Almost exactly one year ago we entered the Greenland ice sheet. Crossing Greenland was a dream that came true for us. A year later, we decided to risk another adventure. We arranged a team and will participate the Patagonian Expedition Race 2016.
Coming soon … The Race At The End Of The World!
More pics online!
Have a look at the second part of our pictures!
First pictures are ready!!! Please use the link.
Hi folks, we are still here! We hope you too.
You will see images of the expedition here next week. Please be patient for some days. Also after the expedition there are some important things to do.
Exactly one week ago we are back to Stuttgart. We wore our thermo shoes and the pants that we used during the expedition. We were warmly welcomed with champagne and a great banner. Thank you!
Since yesterday morning we are back at home. Despite the nights in the tent the most uncomfortable night was at the airport in Copenhagen. Waiting for the connecting flight in the early morning we had to spend a night there.
We like to say THANK YOU to the two most important people of this expedition. They had to listen on for almost a year and find out that the organization and the training takes a long time. Nevertheless both supported us in our efforts. They made sure that the latest news during the expedition will be updated every day and even late in the evening or at night – our girls.
THANK YOU NATY AND JENNY – WE ARE HAPPY THAT YOU ARE PART OF OUR LIFE!
A three course meal
Yesterday evening we treated ourselves with a three course meal. As appetizer we ate a hot dog, the main course consisted of a burger with French fries and a pizza was the dessert. Of course one liter of coke accompanied the whole meal. That was absolutely fantastic!!!
Today according to the rules we reported back at the police, if not, the police will start searching for us after a certain time. The insurance has to be cancelled, too. This will be accomplished by manager Mühli.
Besides there is a lot to be done. We have sent our equipment with Air Cargo. The gun, which luckily has not been used, went back to Robert Peroni in Tassilaq and the sledges together with the skis were sent to Stuttart Airport. Only this sending by air cost us € 360,–.
As we have to pay € 15 per hour WLAN and the office had aleady closed you will have to be patient with receiving photos. When being at home again we will send white-out photos. The expedition enthusiasts will be delivered with further data of the expedition.
Tomorrow at 13.10 local time we will finally fly home……..
We made it…
We cannot realize it yet, but we have managed to cross the ice desert in 28 days. We reached „Point 660“ yesterday evening, there we spent our last night on the ice.
This morning we had to discover that it is not really easy to find somebody being able to pick us up. The tourist office could not be reached and in the end we were connected with the „World of Greenland“. They ordered someone to take us back into civilization if this can be said of Kangerlussuaq. There we checked in in a real hotel and now we are going to a real shop – shopping!!! Tomorrow we will have to see to our luggage being shipped back to Germany by boat. We are more than happy and want at this point especially thank our sponsors. Without them we would not have been able to transfer this crazy idea into reality.
Therefore are special thanks go to Hanna and Dennis of the Company Campz, Philip, Elena and Mr. Fitterling of Company Hahn Gasfedern, Philip of Goal Zero, Bernhard of Helsport, Jacek of Company Kumulus, Mimi of Mimimovies, Tuts of http://www.phothopie.com, our doctor, Dr. Jan Schiller, our safety manager Mühli and last but not least a special thank you to the Company Wenger.
We might refer to you again!! 🙂
Photos will follow tomorrow…
Deep fissures and crevasses…
Towards the end of our expedition nature demands our last energy. The icecap is more and more retreating and the area around here is really steep and uneven. We see parts with enormous hills of snow in front of us . We are zigzagging without skis towards Kangerlussuaq. The sledges are swaying and one big gap in the rocks follows the other. At the moment we are having a break. There are 8km left to our destination. It is our wish to complete these km today as the weather conditions are so perfect that we are able to see all the uneven patches.
Our final point is the so-called „Point 660“ from where on a big rocky field is opening. There we will spend another night and try to get in contact with the tourist office. From time to time there are trucks carrying tourists who especially come to see this natural scenery. The tourists can get off there to look at the inland ice cap. We try to catch a ride with such a truck which would take us the last km to the „town“. This action would save us and our sledges from crossing this big rocky area.
