The world’s largest island – how could I resist! Its broken shorelines, dotted with glaciers calving thousands of icebergs, enclose a gigantic ice sheet. Following in the traces of Fridtjof Nansen, Benoît, Thierry and I felt as though we were skiing into history with the fabulous Norwegian explorer.

But Greenland is not only a unique place. It is now one of our most valuable indicators of climate change.

 

Expedition

Bernard was the first Canadian to cross the biggest ice cap in the Northern Hemisphere on skis. Greenland is the best training ground for an expedition to the Antarctic.

They set off from Isortoq, a little village on the east coast of Greenland, and followed the glacier upwards for several days, to a plateau over 2 500m high.

Three very experienced skiers, Thierry Pétry, Benoît Roy and Bernard, battled high winds, crevasses and sasturgis, pulling 100kg loads.

They crossed the Arctic Circle and arrived 23 days later on terra firma, at the foot of a glacier, very dangerous and crisscrossed with crevasses. Their great solitary adventure finally took them all the way to Kangerdlugssuaq.

As soon as they returned, Thierry and Bernard began looking southward… and undertook the last phase in their preparations for their Antarctic expedition.








Very far and very cold on the inlandsis.







Thierry







Preparing for the night.







Collecting snow for scientific research.







The Greenland shoreline is chaotic, interminable and exhausting.
 
 
 

Facts and figures

  • A first for Canada
  • 600 km on skis
  • a load of 110kg for each skier
  • 2 550m altitude to the top of the path across the ice cap
  • 6 500 calories a day of which 55% was fat
  • 11 hours of skiing a day for 22 days
  • 3 000m d’épaisseur de glace au centre de l’inlandsis
  • 1 million memories!
  • A Norwegian skier, Nansen, was the first to make this crossing, in 1888.