It has been quite a while since you’ve heard from us on our blog. For the past few months, we have been working behind the scenes on our next big thing. We are going to cross Greenland without resupplies and using only human power, following the original Nansen route in 2020. You can find all the details of that expedition at nansen2020.org. Now where our Hardangervidda trip was basically just Lauren and me flying to Norway to ski for a bit, this one is going to be a proper big expedition. We are putting a team together, working with various research partners, and raising money for charity with the trip. In other words, this is going to be a lot more organising work than our Norway expedition. But how do you get something like this off the ground?
Staying warm is one of the most important things to look for when you’re out in the snow and ice. Your extremities are generally most at risk of suffering cold injuries since they are farthest away from the warm core of your body. Additionally, your hands and fingers are exposed to wind and weather almost always, which is why great gloves are one of the smartest investments you can make when planning to be out in the cold for a prolonged time. Today, I am reviewing several gloves provided to us by our partner, The Heat Company. Note that they offered some of them to us for free, but I will give my honest opinion regardless. When on an expedition, your kit is your life insurance, and I would never settle for anything I consider sub-par.
The Arctic ocean is, and always has been, one of the most challenging terrains for expeditions. The drifting sea ice creates a labyrinth of open water, frozen leads, and pressure ridges, where the straight line is rarely the fastest way ahead. With the fading ice, modern explorers have to use dry suits to swim across open leads, dragging their floating sledges behind them. On thin ice, one wrong step can mean almost death, plunging an explorer into the freezing water. If that’s not enough, polar bears are roaming the ice cap, ready to hunt any prey, including humans.
When I first learned about Fridtjof Nansen, it was because of his groundbreaking achievements in Polar exploration. He was the first to achieve an overland traverse of Greenland and set a record for farthest North during his Fram expedition. His unique approach to expeditions and inventive talents would serve as an example for other great explorers, such as Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, and Peary. Apart from his Polar achievements, Nansen was also a dedicated Scientist and became a respected diplomat and humanitarian later in his life. His achievements in both these fields are just as remarkable as his Polar exploits and well deserving of a blog post on their own.
In honour of International Women’s Day, and International Book Day, I thought I’d pull together a short list of the “adventure” books which have moved and inspired me the most over the last couple of years.
Back in January, the lovely people at Intrepid Magazine selected me to be one of their gear testers and sent me a Black Diamond First Light Hoody. The idea was that I’d take it with me to Norway and put it through its paces in the airport, the city and the snow. You can read my detailed review in issue 8, but the short version is, I loved it!
The best thing after a long day of skiing is getting out of your skiing boots and into warm and dry wool socks. Unfortunately, throughout the evening and night, you will have to get out of your sleeping bag and back into the snow at times: to go to the loo, to check the tent, to get something from your pulk, or whatever reason. Enter the Expedition Down Booties.
This will be the last gear highlight for our Hardangervidda crossing. Navigating the unknown terrain safely and limiting risks as far as possible is a priority for us. Much like Amundsen, we want to plan the adventure out of our expedition. Here’s what we are bringing for navigation, personal safety, risk mitigation and some other tools and gadgets.
Polar exploration isn’t all about skiing for hours on end. We will spend the majority of our time inside or around our tent. Getting our camp routine and equipment right is just as important as being a capable skier. This gear highlight is going to be a big one. We are going to go over the majority of kit we need when we’re not on the move: the tent and tent equipment, sleeping gear, cooking equipment and food and drink.
Taking on extreme challenges like Greenland or Antarctica doesn’t only require extensive planning and physical training, it also involves a lot of kit and money. Partnerships with and sponsorships from companies or organisations can go a long way in helping to overcome the logistical challenges and can make the difference between a dream expedition happening or remaining just a dream. We are already peeking past our upcoming Hardangervidda traverse, and are eyeing Greenland for 2020 and Antarctica later. To keep our adventure going, we are looking to build lasting mutually beneficial relationships with organisations sharing our beliefs and values and manufacturers whose products we trust to be the very best for our expeditions. Today, we are excited to announce our partnership with The Heat Company.