We have just completed a vacation expedition skiing from Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic to Greenland! This trip was a commercial trip led by Richard and Josee Weber of the Canadian Arctic Holidays.
Our route went much further North than the originl plan due to a lack of sea ice in Smith Sound. The large polynia, North Water, never froze last winter and is now open well above the 79th parallel. It took eight days of skiing over some of the roughest ice that Richard had ever seen to reach Greenland at Annourtok.
After a day to rest at Annourtok in a nice house we crossed a portion of the beautiful but lifeless icecap and then skied down the Clements Markham Glacier to Pitaforik, where we spent the night in a small cabin, escaping the gale force winds outside. Finally we skied along the fascinating Greenland coastine to Siorpaluk, the world's most northern community. It was an incredible journey.
Pictures only tell a small part of the story, but here are some.
Getting there - refueling at Cambridge Bay in the Central Arctic.
First Air drops us off on the snow covered sea ice.
Our leader, Richard Weber, who has skied to the North Pole many times!
Lunch break with Ellesmere Island in the background.
Jim skiis through rough snow.
Louise negotiates ice too rough for skiing.
Beauty abounds despite difficult travel.
Camp includes two tents.
Inside is great for relaxation.
Seals and their breathing holes were common.
Despite many bear tracks, we saw no bears.
Annourtok, Greenland at last - reached after 8 days on the ice.
Icecap snow is firm and makes good blocks for structures.
A gale force wind speeds our way to the edge of the icecap.
Descending the Clements Markham Glacier from the icecap...
to the sea!
A nice beach, but a 10 foot drop to get to it.
Diebitch Glacier we fortunately passed on sea ice.
Difficult ice foot traverse.
Neke seemed like paradise.
One last obstacle, we hope.
Oh no, the sea ice is gone! We have to cross the glacier.
Getting down from the glacier is the hard part.
Large islands off shore in the Baffin Bay.
Siorapaluk, Greenland, the world's most northern community, where the Inuit live by hunting using traditional methods with dogsleds and harpoons.
Our host, Josef, and his very nice house had room for seven of us.
Josef re-stocks the water supply for the kitchen.
Meat is stored here high above the dogs - all year 'round.
This ringed seal was yummy! The skin will become kamiks (boots) after drying and chewing.
Fish are dried for later use.
These pups will soon be trained to pull a sled. Note the small walrus skull just laying there.