Crossing Greenland - The First Two Weeks on the Ice

Dr Gareth Andrews and his team have been on their epic journey of crossing Greenland unsupported for two weeks so far. Here we take a day by day look at their adventure so far from messages received from Gareth from sub-zero conditions.

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Day 1: Top of Hahn glacier, beautiful helicopter flight over fjord and icebergs. Position 5km from heli drop off. Hard pulling for 5km, knee deep snow, pulka 85kg it's like pulling sled through ploughed field. Thankful for training feel in good shape. Team all positive and fit. So beautiful here, clear skies -5.

Day 2: Wonderful views across mountains to pack ice this morning. Heavy hauling, uphill, deep snow, only traveled 6km today, hard won metres.
Still not on the ice cap, still on glacier so uphill hauling for another day or two. Snow gathering in lee of coastal mountains so hope better conditions higher up. Feeling great despite snow conditions. Missing all at home. Remember to donate to puffin magic foundation. Tea now then bed.

Day 3: What a great day Clear skies and warm temperatures. Strong north easterly wind though and still hard hauling through soft snow Surprisingly terrain undulating like rolling hills in South Wales just white with less sheep. We're leaving coastal mountains behind 11km today, more tomorrow. 

Day 4: Another great day. Cold temps overnight made for hard snow and good skiing 17km. Can still just see pack ice and coastal mountains. When we leave coast behind then will be very little to see, terrain hard wind blown ridges of snow, hard hauling. When we get into camp we build a wall around tents to protect against Piteraq wind. Greenlandic wind that blows at 200mph and flattens everything, rare but dangerous and comes without warning. No bears yet.

Day 5: Had to stop tracking to conserve battery, GPS not charging don't know why. Will just send waypoints. Good day, very soft snow so only 15km. Still hard going pulling pulkas. Light cloud warm temps. First crevasse field today, navigated around no problem. Huge crevasse fields to South. Still in bear country We're at top of coastal glacier tongue now, bears use glaciers as short cuts along coast. Rifle loaded at all times. Beautiful here, very special place.

Day 6: Burnt faces and chapped lips, sun is strong out here. Mild temps, herringbone sky, better snow. 19 km today best yet. Beautiful views across huge Crevasse fields to the south. Finally said goodbye to coastal mountains, 20 days before we see west coast and land again, like being adrift in a great white Ocean. We leave camp at 8 and ski until 5.30-6. 15 min breaks every 1.5 hours, long days. Lunch is cheese, salami, and dried fish. Team all going strong.

Day 7: Bitterly cold northwesterly wind this morning blowing strong, faded away around midday to very warm temperatures, forecast for drop in temp tomorrow -10. Team are all doing very well, a few aches, pains and blisters but otherwise well. 19km today and 1700m altitude gained so far. 

Day 8: NEW CLOTHES DAY! New socks, pants and thermals, it's like I'm a new man. Spirits are high now everyone's a little fresher! 20km today and 1850m. Scattered cloud cover makes ice sheet look like a chess board, an amazing sight. With not much to look at and long days the mental challenge starts now, Lots of hours in your own head. Everyone's very well and going strong!

Day 9: A tough day, 23km made and 1975m altitude. Complete white out, blizzard with strong wind from southeast. Blown snow and wind visibility 20m, still managed a good distance. Temperature's dropped too -20 overnight and -15 during day. Not too bad but enough to freeze everything. All the stuff you don't want to freeze has to go in your sleeping bag overnight, batteries, cameras, clothes, toothpaste etc. Very full and uncomfortable!

Day 10: Very strong and bitterly cold head wind all day. Woke to half buried tent after snow storm in night, thought tent might get blown away at one point. Slow day due to deep snow, still made 20km and passed 2000m. Team all doing well.

Day 11: Very cold northwesterly wind -25, all have wind burn on right side of our faces. Today first day sun won't go below horizon. Team all well.

Day 12: 23km and 2300m, a great day. The same cold northwesterly wind but clear skies and good snow. We should reach the highest point of the ice sheet In 2 days then we'll start to lose altitude again as we head for West Coast. All well, great team spirit. Off to fix my bindings before tea and bed.

Day 13: -38 this morning had to chip the ice off the zip to get out of my sleeping bag. Hard day in the cold, poor snow so tough hauling. Everyday has been a huge physical effort dragging the pulkas. We'll get to highest point in ice sheet tomorrow, big milestone so everyone excited.

