Wings over Greenland - we made it !
We are now back in France since some time and the expedition seems already far away. Still we only slowly realize that we actually made it. A dream has come true for us!
We have crossed Greenland from south to north, 2240 km over the icecap from Qaleraligd Fjord close to Narsaq all the way up to Bowdoin Fjord and Qaanaaq. During the whole trip we only walked for 60 km - all the rest was covered using the wind with our Ozone kites and one additional skisail. Thanks to the kites we were able to cover 2215 km sea level to sea level in only 29 days and 5 h. And Narsaq to Qaanaaq in 31 days. Being lucky with our choices for the access to and the exit from the icecap, we were able to do the whole trip without further assistance, except boat transport from Narsaq to the starting point. And of course except the cup of tea offered by Lou and Mark when we met them as well as a finish and a German expedition at Dye 2 - it would have been a pity miss this one.
Long distance kiting is a pleasant way to travel on snow. The incredible power of the kites made us completely forget the weight of our pulks until we had to haul them again ourselves at the end. And it made us forget how far it actually is.
We forgot the time: once beyond the arctic circle it was the wind that ruled our rythm. Only when our shadow had again nearly completed a full tour of us, did we realize that an other day had passed. We enjoyed the exotic pleasure to ski directly into the huge low sun - right north of us. Or in streams of driving snow with an orange glow in the low light. Or through a white ocean of frozen waves. Or just into white clouds of an endless nothing. Or through a dream of dry powder....
We had a good time out there kiting!
Thanks to all who made this possible for us, especially all ours partners :
- Prevol Paragliding school (www.prevol.com
- Ozone french distributor Alixa (www.alixa.fr
- Polar expedition equipment Snowsled (www.snowsled.com
- Skis Movement (www.movementskis.com
- Adventure travel agency Terres OubliÃ©es (www.terresoubliees.com
Principal motivations for the expedition:
we went to Greenland because,
- we like sports and being out there
- we like the effort and to push our limits
- the egoistic pleasure to do something special
- the dream to live intensively
we did however not have any
- ecological or educational ambition
- scientific excuse
- mission to promote alternative energies
- means, or special motivation to save planet earth
This may sound sarcastic. I should maybe emphasize that we do have great respect for these
motivations if they are the result of sound reflection and tangible long term work to raise awareness for ecological aspects and interest in related scientific problems. Less so, if its just putting that fashionable label â€œecologically correct and responsibleâ€ on an expedition project - shouldn't we better stay at home then? The question may arise.
" Je cherchais Ã me chatouiller les nerfs pour dÃ©couvrir qui j'Ã©tais. L'aventure comme but en soi."
Wings over Greenland in a nutshell:
âˆ’ Riders: Thierry Puyfoulhoux, Cornelius Strohm, Michael Charavin
Wings over Greenland is:
âˆ’ The sixth kite ski expedition to try the crossing Narsaq (Qaleragdlit Fjord) â€“ Qaanaaq, coast to coast.
âˆ’ Only the third of these six expeditions to make it .
âˆ’ The second fastest at that time.
âˆ’ The first kite ski expedition to complete this crossing in spring.
âˆ’ And the first to reach the village of Qaanaaq without assistance, using a new exit from the icecap down to Bowdoin Fjord and Inglefield Fjord, which are still frozen and safe to pass at this time of the year.
âˆ’ The expedition started the 1 of May in the afternoon at the shore of Qaleragdlit Fjord close to Narsaq.
We definitely reached the icecap at 16h local time after a few short walks back an forth between the coast and the glacier front to ferry the equipment up to the ice.
âˆ’ On May 29, we left the icecap at 11 pm and reached the coast at Bowdoin Fjord on May30, 6 pm. May 31 at midnight we finally arrived over at the village of Qaanaaq over the sea ice.
Or more precisely :
âˆ’ 29 days and 5 h coast to coast, 2215 km, 76.4 km per day in average.
âˆ’ 31 days from Narsaq to Qaanaaq, 2245 km in total, 72.4 km per day in average. The distances are calculated from camp to camp, the distance actually skied is sensibly longer.
Some more numbers :
âˆ’ One and a half years of preparation of which we spent 40 days training in Norway.
âˆ’ 375 kg of equipment, food and fuel at the start.
âˆ’ 560 m lines and 108 m2 of sails in total. Or 3 kites (Ozone Acces 6, 10 et Yakuza 12) and one Parawing
, each of us.
âˆ’ 3 days without progress, waiting for the wind and doing repairs
âˆ’ 3 repair sessions (mending lines, sewing and gluing sails).
âˆ’ 2185 km sailing, 60 km walking (getting up to and down from the icecap).
âˆ’ More than 170 hours of kiting. 60% with the Access II 10 m2, 25 % with the Yakuza 12 m2, 15% with the Beringer 8 m2; we barely used the Access II 6 m2).
âˆ’ Top speeds - pulling our seldges - beyond 50 km/h with the Beringer and even more than 55 km/h with the Acces II 10 m2.
âˆ’ 800 km of sastrugis, - that's over one third!
âˆ’ 2 other expeditions and a nice couple met at Dye 2.