Why we choose to ski from East to West when crossing the Greenland  Ice Cap

First of all, no one direction is perfect or not perfect for crossing Greenland. Many expeditions cross from West to East but here is why we do it from East to West.

  1. The meeting point in Reykjavík allows our guide to go over all the equipment in a place where we can get anything that might be needed in terms of equipment. If the meeting place is Nuuk or Kangerlusaq it could be harder to get some of that since Nuuk is a small city and Kangerlusuaq is just a tiny Village.
  2. We reach the highest part of the Ice Cap sooner and have less wind in our faces. The main winds on the Greenland Icecap are Katabatic, i.e. they are powered by gravity that pulls cold air from high to low. The highest part of the crossing is East of the middle or just over 200 km from the East coast so skiing from East to West means less time with wind in the face and more time with wind in the back.
  3. We start at 900 m altitude on easy terrain, so the start is much easier than on the West side.
  4. We come to Dye 2 when we have less than a week to get to the end and it’s a great sign that the hardest part is over.
  5. Coming from high towards low terrain makes the glacier on the West side much easier to cross. On the very last day, we descend a glacier that is a bit up and down for the last hours before finishing to firm land again at Hill 660. The expeditions that start on the West side normally have a very hard time crossing this glacier at the very beginning of the expedition with heavily loaded sleds, so it takes at least two days to get up to the main Ice Cap. When going this bit down it normally takes only a few hours on the last day.
  6. Transport is very simple in the West, and we feel it is better to do the more complicated transport at the very beginning of the expedition than eventually having to wait for sometimes a couple of days before getting evacuated on the East side.

Click here to visit the Greenland Crossing Expedition page.

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