We are very happy to have almost finished our excursion and mobilise our last energy. The “ Greenie“ office at home has already booked our return flight for Thursday.
With long strides towards to end
Today we have reached the zone of crevasses, i.e. we are heading slowly but surely towards the coastline. The ground is getting rougher and bumpier and fissures in the ice can be recognised everywhere. The horizon is not only white anymore but since 7 p.m. today there can be seen a clear difference between land and sky. We can tell you this is extremely pleasant. 37 km were completed by us today – additional 40 km and we have reached our destination!!!!
The return flight has still not been booked as the prices have risen every day recently. We will have to come to a definite decision and might fly back on Thursday or Friday.
Sun cream as ski wax
Yesterday´s Mac Gyver action functioned well. Thilo´s foot in the ski binding is not as elastic as before due to all the tape and the wire net but the construction is keeping. This is the most important part. We are on track again and hiked 33 km. While we were fiddling about we made a new invention.
The snow as it was in the beginning stuck to our ski skins again. This is very annoying and prevents us from making more progress. So we used our sun cream and rubbed it generously onto our ski skins. And what did we notice – it works perfectly. At the beginning of our tour we did not dare to use our sun cream as we were not sure how much we will need. Nobody ever thought about having almost no sunshine at all. Nevertheless a good UV protection is important even without direct sunshine. The snow is reflecting the sun beams immensely.
Our dinner is not elaborate today. We have calculated carrying along food for 30 days. One day Tom could not avoid spilling petrol over two food bags and therefore we share one portion today.
What a blasted nuisance !!!
Today we had the worst day of all. On the one hand we think it is about time to have better weather. This daily white out does not contribute to a good mood. On the other hand, and this is really worse, Thilo´s ski binding has broken. The plate connecting ski and binding has broken. Yesterday we praised our repair set highly and already today we have to test it. This morning we tried to repair it in a rough-and- ready way with wire. Thilo did his best to get ahead with this more or less working ski. But in the end we managed to cover 16 km. Now we are sitting in our tent and thinking about good ideas. We will see if we can stabilize the connecting part with a wire net. Then the binding is again fixed to the ski with screws and additionally fixed with tape. Our motto here is ´a lot helps a lot ´. We will see what the day will bring. If there is no way out we will have to sacrifice Thilo´s shoe which will then be screwed onto the ski. We don not let these things pull us down. Especially as our destination is so close, here are only 110km ahead of us.
From here we want to send special thanks to the company Wenger who have put their `Mike-Horn-Multitool‘ to our disposal. This device has really served us in the best way.
This evening we will have to think about the date of our return flight. There are not many seats available from Kangerlussaq to Kopenhagen and the prize rises from day to day. We will see…
Repair set in action
Today the zipper of our tent tore. But do not worry, we do not need to freeze in an open tent. We had put together a repair set beforehand which includes all kinds of things. There are for example strings, a piece of leather, needle and thread, glue and also safety pins, which now keep our tent entrance together. And we are lucky enough to have a rear exit. There can always be a coincidence, f.ex. a ski might break or its binding. To take an extra ski along was too heavy and therefore we had tried to be prepared for all kinds of situations.
We covered 33 km. The winds along the ground blew opposite to the main wind direction. Our in-between summary: super experience but we might not visit Greenland again as we got to know it now. But who knows what is next…
By and by our daily contributions are getting boring. We had again wind and bad visibility. The horizon could more or less be guessed but the rough and bumpy ground was difficult to recognise. We made a progress of 26 km. Our Hahn box in open position was really helpful to save us from the strong wind while being on the toilet.
Along we go…
First of all happy birthday greetings to Tom´s brother and all the best for him !!!
In the morning the storm stopped and the weather was a real dream for Greenland conditions. We really came closer to our destination. But the beautiful weather did not last very long. Nevertheless we completed 32 km. There are still 187 km to Kangerlussaq.
We have not booked our flights back so far. It will be handled from home when there are precise data of our arrival in Kanderlussaq. Kanderlussaq has really an airport and from there we will fly home via Kopenhagen.
