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Greenland

Traverse of Greenland – 600 km in 13 days

Greenland
Greenland
Greenland
Greenland
Greenland
Greenland
Greenland
Greenland
Greenland

Traverse of Greenland – 600 km in 13 days

Greenland has been somewhere there for all that time. I knew, I felt I would be back there. I wanted to go exactly the same route like before with Wojtek. To make the traverse of Greenland, however, much more quickly this time.

Over one hundred years ago Fridtjof Nansen needed three months to cross the island. The Inuit with their sled dog teams can pass this route within 30-40 days. Our adventure with Wojtek took us 35 days. I knew that I could improve my result from seven years ago only with the modern equipment. A special kite – this could be the key to success.

The technique seems easy at the first sight. It’s enough to buckle yourself to the right size of the kite and, using the wind, let yourself be pulled on skis. Good conditions permitting, you can cover with such a kite an unbelievably large distance during one day - 80, 100 or even 150 kilometers.

The problem is that Greenland is not a flat table – during the “flight” on your kite you must omit crevasses, ice drifts, snowdrifts and snow pits. It’s not so easy when you are gliding at over a dozen kilometers per hour.

I have learnt about the fact that wind combined with a kite can be a deadly danger during my trial of crossing Antarctica in 1996. It was just the accident on the kite that interrupted that expedition. A moment of inattention is enough for the wind to pull you, batter you, throw you up in the air or drag you on the ice. And the wind on Greenland can be as fast as 200 km/h. Nevertheless, I had to take the risk.

Wojtek Ostrowski, an oceanographer, an experienced film operator from Video Studio Gdansk became my companion on this expedition. We set out on 24th April from Ammassalik, an Inuit village on the eastern corner of the island and we headed to the west to Sondre Stromfjord. We wanted to cover the planned route in the possible shortest time. Our speed was to a large extent determined by the wind, its force and direction – that means by the fact whether we would be able to use the kite. Just in case we were pulling with us food supplies for 30 days – we assumed that it was the possible longest time in which the route could be walked even without using the kite. The destiny turned out to be gracious. In spite of variable conditions and compulsory stoppages, we have covered this over 600 kilometer route within 13 days, 2 hours and 15 minutes.