Set out on a journey of a lifetime in Greenland’s icy vastness
If alpine hiking gets your adrenaline going — look no further than this west to east cross-country Greenland polar expedition. Dixie Dansercoer, accredited Master Polar Guide by IPGA, will take you along crevassed glaciers and across polar ice caps frosted with fresh snow. You won’t encounter much greenery on this desolate and untamed wilderness. Instead, you’ll ski and set sail with a snowkite and pulka (a type of sled) across remote, serene landscapes. Prepare for an ambitious adventure!
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Ski & Pulka West to East Greenland Polar Expedition
Your last two days in civilization will be spent in extensive preparation for 30 days of alpine trekking, skiing and sailing along the desolated stretches of Greenland. On your first day, you’ll cross a frozen river and take on your first glacier. You’ll be at the mercy of the ever-fickle weather while crossing bridges, shredding fresh powder, and scaling a fjord. Every day is an adventure in itself!
Polar Expedition from West to East of Greenland poses a thrilling combination of physical endurance and mental strength that will test your limits. Set in extreme weather conditions, you’ll encounter challenging glacier crevasses and unbelievable ski-ops through fresh snow. You’ll also summit an ice cap and snowkite over vast icefields as you harness the famous katabatic winds. At the end of your trip, you rest at a remote fishing village knowing you’ve accomplished this unsupported polar expedition. Not many trips deserve to be dubbed life-changing, but this 311-mile (500 km), one-month-long journey of epic proportions definitely takes the prize.
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Things you need to know
Why should I book with 57hours?
With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.
What you get in this adventure:
- A certified IPGA Polar Guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A month-long guided polar expedition
- Hotel or homestay accommodations at the beginning and end of your expedition
- During the expedition, meals are prepared beforehand in freeze-dried form
- All the logistical gear you need
What equipment is provided?
All of the logistical equipment and some of the personal technical equipment will be provided by your guiding service, including:
- GPS & location beacon
- Pulkas with a large storage bag
- Draw harness
- Ski poles
- Tent brush
- Snow pegs
- Full-length inflatable mattress
- Full-length foam mat
- Down sleeping bag
- Snow shovels
- Ice axe
- General parts and repair kit
- Ski mask
- Fur collar
- Cooking fire & fuel
- Eating utensils
If you have your own equipment, feel free to bring it.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 35L bag)
- Solid waterproof bag or backpack (60-70 L)
- Polarized sunglasses or goggles for glacier travel
- Sewing kit with needles, thread, buttons, safety pins
- High index sunscreen and lip balm
- Headlamp like Petzl® + spare batteries
- Four to five waterproof bags of different sizes to compartmentalize your belongings
- Toiletries (2 toilet paper rolls, biodegradable wipes, pee bottle)
- Small quick-drying towel
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- 1.5L isothermal water bottle
- Camera — optional
- Waterproof jacket like Gore-Tex®
- Face mask (neoprene works best)
- Waterproof over-trousers like Gore-Tex®
- Thick fleece jacket
- Sweatshirt or thinner micro-fleece jacket
- 2 pairs of fleece pants
- 4 long sleeve thermal t-shirts
- 2 pairs of thermal tights
- 2 pairs of thin thermal socks
- 3 pairs of warm socks
- Thermal balaclava
- Fleece balaclava
- Fleece neck scarf
- 3 pairs of thermal gloves
- 3 pairs of fleece gloves
- Thick wool mittens
- Fur-lined mittens
- Extreme Planet Polar boots + Madshus skis + climbing skins (rentals available)
- Waterproof tent booties for inside the tent
- Waterproof shoes for outside the tent
- Regular walking shoes for prior and after the expedition
- Any prescription you require
- Pain, fever: Ibuprofen
- Antibiotics: Pristinamycin (2 boxes per 1 treatment 8d), Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid
- Analgesics: Paracetamol 500mg
- Corticosteroids: Solupred 20mg
- Antidiarrheals: Smecta (prepare a dozen bags), Intetrix (treatment of amoebiasis), Imodium
- Antiemetic, gastric dressings
- Antihistamines (for bites, skin rashes…)
- Antiseptics: Betadine, Biseptine
- Ointments: Anti-inflammatory
- Powder Antimycotics (feet): Econazole, powder and ointment
- Eye Drops: Antibiotics, Anti-Irritation
- Set of adhesive bandages and some sterile gauze pads
- “Double skin” dressings for bulbs
- Elastic adhesive tape (like Elastoplast)
This list will be finalized and clarified while preparing it finely with Dixie Dansercoer.
What’s the itinerary?
Days 1 & 2:
- Arrival at Kangerlussuaq Airport via Copenhagen
- Preparation prior to your expedition
- Night spent at a hotel or homestay
- Transfer to the foot of the glacier by nordic cross country skis
- Days with 5-10 hours of walking/skiing
- Snowkite sailing using a pulka (sled)
- Crossing fjords and crevasses with sleds
- Nights spent winter camping in tents
- Arrival at Isortoq, a small fishing village with friendly locals
- Night at a hotel or homestay
- Your guide reserved these days in case you run into delays along the way
Days 32 & 33
- On your last day, you’ll take a helicopter for Tasiilaq and say farewell to your guide
What is the level of difficulty?
