The Air Greenland flight from Copenhagen laves at 09:00 and lands in Kangerlussuaq on the Greenland West coast 09:40 – the time zone 4 hours after Scandinavian time.
We use the day for buying the last bits, packing and preparing before having a last big meal in a restaurant.
We finish packing and change into the expedition clothing that will stay on for the next 3 weeks. Then we put the clean “civilian” clothes in the mail to be sent to the other side and take lunch. Right after lunch we drive to the Height 660 (Høyde 660) at the foot of the icecap. Depending on the time of the day, we either camp for the night and arrange the sledges etc, or we do the first kilometres to get the feel for the challenge.
Day 3-4 (approx)
For the first days we need to keep an open mind. The state of the Icefall depends totally on the amount of snow during the winter and the weather. This area can be almost desert-like and years with very little snowfall will result in a wild and exposed ice field. That means crampons, lots of up and down and a pretty tough struggle to reach the snow and getting on the skis. With lots of snow, we can put on skis right away and do good distances from the first day. Whatever happens, this part is the very beautiful and you will (if you are in shape) enjoy it tremendously.
As we break out of the lower (and wildest) part of the icefall, the landscape transforms into big rolling hills that rapidly gain altitude. After another day or two we are out of the icefall and break off easterly as we aim for DYE II. The terrain continues to rise, but slowly the landscape flattens out and we can enjoy the Plateau. It is still hard work and our bodies are starting to feel the workload.
Day 10 (or 11?)
If the weather is good, DYE II will show at the horizon some 25-27km away. That makes navigation very much easier. As we get there we camp and enjoy a very well deserved rest day. Apart from having a look at the monstrous relic from the cold war, we go over the equipment, sleep, eat and drink.
As we leave DYE II we move into the flattest par of the journey. These plains here are beautiful, and we do great distances as our bodies respond to the break. But we do still gain altitude as we are still some 5-600 metres from the highest point. That is called the ‘Summit’ and is a long and rounded ridge going in south-north direction up Greenland. As we get near, the wind and the weather may be a bit undecided before we finally start feeling that the wind hits us from behind! Then we know we are on the home stretch.
The first day we may only descend 50 metres. But soon we go down more and as the wind pushes from behind the distances increase. These days are a strange feeling of wanting to get to the end and not wanting this wonderful experience to end.
We stare at the horizon and we all agree the first to spot land will get a price as we feel every bit like Columbus (or maybe more like Nansen). To our surprise (or maybe you should not read his) the first peak pops up on our right! But as we break into the icefall, more nunataks come into view in front of us. As we zigzag down we first see mountains, then the ocean, then the icebergs littering the sea before we see real land!
Pushing hard we hit the first moraine as we stretch the day – and some hours later we are down by the fjord.
Depending on what time of the day we get down (if it is very late we camp) we follow the sea-ice out the fjord. As the ice ends, we wait for an Inuit to come and get us by boat and soon we are in the tiny (but very authentic) hunting and fishing village of Isortoq. Here we stay in the ‘Service House’ and visit the store. Food is then the only thing on the agenda – apart from going around and taking photos.
The next day we fly by helicopter to Tasiilaq.
Next. Tasiilaq is a very picturesque town and the ‘capital’ of the east coast. Her we (hopefully) get out clean clothes from the mail, shower and enjoy big lunches, bigger dinners and huge evenings…
The next day (we recommend a stay over just in case…) we fly out early in a helicopter to Kulusuk and the airport there. From there most of us will fly over to Iceland and home after a night in Reykjavik, while other option is to fly back over the ice to Kangerlussuaq and home via Copenhagen (all letting the adventure sink in and – pondering where to go next?).