Ice Cap Ski Expedition
The route will depart from sea level to ascend on foot to the frozen plateau, which we will cross at about 800 /1000 m (3280 ft) of altitude, dodging crevasse zones, brittle ice, glaciers, rivers and lakes, discovering nunataks and moraines invisible from the coast, all with a double sight: the infinite nothing inside the plateau and, towards the coastline, a complex system of fjords, mountains and sea ice floating in the ocean. After 100 km (60 mi) of journey in an atmosphere of isolation and total solitude, a helicopter will fly us back to the mainland.
As trip highlights:
- Performing in one of the few places that still appears on maps as "unexplored"
- Be immersed in a true polar expedition with skis and pulks
- Helicopter trip flying over the vastness of the ice cap
- Kayak excursion in the “Iceberg Bay” (optional)
- Greenlandic farewell dinner
- Navigate among icebergs on the fjords
- Viking & Inuit ruins
- Narsaq town visit
- Observing local wildlife
Day 1. Flight to Greenland and visit of the Brattahlid viking ruins
Flight from Keflavik (Iceland) or Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq (south Greenland). Reception at the airport and zodiac boat transfer to Qassiarsuk (former Brattahlid, capital of Viking Greenland). Walk through the village of about 50 inhabitants and guided tour of the Viking ruins of Brattahlid, learning the history of the arrival of Eric the Red from Iceland at this small settlement in 985. Of particular interest are the reconstructions of a Viking house (spacious but cold) and an inuit dwelling (small but warmer), transporting us back in time to the harsh conditions in which these people lived and it definitely shows us how the Inuit knew how to adapt better to the progressive cooling of the climate. Overnight at the Leif Eriksson Hostel.
Day 2. Narsaq town and Qaleraliq Glacier Camp
We will set off for Qaleraliq camp, navigating along Tunulliarfik fjord among numerous icebergs. We will stop at Narsaq to visit the third most populated town in South Greenland, with about 1500 inhabitants. You will have free time to visit the local market, fur shops… and go for a walk or do some shopping, before boarding again to navigate towards the Inland Ice. We will set up the camp on a sandy beach, which contrasts with a spectacular view of two glacier fronts from Qaleraliq’s glacier. Overnight at camp, enjoying the noise and spectacle of shredding seracs.
Day 3. Entering the ice
We will be situated at the edge of the ice, on one of the glacier front’s sides, where we will begin our ascending route to the plateau. In this first area we will find crevasse zones that may be breached without difficulty and “live ice” while leaving a strange nunatak on the side. Possibility of viewing the glacier siphons, enormous drains in which glacier rivers flow through forming holes that can be up to 200 m (656 ft) in depth. Finally we reach a moraine, on which we will set up the last camp before going into the icy vastness. Night in tents with beautiful views of Qaleraliq Fjord.
Days 4 to 10. Gradual ascent to the plateau
Gradual ascent to the plateau where conditions are unpredictable and dependant on the amount of snow and cold temperature it has had during the year. The entrance to the ice is mainly a flat area until we reach a nunatak we have to climb. From there, we will continue our journey north adding more altitude.
During our tour, firstly we will encounter an area of sorteable cracks, then a live ice zone, later cross the drainage area where the snow surface is flooded with glacial lakes formed of snow and water. Secondly we will continue to the snowy plateau where we start our “ski ride”. Due south we will leave behind a hidden nunatak, rock outcrop in the ice, invisible from any other part of the earth. A mysterious and magical place which we can observe but not approach due to the numerous crevasses around it.
We progress on skis inside the plateau while leaving behind the mountains of the coast. In front of us we find the immense Inlandis glacier extending over 2000 km (1242.74 mi) towards the ocean. Then we continue our progression eastwards to discover our goal, Mt. Aputaiutseq, a kind of Mt. Cervino that emerges from the ice in the distance.
We will advance up to the base of this majestic mountain, visible at a considerable distance. This stretch will be done with skis and pulks (portable sleds). The total distance traveled will be approximately 100 km (62 mi) with a daily rate of about 15 km (9.3 mi) all depending on specific conditions of the year.
Throughout the journey we will see on the one hand an iced plateau and, on the other, a panoramic view of the whole network of fiords, mountains, glaciers and ice drifting in the sea, with visibility of up to 100 km (62 mi). Nights in tent.
Days 11 and 12. Aputaiutseq mountain
Based at Mt Aputaiutseq Camp. If possible camp will be set up in rock area. Day trips around the mountain. No climbing because of its technical difficulty, but if there are experienced climbers in the team, an attempt may be proposed.
Day 13. Return by helicopter
Return by helicopter after flying around the mountain. Stunning panoramic, breathtaking its beauty, rivers of broken ice, glacier fronts, mountains, crevasses, fiords… Arrival to Qassiarsuk. Overnight at Leif Eriksson Hostel close to the statue erected to commemorate this remarkable navigator, Leif, son of Eric the Red, who in 1000 AD, and starting from this very same place, starred the first trip of European colonization to the American continent.
Day 14. Kayaking among icebergs optional excursion
Hiking to Tasiusaq farms, next to Sermilik fjord which is almost always blocked by the icebergs coming from Eqaloruutsit glacier. This is not the only sheep farm of the area and we can continue our walk to reach the idyllic Nunataaq. Then, after the picnic, it’s time for action: optional kayak excursion in the “Iceberg Bay”, a 2 hour kayaking trip for beginners among icebergs in one of the safest and nicest spots in southern Greenland (70€ , minimum 2 participants). Accommodation at the Tasiusaq hostel or hike back to Qassiarsuk and accommodation at the Leif Eriksson Hostel. Farewell dinner with typical Eskimo products like whale, seal, caribou or mattak. Overnight stay at the Leif Eriksson Hostel.
Day 15. Flight back to Iceland or Copenhagen
Boat transfer to Narsarsuaq, where we can visit the Bluie West One museum, former US militay base frozen in tiem since the second world war.
Optional Excursion: Qooroq Ice Fjord. Visit the Qooroq Fjord, one of the most active glaciers in southern Greenland, navigating to the area where iceberg density will make it impossible to carry on (86€, four participants minimum).
Flight Narsarsuaq-Keflavik (Iceland’s international airport) or Copenhagen.
Send a enquiry to check available dates in 2018 for this trip
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Active trip, physically challenging, but suitable for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, who doesn’t mind sleeping in a tent and goes hiking on a regular basis.
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Environmental sustainability. We believe in a responsible tourism with unspoilt nature of Greenland, so all our trips are planned to have the least possible impact on the environment.
Safety. All our guides are expert about Greenland and know when either it is or it is not convinient to carry out an activity. Our safety records are unmatchable.
Local population. Our Inuit Climate Change Patrol ensures the maintanance of Inuit traditions by involving local people in utilization of a sustainable tourism.
To collaborate in the deepest knowledge of the most unfamiliar places on the planet and do so without affecting ecosystems. This is the philosophy that marks the Inuit Windsled Project, the only totally ecological vehicle designed for research in Polar lands.
Based on the ancient knowledge of the Inuit peoples, the Windsled developers have managed to create a means of transportation that combines tradition with modern means through kites that harness aeolian energy.
Inuit Climate Change Patrol;
In Thule today sled dogs are still used and the inhabitants go in search of their livelihood in cloth-lined kayaks, but we are witnessing the last generation of true Inuit hunters. Most of these people are between 45 and 60 years old and the next generation aren’t continuing in these traditions… Are we witnessing the last dynasty of the Kings of Thule?
This fear is the germ of the Inuit Climate Change Patrol, current project led by Ramon Larramendi (founder of Greenland.net)