GREENLAND TRAVERSE SOUTH-NORTH 2002

R. Larramendi

R. Larramendi

The developer of the WindSled Project, Mr. Ramón Larramendi, is aware that the vehicle needs to return on trial to be accepted as a means of transportation in polar lands.

 

 

For this reason he prepares a new journey from south to north Greenland, following the route that they opened last year.

This route will become one of the busiest in the early twenty-first century by worldwide explorers and expeditionary. The project wants to demonstrate that last year’s success was the result of the technique used and not something intangible as ‘good luck’. And it does. In distance traveled by a polar expedition: 421 km (261.59 mi) in twenty four days; also in speed, 70 km (43.49 mi) a day on average, as compared to the previous 47 km (29.20 mi).

On this occasion, Ramón Larramendi augments the crew to three expeditionary: himself, Mr. Mengíbar (Carlos) and Mr. García Lema (Roberto). This increase allows the crews’ shifts to be spaced out and, therefore, improves the physical recovery of the pilots. AXN TV Channel, which is owned by Mr. García Lema, participates in sponsoring the journey.

After repairing the rails and cross sections of the WindSled at Narsarssuaq, the crew heads for Qaleraliq Glacier. This time they have introduced new enhancements: lowering the weight on the sled and incorporating a larger tent for their accommodation.

During the journey and for the first time, they progress with surface headwind (north) using the rotation of the wind at higher altitudes. In any case some days go by before having favorable wind. Ramon Larramendi encounters for the first time, crevasses at more than 2000 m (6561.57 ft) in altitude and quite far away from the sea, possible evidence of rising temperatures.

The journey, with an average temperature of 19 degrees below zero, is easier than those beforehand having advanced the first 200 km (186.41 mi). During some of the subsequent stages the expeditionary progress up to 383 km (237.98 mi) and fortunately manage to avoid an area with giant sastruguis. Although some rails are broken they are repaired “on the go”.

Once at the Thule Mountains, the expeditionary choose a different route than the previous year, down by the glacier named Tuttu Glestcher. Managing to overcome vertical cracks and ridges without ruining the sled, it ultimately cracks in a hidden crevasse and the Windsled is embedded in the ice. The only choice is to saw the sled in two pieces and continue dragging them up to the coast to reach the town of Qaanaaq.

It has taken thirty three days to cross Greenland from south to north aboard a sled moved by the wind. The results are quite significant: they have exceeded the average rate of the past year by having been able to sail at 90 degrees of wind direction while establishing shifts to take turns with the piloting.