A compulsory break
So much to the topic of „creeping deadly tired into our sleeping bags“. Last night we could not sleep much. Yesterday evening the wind increased and finally we decided to build a snow wall. The wind became stronger and stronger during the night. Therefore we had to repair our wall from time to time. Even in the morning the wind did not do us a favour. We looked like tubby snow balls being only outside for 10 seconds. In the end we had to break up and spend the complete day in our tent. Fortunately both of us carry a smartphone along which we can charge with our solar device. The whole day passed with eating and playing really demanding apps. A toast to technology!!
To be on the safe side we called the air weather service which reported better weather and a decreasing storm. Tomorrow we will start refreshed in the western direction.
White out again
The wind weakened today but all day long there was the white out again. Yes – we cannot be satisfied!! We hiked all day without any orientation, only followed our GPS. Nevertheless we have covered 26 km. By now we are looking forward to getting home again and the torture will find an end. Luckily the two of us have always got along very well so far. Hiking along all day and being lost in our thoughts there is no reason for quarreling. In the evening we have quite a lot to do in our tent and after the dinner we slip deadly tired in our sleeping bag.
Today we want to thank Campz who sponsored part of our equipment. We are more than satisfied.
The wind, the wind, the heavenly child
It was quite stormy today – last night the wind already announced its presence and during the day it became stronger and louder. We felt as if millions and millions of snow crystals flying towards us. A so-called permanent peeling, but we are not convinced of any use to us. After seven stages, each one a one hour hike and a five minute break, we gave up. We built up a snow wall due to safety instructions around our tent to protect it. We could notice the wind piling up snow behind the snow wall. Therefore really well-done!!
Now we are sitting in our tent having our daily expedition meal and are thinking about eating a schnitzel.
It’s finally working. We finished the day with 26km. In the meantime we are a perfect team and got used to our daily procedure. The same procedure every day can also be easily boring. Well, we should not be with our thoughts somewhere else while walking as we have to pay attention on the track. At the end, the direction has to be correct.
Today we have reached the highest point of our expedition. With great pleasure we have had our lunch break at the saddle point i.e. on a height of 2500m. From now on we will hike more or less downhill. We again completed 23km in seven one hour stages. If the weather stays fine we will be in Kangerlussuaq by the end of May. All together we have hiked 240km so far and our beards are growing longer and longer.
You might have wondered how we handle the toilette business. This is rather an unpleasant part. It is as described: first we use our little shovel and dig a whole then we turn our backside to the cold wind.
Little birdie keep on flying
Our highlight today – we saw a little bird in front of our tent. No idea what that one is looking for in the middle of the ice cap. Maybe it got lost somehow. There is not much to report for today. We managed to hike 23km. But the wind was so extremely cold that our breath froze inside our insulating face shields. In the evening we were able to break off the icicles easily. We hope to have reached our highest point tomorrow and from there on our track will slightly descend.
Many thanks for all your text messages we are receiving via satellite telephone.
We cracked our record
Today we walked more than 20 kilometers and we still have to walk uphill. The weather was good, the storm weakened last night and it was almost calm this morning.
During the day we passed snow walls which are part of the abandoned camp of the group of people we saw the day before on the horizon. We used their track to walk on and were able to make good progress. Unfortunately we had to leave their track after about 15 minutes as we walk a different route.
The ground today was hard but extremely rutted terrain. The pulka slid back and forth and partially fell. Due to these movements the tension cable came loose and thus it was a jerky movement with each step which was quite a torture for our back.
A friendly southern wind
We had wonderful weather today – it is immediately obvious when the wind is blowing from the south. The friendly southern wind is not as icy. Unfortunately, we were not able to complete an eight hour hike as we have planned because a strong wind arose at about 5:30pm. But we nevertheless managed to hike 18,5km.
You might have already thought about us not finishing the whole tour on time. Don’t be afraid, we have have enough nutrition for about 30 days and are in a good time schedule. Today fuel ran over two food packages, we will have to dispose them. Experiments with poisonous heptan should not be tried out while being on an expedition.
In about two days we are going to reach the highest point of 2500m. As the ice cap alters constantly the ’saddle point‘ changes as well. Therefore our information is without guarantee. From there on we will slide slowly downhill and be able to increase our daily amount of kilometers.