This program is rated difficult due to the distances covered, the isolation, the transport of baggage by pulks, and the climatic and environmental conditions. While good kite skiing skills are essential, experience of the far North, of alpine hiking, and of winter camping is also highly recommended. Each participant is responsible for applying safety rules, for his/her equipment and its upkeep, for setting up camp and preparing meals. As such, participation in the pre-preparation course with Dixie (date to be confirmed) is essential.
Also, the government of Greenland requires a very detailed file to authorize our expedition. In particular, we will have to provide for each participant an expedition/trek/sports CV, to assess his/her capacity of having a good chance to successfully accomplish this project. Participants under 65 do not require a medical certificate.
How fit do I need to be?
This month-long Greenland expedition will challenge you both physically and mentally, thus you need to have an excellent fitness level. At the start of your expedition, you’ll be pulling a sled that weighs close to 176 pounds (80 kilos) and trekking between 5-10 hours and around 20-30km per day on terrain that requires your full attention, in extreme temperatures of 32°F to -40°F (0°C to -40°C). This expedition will test you to the fullest, which only makes it more satisfying to complete!
What is the minimum age requirement?
The minimum age requirement for this expedition is 16 years old. If your party has teens younger than 16, contact us prior to booking.
What about group sizes and pricing?
- Rates for Polar Expeditions on Greenland are $15100 per person
- Group sizes are usually between 3-6 people per guide
What about bad weather?
An important skill needed for enjoying polar regions is flexibility. This applies to dealing with weather and ice conditions, as well. Preparation is key. Your guide will make sure you’re properly equipped prior to the expedition. Rest assured you’re in good hands. Your guide has extensive knowledge of the area and climate. They’ll know just what to do if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Do I need an insurance policy?
It’s highly recommended that you cover all your bases with travel and medical insurance. Serious accidents can happen in polar terrain. We recommend insurance to avoid paying out of pocket for costly medical expenses. And as we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to have cancellation insurance that also covers lost baggage as well. Travel insurance is tried and tested, and it works.
For this expedition, the government of Greenland requires provision of individual and collective health/repatriation insurance that exceeds the guarantees offered by standard insurance contracts. In 2018, the coverage proposed was €38,000 per participant and €135,000 for the group. We can offer you this insurance at an optimum rate as few organizations supply it and we know who they are. Count around €800.
Equally, the government requires a group warranty for the expedition should an “unnecessary” evacuation be required. Today, this warranty is required due to “overly amateur” expeditions that have called for mobilization of Greenland rescue services without any real or serious reason. In 2018, this warranty totaled €27,000 for the expedition, blocked between February (authorization request) and three months after the return of the expedition, namely August. To ensure all participants are aware of the implications of this expedition, we ask the participants to participate in this warranty for a total sum of the half of the warranty, i.e. €13,500. If there are 2 participants, they will participate for € 6,750 / participant and if they are 3, € 4,500 / participant. This sum will be returned to you once our obligation has been released, normally within the next three months that folllow the expedition.
Given the particular nature of this program, any cancellation at any time following your booking generates significant costs, which can represent 100% of the expedition price. The specific cancellation policy described below supersedes all other cancellation policies described in other documents or websites.
In general, any cancellation must be notified to us and to your insurance company by written means, which will allow you to have a confirmation receipt. It is the date of issue that will be retained as the cancellation date for billing cancellation fees. A non-refundable amount of 500 € per person will be retained for administrative expenses. A non-refundable cancellation fee will be calculated from a percentage of the total expedition cost, depending on the number of days between the date of cancellation and that of the departure: from 60 to 31 days: 25%, from 30 to 21 days 50%, from 20 to 14 days: 75%, within 13 days of departure: 100%. In addition to the cancellation charges mentioned above, for any transportation that we would take on your account and issue upon booking and/or dates imposed by the transportation companies, will be charged a cancellation fee that may be equal up to 100% of the price of said tickets depending based on the cancellation conditions imposed by said companies. For any hotel reservation or other services subject to different cancellation policies, including coaching, car rental, logistics, authorization fees will be charged a cancellation fee equal to 100% of the price of the services based on the cancellation conditions imposed by the providers. The customer will be informed of the specific conditions of cancellation prior to booking.
Finally, since the price per person is based on a group composition, cancellations may incur additional charges for the remaining participants. If these costs cannot be offset by the booking of new participants in time, the participant who cancels would be obliged to pay these fees to allow the remaining participants to leave under the same tariff conditions. In case we would have to cancel the trip, failing to meet the minimum number of participants, you will be notified at least 60 days before the departure date. If this is the case, or if the trip has to be canceled due to an act of God, an alternative expedition would be proposed or a refund of amounts paid.
In the case of a cancellation on our part, for any reason whatsoever, the external costs incurred by the clients such as transportation costs to get to the starting point of the trip, visa costs, travel documents, vaccination costs may not be refunded. We recommend taking a cancellation insurance that could address the issues raised, especially in the case of health problems. If you wish, we can examine how EXPEDITIONS UNLIMITED may offer a satisfactory insurance.
Getting there and meeting location
You’ll meet your guide in Kangerlussuaq. After final preparations, you’ll be transported by Jeep to the foot of a glacier, where you’ll start your adventure. At the end of your expedition, you’ll take a helicopter to Tasiilaq, where you’ll board your plane.