A lot of the day was downhill with areas large enough to sled down on their sleds (a bit of team competition arose per Eric Rutherford's audio update below...). They traveled 28 km in total. They enjoyed their dinner outside and had a fabulous evening. They reported clear skies with sunny views. They are well rested and ready for tomorrow.
The team successfully reached the Grimsfall Hut today after 10 long hours of travel! They started at 8:45 AM and arrived at 6:45 PM. They traveled 28 km in a series of 6 pushes with 15 minute breaks in between each push. Though a long day, they were on a mission to reach the hut. Everyone is obviously very pumped and excited that they reached their goal! (Click on today's blog title to see the full dispatch including audio update)
The team was picked up at their hotel in Reykjavik at 5 AM today to drive to the glacier. They traveled for about 6 hours to Jokulheimar where they ran into a river that they weren't able to cross due to high water levels. They found a protected spot to camp about 1.5-2 km from the edge of the glacier. They were glad to find a protected area as the forecast is for gale force winds tonight. (Click on today's blog title to see the full dispatch including audio update)
The expedition begins! The team met in Reykjavik and spent the day reviewing their kit, practicing making camp, discussing their daily itinerary and getting to know one another. When they phoned in, they were getting ready to head out for dinner and their official welcome festivities. They are excited to be heading out early in the morning for Jokulheimar on the western edge of Vatnajökull.
Stay tuned for updates from the trail.
Want to join our 2018 Vatnajökull Expedition? Read more about it here.