This afternoon we have discovered an expedition group of nine persons, certainly an organized and guided tour. Such an expedition would naturally not be the right one for us…
Today, we walked 20 kilometers in 8 hours and we are still walking uphill. Every morning when we go out of our tent, the north wind is blowing. For us it is friend and enemy at the same time. We call it enemy, because the wind turns the ice by snow drifts in a lunar landscape, known as Sastrugi. It is our friend when pushing the the clouds away with the result that the sun melts the Sastrugi and we can march more easily. The terrain is not too difficult anymore as we don’t have to fight with wind slaps. Every day we use our transport box of Hahn, whose gas compression springs are working properly despite the cold temperatures.
Craving for food
It is getting colder finally. Last night the thermometer read -20 degrees. The snow became therefore much harder and hiking is not as strenuous as before. The sun peeked out, too, and we took the opportunity to charge our batteries with the solar charging device of goal zero. It worked perfectly. An icy wind started punctually at 9 o´clock in the evening. I, Thilo, being terribly grumpy in the mornings, have real difficulties to get out of my sleeping bag.
Most of the time we have zero degree , but the icy wind let the temperature appear much colder. It takes us then two or three hours till our last toe has thawed.
We are finally longing for a decent meal – for a change a steak would be a highlight!
Last night we were surprised by an icy wind. We usually put up our tent Helsport Patagonia with the narrow side facing the wind, just to give it as little withstanding as possible. But the wind turned last night and hit the broadside. Inside the tent it was extremely noisy but the tent withstood the wind without any problems. As it was very difficult to find sleep we got up very early and stowed away our tent in midst the storm.
We hiked all day in stormy weather, at least the sky was without clouds. The storm obliterated the snow and so called Sastrugi, grooves in the snow, were formed. These grooves are very hard and it was extremely difficult to head on. But we managed to hike anyway 14 km and are now at a height of 2.200 m.
The weather is just not recognising what cool guys we really are and is carrying on opposing us.
We again had repeated snowfall during the night and a first glance out of our tent gave us something to think about. Actually it would not be funny if we had similar conditions during the following two weeks. But we are so far in good mood. We calculated generously our gas supply and the tasteful expedition food must then be diluted. We already abbreviated our route. Therefore we are not going to pass Camp Raven which is stationed near the former US radar station, but use the direct way towards west. The final destination will be the same.
We made 10.5 km in 7 hours. With every step our skis sank completely into the snow and thus we transported the snow along. Nature tried to do its best for us by sending tail winds. Today we completed our first 110 km. This is quite good considering the circumstances. You might have already wondered about our personal hygiene. As long as we are living in a tent we give ourselves a lick and a promise. A moisturizing cloth must do, with fine weather snow will help too. We are curious to see how our seat neighbours in the plane will react.
So far we were not bored in our tent. We are busy with marking our map and cooking a fine meal. Due to the efforts during the day we drop deadly tired into our sleeping bags. We are rather bored while hiking.
Due to the conditions we change our route
Another day with difficult snow conditions was awaiting us. The entire time during today’s march we had to fight with Whiteout. If we would have separated for 50 meters we would not have been able to find us again.
During „night“ – in fact it is not getting dark – we had 25cm of new snow. For skiing it would be great, for us it was obstructive. The Pulka sank into the snow and a progress was only possibly with huge physical effort. Today we walked for 12 kilometers and reached a height of 1.800 meters.
In the all-day lasting snowstorm we built up our tent and after some discussions we decided to change our route. The radar station will no longer be our next target, from now onwards we choose a route which is further north. Thus the route is shortened by 2 days. We hope for better conditions.
We celebrated us passing the 66th degree of latitude which gave our adventure tour its name with a cappucino.
Besides we agreed on having a long lunchbreak and on hiking in the morning and in the afternoon. The sledges sank partly 20 cm deep into the snow because of the sun. It is then almost impossible to move on. Under these conditions we have only made 5 km within 3 hours. During the night it is really getting colder, the temperature drops to around -20 degrees and strong winds arise. Our tent withstands the wind in a fantastic way.
