Antarctic Heritage TrustThe team have been training hard ahead of their departure for Greenland, but with snow not readily available in Australia and New Zealand, they have had to get a bit creative. Old tyres rigged together and dragged across sandy beaches and dirt roads are a good stand-in for 60kg sledges pulled behind skis!
Antarctic Heritage Trust
Sunrise over Spencer Park Beach
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While the world is a very different place now to what it was 130 years ago when Nansen first crossed Greenland, some things haven’t changed all that much! Nansen’s expedition relied on being nimble and carried supplies on lightweight sledges that were pulled by the men.
A sketch of a Nansen Sledge used on the crossing
While the polyethylene sledges of today may look a bit different to the long wooden sledges with ski-like runners that Nansen helped innovate, the principle is very much the same! With the team pulling 60kgs behind them they have to think very carefully about what to take, although there’s still room for a few favourite snacks along the way!
River crossing – Ousland Polar Exploration
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The 2018 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition to Greenland will kick off on May 4. The attempt to cross the Greenland Ice Cap will honour the legacy of Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian explorer, humanitarian, scientist, inventor and diplomat who first completed the crossing 130-years-ago. We will be posting regular updates from the team (conditions permitting!), so be sure to check back here as we update on the progress of the expedition.
Isortoq, on the East Coast of Greenland – Ousland Polar Exploration
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The whole trip we were buzzing about how incredible it was to be outside, away from modern day life, with no cell phone, reception or internet. We were completely focussed on what we were doing.
Zoologist and Filmmaker
Reaching the summit of Mt Scott was definitely the highlight. It was pretty much a full white out when we started so we didn’t know if we would see the mountain or even get a viewpoint. It was an incredible feeling and huge relief when the clouds peeled back to reveal a perfectly blue sky with the sun shining on the mountains. I’ve spent the last three years showcasing my adventures and trying to get others excited about exploring the wilderness. This expedition has cemented the value of doing that.
One of the challenges I faced was…
Capturing the whole experience as the sole videographer was challenging, especially in an area that was heavily crevassed and required a lot of attention to tread safely. My feet found several crevasses, which brought home the reality of how quickly things can go wrong. Our guides were fantastic and steered us through these high consequences areas.
Advice I would give about exploring is…
Get outside! People don’t have to go to Antarctica to have an adventure. The whole trip we were buzzing about how incredible it was to be outside, away from modern day life, with no cell phone reception or internet. We were completely focused on what we were doing.
I admire the early polar explorers because…
When we went to Whalers Bay, we got to see all the old structures and get a glimpse of what it was like back in the day. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for the early polar explorers to navigate the constantly moving icebergs in their wooden boats. To traverse the terrain with no maps or any way of knowing what lay ahead must have been incredibly daunting. It was definitely humbling for me.
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Antarctica has so much mystery and is the pinnacle of exploration.
Isobel Ewing – Journalist at Newshub
When we were about 12 hours out from Antarctica I was on the bow of the ship by myself and caught the first glimpse of the mountains. They looked like huge hunks of ice poking out of the cloud across the ocean. I imagined what that sight must have been like for the first explorers. That was a pretty rapturous feeling. I also found it magical to step onto the continent for the first time and start climbing Mt Scott.
Standing on top of Mt Scott…
I was overwhelmed. I’d summited my first mountain in the last great wilderness on Earth, and yet there wasn’t a breath of wind and the sun was shining. It was such a tranquil moment in an incredibly harsh place. I think it was pretty emotional for everyone, the culmination of all that apprehension about whether we’d be able to do it. I managed to grab the satellite phone and do a live cross back to the Your Sunday show on Radio Live, which was totally surreal and a huge career highlight.
How resilient I am. I used to be terrified of heights and mountaineering made me nervous because of the technical side. To have overcome that initial terror on the first morning and made it to the top of the mountain makes me feel proud.
Compared to the early polar explorers…
We were lucky! I’d read books and seen photos of the early explorers but have a new appreciation of what it must have been like for them in such an inhospitable environment with wooden ships, no showers and no way of communicating with people back home. After this trip I now understand why Antarctica has fuelled so much writing and art over the years, and why people are fascinated by it.