Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Greenland Diaries: Where & Why May 18 2008

Crevasse field.jpg

Over the next two weeks we'll be looking to bring you a few updates on what went on in Greenland.

First, here's a brief explanation of where the guys went and why they went there.

Why Milne Land?
The guys went to Milne Land, Greenland in an effort to recreate some of the conditions that they will be facing in Antarctica. Greenland itself is a huge open wilderness with easy access to sea ice and glaciers. It's reasonably accessible and none of the team had been before.

Where's Milne Land?
In Northeast Greenland, it is 70 degrees North - 500 miles into the Arctic Circle. Milne Land itself is an island approximately 60 miles x 40 miles in the middle of Scoresby Sound, the longest Fjord in the world. To get there, you need to cross frozen sea ice.

According to Will, they were incredibly lucky with the weather, there was also virtually 24 hour light when they were there - it was getting lighter by 15 minutes every day.

Korridoren Glacier:
This was the base for the guys training. The glacier itself bisects Milne Land, with feeder valleys feeding ice into the Korridorean Glacier it provided great practice for the Beardmore Glacier in Antarctica.

The Antarctic journey will be 350 miles or so of sea ice, then 100 miles up the Beardmore Glacier to 9,500 ft or so before the final push up to the Pole itself on 450 miles or so of ice cap ice. The snow conditions will be quite varied in each of these places, requiring different skiing techniques and approaches: when the snow is deep and powdery, progress is slower.

In Greenland, the team in effect did this journey back-to-front, they travelled across the ice cap acclimatising for a few days before travelling through crevasse fields heading out towards the sea ice. Turning back, they then went back up the Korridorean Glacier in effect, re-creating part of their trek across the Beardmore.

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