Those who might follow our tracking blog have certainly noticed that at a special GPS measuring point only 6oo hm were indicated. This must be a technical mistake – we move constantly upwards.
It is too warm …..
to get ahead. After 5 kilometers and 3 hours of walking, we decided that it is enough for the time being today. Due to the weather conditions we had poor visibility in the morning. After the clouds had cleared it was quite warm (about +15-20 ° C). Due to the wind it doesn’t seem to be that warm but the snow is melting anyway.
Overnight it snowed and we had 25cm of fresh snow in the morning which melted with the high temperature and got stuck to our ski and pulka. It was a high physical effort and we made slow progress. Therefore we decided to make a long lunch break. Once it will be colder tonight and the snow will be frozen we may go on for a few hours. Until then, we rest and enjoy the shadow of the tent.
Like every morning when peeping out of our tent we were pleased to greet the fog again!!!
This day began as everyone before at 6 o´clock and we started around 8 o´clock for a six hour hike – the order of today ! The area is becoming gentler and the sledges easier to pull (we are hardworking on weight reduction!) There is an extremely pleasant temperature at the moment , around freezing point. At night the temperature drops to minus 10 degrees. We wish it was colder for the sledges not sticking to the snow like chewing gum.
The following 150 hm will rise slowly. We desire a little more sunshine for tomorrow.
Whiteout and frozen snow on ski skins
During the ascent this morning the weather was good. Gradually clouds came up and the visibility deteriorated to the so-called Whiteout. We moved 3 hours without seeing anything. Due to the diffuse light no shadows have been seen and the white clouds merged with the snow. We were not able to see any irregularities of the surface and also not the horizon. We felt like we were in a big white room. Because of the poor visibility we moved very slowly.
After about 3 hours the weather was better, the clouds dispersed and we could easily orientate. But then we had to deal with another difficulty. The skins on our ski began to freeze. In the beginning the snow was wet and heavy and the skins of our ski became saturated with water. When the temperature changed and the snow was colder it froze to the ski skins and made it difficult to move forward. We need to ensure that the ski skins are dry until tomorrow.
Today we walked for 6 hours and managed a route of 14 kilometers. Our tactic : go 30 minutes , 12 minute break
Now we sit in our tent and prepare ourselves for the dinner. The last days we had a sound sleep due to the physical effort and the incredible silence.
Paws of polar bears…
Unbelievable how tasteful an instant Cappuccino can be in our tent in the evening… Our Motto today was ‚climbing higher‘ again. Our way didn’t vary as much as the days before but we got an impression of the so called ‚White out‘: only white, fog, snow, right and left, everywhere around us. We didn’t have to climb as steep as before and have reached the 1300m above sea level. We changed being the front man from time to time and the one behind was responsible for keeping the right direction. After a while we were able to find the orientation due to the little wind flags on our ski sticks.
The climax today were polar bear traces in the snow, luckily not in our hiking direction. Shortly before we talked about the necessity of taking along the additional weight of the pump gun. The question was answered immediately. Having a weapon gives us a save feeling if you can’t recognize anything in your surrounding because of the fog.
A few words about our nutrition: Our packaged food in the morning and in the evening is quite eatable. At lunch time we are enjoying a mix of frozen protein bars, chocolate, nuts and sausages. Really fine! But the focus is only having energy food.
Today the weather was great and we managed to walk 12 kilometers. We are now at over 1,000 meters above sea level and thus we almost left the Piterq zone. Nevertheless, we again decided to build a snow wall to protect our tent from upcoming storms.
Today’s march was extremely difficult because of the snow conditions. Due to the frequent winds, the snow was removed in some places and grooves and ridges have been formed there. This incidence is called Sastrugi. The movement on these grooves and ridges was extremely tedious due to the uneven and extremely hard ground. We hope to leave the area of Sastrugi soon.
Our tent is put up now and we are looking forward to our dinner. Hopefully we can sleep better tonight and can recover our strength for the coming day.
