4300 km unsupported circumnavigation of the Greenland icecap by means of a Windsledge. An expedition within the 'Windsledge project' - An innovative, sustainable, low operating cost and global impact project.


Any crevasses ?

Though the risk of disappearing into a crevasse is fairly slim on our journey, the risk is present. So I thought it was a good idea to do a little well needed brush-up of my crevasse rescuing skills. 
In between the very final prep. and a bit of work in Scotland, I managed to squeeze in a day, in the beautiful Lake District, of hauling, jumaring and abseiling with Zac Poulton from MountainZ.

MountainZ Blog post

2 days to departure!!


A ride to the South Pole

A little glimpse of how it is to sail with the windsledge.
-2011 Antarctica 90S

South-North traverse Greenland


1105 knots and Kick off

The team, except Hugo who is in Greenland, met in Madrid over eastern for four busy days, getting the sledge and equipment ready for shipment to Greenland. Long hours were spend in the workshop finalising new adjustments, testing and assembling the sledge modules.
As the functionality of the sledge is based on flexibility when sailing, all parts that makes up the sledge (runners, crossbars and base sheet) are tied together with string. This means tying over 1105 various knots! Fingers not too happy about this job, however once up on the icecap reassembling the modules, we only need to tie about 240 easy knots, and of course during the travel changing them as they wear out, yet this time wearing gloves which doesn’t exactly ease the process

Additional removable tent reinforcement for the big storms/New crossbars/Going 'knots'/Kite selection & breaks

All modules including tents, was assembled a final time for a kick off presentation to the press, which turned out to have a huge interest with attendance from all the major (spanish) newspapers. Have to say, not too much fun being interviewed when 'no habla EspaƱol'.
There was also a presentation of the project at the National Geographical Society

A tired team posing for the press
This was also the first time for me to see the entire vehicle assembled with the new additions and improvements since the last Antarctic expedition. Still can't get over how huge the modules are, and  having a bit of a hard time visualizing it actual sail, let alone going up to 40 km/h. Guess it's the bumblebee over again.

Sledge development 2000-2014


We are not alone

We will not be the only team attempting a full icecap circumnavigation this year. Two other ski-kitting expeditions are setting out in April.
  • Starting in the South (Narsaq) April 20th, Cornelius Strohm & Michael Charavin  Wings over Greenland II
  • Starting on the East cost (Ammasalik) beginning April, Dixie Dansercoer & Eric Mcnair Greenlandice
It's going to be very interesting following. We may even cross tracks with Cornelius and Michael.


Expedition prep.

Whilst I've been away all winter playing with huskies in the arctic, Ramon, Manuel and Eusebio has been working hard in Madrid to get the sledge ready in the work shop, getting communication and power systems up running, testing new developed kites, logistics for evac. plans and getting the sledge up on the ice, admin. for permits along with a million other things required for such an expedition. During this time the realization of the expedition has of various reasons shifted back and forth, from not possible to maybe happening several times, and to everyone's relief eventually to a  -good to go!.
Ramon testing one of the kites
When finally tearing myself away from the dogs, I've had the task of collecting all wind- and icecap contour data I could get my hands on, from various scientific institutes in DK, USA and DE. Lots of clever people, giving me information and access to very heavy data. A bit of a challenge trying to interpret, breaking down and downloading data that is essential to have available offline. All in all very cool stuff, and now a lot wiser on winds and icecaps.
As we are sailing on the  katabatic winds, a vital factor for the success of the journey, is to avoid getting stuck in local wind systems with 'wrong' or no winds. Traveling with a 1000+ kg sledge means we are not able to just manhaule our way out of  an area. Local wind systems may develop around large domes or depressions in the icecap. The detailed wind and icecap surface data, will therefore be a corner stone when setting waypoints as we travel, giving us a pointer of areas to stay clear of.

Pretty awesome island don't you think ?


The Expedition & Windsledge project in short

This expedition 'Circumnavigating Greenland' as grand as it is and being a first, is nevertheless the 7th of six very successful  expeditions since 2000 within the 'Windsledge project'. Four Greenland traverses and two trans-Antarctic expeditionsThe Circumnavigation of Greenland is another large scale test of the sledge concept, before a Circumnavigation of the Antarctic in 2015.

