After traveling 4,262 kilometres over 67 days, kite-skiing through freezing temperatures, it would be nice to finish the trip by gliding easily to the final destination.
No such luck.
Yukoners Derek Crowe and Devon McDiarmid, along with British adventurer Adrian Hayes, completed their quest from the southern tip of Greenland to the northern edge and back down partway to the MacCormick Fjord near Qaanaq on Saturday.
The trio spent their final 13 hours of travel hiking off the Greenland Ice Cap, down jagged rock faces that played havoc with their sleds.
“We’re delighted and can’t quite believe its over,” wrote Hayes in their final blog from the quest. “The final 10 kilometres (were) the slowest 10 kilometres any of us have ever taken … hauling two sleds over, down and around a mountain! If it wasn’t so hard it would have been laughable.
“The sleds—designed to glide on ice—didn’t enjoy crashing over rocks quite so much and were totally trashed by the end. No choice unfortunately, its the only way off the ice cap.”
Even before reaching the edge of the glacier, the adventurers were encountering problems, having to cross crevasses and even wading through water.
“So many crevasses were crossed—one of which I went in—and water waded through … it felt Greenland wanted us to leave with some hard lessons for sure,” wrote Hayes.
“Descending off the ice cap was always going to be challenging, but kite flying the first two hours over crevasses, deep melting snow and so much water it resembled water skiing more than snow skiing, was a bit more challenging than even we bargained for!”
Beginning their journey mid-May, the three are now only the second group to kite-ski from the southern edge to the most northern reaches of the island—but the first to make the trip up and partway back down. Adding to the monumental task, they completed the journey without receiving supplies along the way, pulling all they needed in two sleds. The finite amount of supplies led to some creative recipes as food levels dwindled.
“Our obsession with food continues,” wrote Hayes on July 15. “Apart from talking about it incessantly, we are creating all sorts of salivating inventions in ways to make it extend beyond 65 days, which Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey would be proud of. Not least using butter in everything that moves and the remaining dust from pulverized biscuits to bulk up every meal.”
Although they suffered some minor injuries along the way, all three are said to be in good condition.
“Whilst the sleds arrived a little worse for wear, we’ve arrived safe and well,” wrote Hayes.
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