Day 15: Made highest point on ice sheet team all very happy still v cold -40 overnight.

 day14.JPG

Dr Gareth Andrews and his team have been on their epic journey of crossing Greenland unsupported for two weeks so far. Here we take a day by day look at their adventure so far from messages received from Gareth from sub-zero conditions.

ge5.jpg

Day 1: Top of Hahn glacier, beautiful helicopter flight over fjord and icebergs. Position 5km from heli drop off. Hard pulling for 5km, knee deep snow, pulka 85kg it's like pulling sled through ploughed field. Thankful for training feel in good shape. Team all positive and fit. So beautiful here, clear skies -5.

Day 2: Wonderful views across mountains to pack ice this morning. Heavy hauling, uphill, deep snow, only traveled 6km today, hard won metres.
Still not on the ice cap, still on glacier so uphill hauling for another day or two. Snow gathering in lee of coastal mountains so hope better conditions higher up. Feeling great despite snow conditions. Missing all at home. Remember to donate to puffin magic foundation. Tea now then bed.

Day 3: What a great day Clear skies and warm temperatures. Strong north easterly wind though and still hard hauling through soft snow Surprisingly terrain undulating like rolling hills in South Wales just white with less sheep. We're leaving coastal mountains behind 11km today, more tomorrow. 

Day 4: Another great day. Cold temps overnight made for hard snow and good skiing 17km. Can still just see pack ice and coastal mountains. When we leave coast behind then will be very little to see, terrain hard wind blown ridges of snow, hard hauling. When we get into camp we build a wall around tents to protect against Piteraq wind. Greenlandic wind that blows at 200mph and flattens everything, rare but dangerous and comes without warning. No bears yet.

Day 5: Had to stop tracking to conserve battery, GPS not charging don't know why. Will just send waypoints. Good day, very soft snow so only 15km. Still hard going pulling pulkas. Light cloud warm temps. First crevasse field today, navigated around no problem. Huge crevasse fields to South. Still in bear country We're at top of coastal glacier tongue now, bears use glaciers as short cuts along coast. Rifle loaded at all times. Beautiful here, very special place.

Day 6: Burnt faces and chapped lips, sun is strong out here. Mild temps, herringbone sky, better snow. 19 km today best yet. Beautiful views across huge Crevasse fields to the south. Finally said goodbye to coastal mountains, 20 days before we see west coast and land again, like being adrift in a great white Ocean. We leave camp at 8 and ski until 5.30-6. 15 min breaks every 1.5 hours, long days. Lunch is cheese, salami, and dried fish. Team all going strong.

Day 7: Bitterly cold northwesterly wind this morning blowing strong, faded away around midday to very warm temperatures, forecast for drop in temp tomorrow -10. Team are all doing very well, a few aches, pains and blisters but otherwise well. 19km today and 1700m altitude gained so far. 

Day 8: NEW CLOTHES DAY! New socks, pants and thermals, it's like I'm a new man. Spirits are high now everyone's a little fresher! 20km today and 1850m. Scattered cloud cover makes ice sheet look like a chess board, an amazing sight. With not much to look at and long days the mental challenge starts now, Lots of hours in your own head. Everyone's very well and going strong!

Day 9: A tough day, 23km made and 1975m altitude. Complete white out, blizzard with strong wind from southeast. Blown snow and wind visibility 20m, still managed a good distance. Temperature's dropped too -20 overnight and -15 during day. Not too bad but enough to freeze everything. All the stuff you don't want to freeze has to go in your sleeping bag overnight, batteries, cameras, clothes, toothpaste etc. Very full and uncomfortable!

Day 10: Very strong and bitterly cold head wind all day. Woke to half buried tent after snow storm in night, thought tent might get blown away at one point. Slow day due to deep snow, still made 20km and passed 2000m. Team all doing well.

Day 11: Very cold northwesterly wind -25, all have wind burn on right side of our faces. Today first day sun won't go below horizon. Team all well.

Day 12: 23km and 2300m, a great day. The same cold northwesterly wind but clear skies and good snow. We should reach the highest point of the ice sheet In 2 days then we'll start to lose altitude again as we head for West Coast. All well, great team spirit. Off to fix my bindings before tea and bed.

Day 13: -38 this morning had to chip the ice off the zip to get out of my sleeping bag. Hard day in the cold, poor snow so tough hauling. Everyday has been a huge physical effort dragging the pulkas. We'll get to highest point in ice sheet tomorrow, big milestone so everyone excited.

Day 15: Made highest point on ice sheet team all very happy still v cold -40 overnight.

 day14.JPG

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