Finally the big day has arrived…
Today we had the chance to take a bird’s eye view of what we could be expecting in the following weeks. Ice, ice and ice. The helicopter brought us to Tasiilaq, our fist stop in Greenland. Our skies and the sledges arrived here in good condition. The parcels we sent to Greenland earlier didn’t arrive there in the best condition. You get a quite weird feeling in your stomach the moment you stand in front of five ripped open and damaged parcels knowing they contain the equipment representing our necessities of life for the coming weeks. But luckily everything was ok. Only the customs department didn’t agree to our chocolate supplies. We were made to pay 20 Euros customs duty. Robert Peroni from RedHouse picked us up from the heliport today. Our equipment may now sleep in a little house for the next days while we get a shelter in the main house.
The adventure begins Today we go by train to Frankfurt and there our flight will leave in the afternoon and bring us to Reykjavik. Yesterday we packed our equipment and made the final arrangements.
The plan – Part 3 There are two more important milestones after passing 1000 meters above sea line. First the highest point of the trip, called saddle at 2500 meters above sea line, secondly the DYEII. DYE II is a radar station from the Cold War era. In between, only wind, ice, snow and freezing temperatures in part. We will reach the saddle after one third of the way. The DYE II will be reached about 200 km towards the West Coast.
The plan – Part 2 After preparing the equipment and acclimatizing ourselves, we will do a helicopter flight to Isortoq. This is where the adventure begins on May 1st. We have to overcome the first 1000 meters above sea line during stable weather conditions for 3 days minimum because there is a Piteraq-zone. Piteraqs are extremely destructive winds that rage towards the sea. This will be the most critical part of the expedition.
The plan!!! Of course, there is one. 😉 – Part 1 We will arrive at the eastcoast in Tasiilaq/Greenland on April 26th and get our parcels from Robert Peroni in the Red House. We make use of the following days by checking the equipment, packing up the sledges and preparing the tent. We are able to set up the tent very fast by taping the poles before starting the trip.
Tracking us is very easy. Here you will be connected to a special tracking site and you will see on a map where we find ourselves on the trip. User name: 66 Grad Nord Password: tracking
We will keep in touch via satellite phone. It´s possible to follow us every day on our website. In addition we have set up a tracking site where you can see the daily progress.
The countdown is on… 10 days and we will start our journey in Frankfurt, flying via Reykjavik to Kulusuk and Tasiilaq Greenland. There are very good news from Greenland. The equipment has arrived. We are ready – ready to go!!! __________________________________________________________________________
Status of our packages: The item is transported to the destination country. Next step: The shipment arrives at destination country.
Still about 3 weeks until the start of the expedition. If the conditions are right and all packets have arrived on time in Greenland, we go on 01.05.2014. Approx. 550 km from east to west through the largest island in the world. Here you can follow us every day.
The world’s leading provider of mobile solar energy solutions GOAL ZERO provides us with a comprehensive offering available. This includes the solar module Nomad 20, the power pack Sherpa 50 and the power pack Guide 10 Plus. These devices are absolutely necessary about recharging the batteries for the satellite phone, cameras and action cam. Take a look!
Equipment is completed! We are very happy to be supported by CUMULUS. We got two down expedition sleeping bags. Excuistic 1400 will protect us in case of extreme cold even below – 40 degrees celsius. For detailed information please follow the link above. Thank you very much for supporting the Greenland 2014 expedition!
Parcels are ready. We hope for a fast and save DHL transport to our origin in Greenland.
We have been to Bernina Range in order to test the equipment and also to become experienced with the procedures in the tent. Each part of the stuff should have its place in our expedition home. We also tried to set up the tent as fast as possible – again and again. That is very important in case of heavy winds. Pulling the sledges is hard work if the terrain ascends steeply. But there is an effecient method to get them up. We take one sledge two by two behind one another. Together we are able to pull it step by step high up like a cargo train with two engines. We also took some nice pictures. Please have a look here.
We are counting calories! Nooo, we don’t want to save them. Either of us needs about 4.500 kcal every day. There is special expedition food, chocolate, nuts and some other goodies in supply.
Thank you Helsport for supporting us with the X-Trem series expedition tent Patagonia. http://www.helsport.no/ge/products/ZELTE/XTREM/Patagonia