Circumnavigating Greenland (Web)

The journey will start at the west coast close to Kanqerlussuag 5th May, and will cover more than 5000km circling the icecap, sailing clockwise with the katabatic winds. We will be sailing at an altitude close to the 2000m contour line were the topographic and winds are most favourable. Based on the experience from three previous  S-N Greenland traverses on the west cost, the whole journey should be possible within 45 days if all conditions are good. However the terrain and winds, after passing Thule continuing over the northern icecap and down the east cost, are all unknown and with more unstable winds than on the west coast.

The aim for the Greenland circumnavigation is to test the improved three module sledge system, and at the same time be the first to circumnavigate the Greenland icecap by means of wind. Hopefully also including a new windsledge record of travelled distance in a day– 500km in 24h.

During the journey samples of snow, ice and air will be collected for analysis of profiles, levels of pollution and radioactivity.
The travelling plan will aim for 20h a day of sailing, rotating the 5 prs. crew in a 10h schedule, taking turns piloting, navigating and resting.

The Windsledge Project (Web)

This expedition is a part of the 'Windsled project’, taking it beginnings with the first prototype sledge in 2000. The main objective of the Windsledge project, is to give simple low operating cost and eco-friendly alternatives for conventional fuel-burning logistics over remote territories in the Antarctic. Having a great potential for exploration, transport and scientific surveying.
The philosophy of the project joins the Inuit way of life of simplicity, and reliability together with nowadays technology and scientific commitment.
Based on the traditional Inuit sledge, the windsledge has over the last six expeditions covering almost 20.000km over icecaps, evolved from a very simple structure  to now a three module sledge, carrying up to 2 tonne of personnel and material, reaching up to 40km/h in favourable conditions.

Much more information about the six previous windsledge expeditions the Project and next Antarctica exped. are found on the Windslede project Web.


And so it begins!

A couple of years ago I met Spanish polar explorer Ramon Larramendi, during a 3 week kayak trip in the fjords around Tasermiut and Kap Farvel in south Greenland. I used his company Tasermiutgreenland for logistics as they are about the only outfitter operating in south Greenland. Ramon was in Greenland at the time, and we got to talk about polar expeditions and the people who had ventured in to the unknown exploring amazing Greenland. At that point I had no idea of who Ramon was, being a great explorer himself, with years of polar expeditions under his belt. I only found out by chance, stumbling over a big book at the hostel in Narsarsuaq featuring his 3 year long expedition through Greenland & Alaska. So imagine the tonne of questions I had by the end of the trip where we met again.
Then a little while ago I got an email from Ramon with a proposal, -if I would be interested in joining a circumnavigation of Greenland with the windsledge, that he is a pioneer of.
As I had quit my job to go freelance, and more or less taken a year off replacing 9-17 with adventures, it took me less than half a second to hit the reply bottom with a big YES, and so it begins!.
In reality I didn’t know too much about the windsledge project, as I had kept my foot in the door on another ski/dog sledge expedition that Ramon also had plans for ‘
SOS Thule’ . But after diving in to all the material I could get my hands on of the previous six windsledge expeditions (....all in Spanish which I don't really master!), I realised what an amazing concept and opportunity this was. Not just for being a ‘first’, but the whole philosophy and simplicity behind the idea. Wind is just the future way for exploration and transport in the Antarctic and Greenland, where the topographic and stable wind systems allows for kiting.
 -why manhaul if you can sail !.

Intro to latest Windsledge expedition 'Antarctica 90S 2011'
...yes, very Spanish & dramatic


Starting a blog

I’ve been encouraged by friends and a few personal sponsors to start a blog toshare life on this windy journey I'm about to venture into. I usually enjoy reading other travellers blogs but never thought of one myself. Have never taken notes or written a diary on any of my travels or longer work stationing’s, more or less just been going with the flow taking a few pictures.
So, this is going to be quit a new experience and here goes......Join the journey hope you like it !.