** ARCTIC ISLAND WONDERLAND **
MILNE LAND (Scoresby Sound fjord)
Fantastic ski touring and mountaineering on a remote Arctic island
Perfect for Ski exploration and First ascents of unclimbed peaks
First ascents up to 2100m on the remote Arctic island of Milne Land in the inner reaches of Scoresby Sound fjord, the largest fjord system in the world. Only a handful of expeditions have ever traveled in to the heart of these range which has left large areas completely unexplored in winter. A fabulous and beautiful arctic island full of alpine peaks, immense glaciers and stunning views of the ice berg filled fjords. The expedition is open to ski tourers and mountaineers of all ability levels as there is plenty of scope for different peaks and lines in close proximity. Operating out of a glacier base camp there will be numerous peaks in the immediate vicinity to explore over the first week. Base camp may then be moved higher up the glacier to a position from which ski tours can be made on the 2000m high Puderene icecap and it's surrounding 2000m+ high peaks. The group ascents will be mainly non technical and in the lower grade ranges of F to AD, however for those with more experience there is plenty of opportunity to attempt more challenging lines of ascent and descent. We are unaware of any previous expeditions having explored the beautiful Puderne icecap and it's surrounding peaks in winter. Many fine summits exist which await their first ascent. The ascents will be non technical and good ski touring ability will be required for some of them. Others can be reached by easy ski tours to the base and then onward and upward on foot. A great opportunity to make Arctic mountaineering history. Milne Land is without doubt one of the most impressive areas in Greenland for ski touring amongst unclimbed alpine summits, peaks, faces and massifs. It also contains immense big wall faces every bit as inspiring as Baffin Island and Antarctica.
Tangent Expeditions is the leading authority on mountaineering expeditions to Greenland and has previously organised three winter and two summer expeditions to Milne Land. No other guiding company is running, or has run, expeditions to the summits of the inner most reaches of Milne Land. Tangent remains committed to running such expeditions on minimal margins to allow people to appreciate the true and awe inspiring beauty of these remote regions.
The group will meet at our guesthouse in Reykjavik on the expedition start date before taking a flight to Constable Point in north east Greenland the next morning. The expedition food and equipment will be sent as air freight to Constable Point in advance. From here we will aim to travel the same day by snowmobile to Milne Land base camp. This is a major expedition in it's own right and will take several hours depending on snow and sea ice conditions. En route we will pass numerous large icebergs locked in to the sea ice as we travel over the frozen Scoresby Sound fjord. Upon reaching the east coast of Milne Land the guides will locate the access point on to the Charcot Glacier and travel up the glacier for several kilometers before choosing a suitable base camp location. The snowmobiles and guides will then return to Constable Point before returning at the end to collect us.
Base camp is likely to be on the Charcot Glacier. Approximate position N70'44 W26'00. Altitude 1000m. The location can be found on the Milne Land map link at the top right of this page.
Upon arriving at base camp Day 1 will be spent acclimatizing to the surroundings and going through equipment and safety procedures. A short ski journey will be undertaken to check that everybody's skis and skins are in order. The following day a recce ski tour will be carried out up the Charcot Glacier to assess the snow conditions and identify a suitable high camp for the latter half of the expedition, where a depot of food and fuel will be placed. The group will ski back down to base camp via one of the nearby tops to get a good view of the area and to evaluate the snow descent conditions and the ski ability of the team. Some peaks will be made as ski ascents and others as mountaineering ascents. Only Tangent Expeditions holds the full and complete record of all known ascents of these peaks. Following success on the primary objectives we will establish advance base camp in order to explore further new peaks and ascend on to the Puderne icecap.
Accommodation in Iceland is provided on a Bed & Breakfast basis, and other meals are not included in Iceland. Expedition food will be provided on a full board basis for the time spent on expedition in Greenland. This will include camping style food during transit at Constable Point airport. If clients choose to eat in the airport canteen this is not included and should be paid for locally in Danish crowns or by credit/debit card.
There will be 24 hour daylight throughout this expedition. At this time of year sunsets and sunrises merge in to one long beautiful display of colour.
Milne Land typically enjoys good periods of stable weather during April. We would normally expect snowfall once or twice in a 2 week expedition but conditions can range from no snowfall at all up to 40cm over a few days. The sun is very strong and day/night time temperatures will range from -5 to -15 degrees C at the beginning of April to 0 to -10 degrees C by late April. As a dry cold, and with little wind, it usually feels significantly warmer than the air temperature suggests. As a result of it's northerly latitude the region lies well inland and away from most north Atlantic weather systems. Strong winds are not a common feature of this region, however cold katabatic winds can be expected at certain times of the day as cooler air descends off the Puderne icecap.
Level of Camping
The expedition will involve camping in snow conditions on a permanently snow covered glacier. During periods of snowfall it will sometimes be necessary to 'dig out' your tent and maintain good overall camp organisation and camp craft skills. In contrast, on warm calm days it will be possible to sit outside. Late winter camping on Milne Land is generally straight forward and comfortable due to the lack of regular strong winds! Individuals and tent pairs will be expected to cook their own food as tent teams.
Experience & Fitness Required
Full day ski tours and ascents/descents will typically be of around 6-8 hours depending on ski ability, up to 10 hours on the longest days. The ascents will involve easy angle ski ascents/descents on large glaciers where crevasses can usually be avoided. The team will travel largely roped up except on occasions on the main access glaciers which are flatter and where deemed safe by the guide. The final few hundred metres of some ascents will be on foot and involve mainly moving together on easy slopes with the occasional rope length of grade 1 (40 degree) slopes. The team will be carrying ropes and suitable protection to safe guard any steeper sections. No rock climbing experience is required. There is no requirement to join the group on all ascents. Skiing ability should be such that you are able to confidently descend blue ski runs. Alpine touring (Randonee), Nordic mountain touring, Telemark, and split snowboard ski equipment are all suitable for this expedition. All team members must be confident in the use of ice axe and crampons. Clients should be fit enough to carry out the equivalent of 6-8 hour mountain walking days and have no significant knee or back problems.
There is no requirement for more specific extreme clothing other than normal Scottish winter or summer alpine clothing and boots. This should of course include windproof jackets and trousers/salopettes and rigid sole mountaineering boots capable of taking a step-in crampon. A lightweight insulated down jacket is recommended.
Tangent will provide Snowsled pulk sledges, North Face tents, snow pegs, floor insulation, MSR stoves, lightweight plywood stove boards, fuel bottles, fuel cans, fuel funnels, stove spares kits, lighters, pans, white gas fuel, food, toilet paper, maps & aerial reconnaissance photos, GPS, group survival shelter, snow shovels, emergency flares, PLB (emergency locator beacon), rifle & ammunition (Polar Bear deterrent), VHF air band radio, walkie talkie radios, satellite telephone & solar re-charging system, emergency flares, base camp medical kit, mountain first aid kit, general spares and repair kit, client prussik loops, ropes & all snow/ice climbing and crevasse rescue equipment for security on steep ground and glacier travel, general spares and repair kit.
Clients will need to provide your own large rucksack/travel bag, 55+ litre daysack, sleeping bag suitable for -20'c, inflatable sleeping mattress (& repair kit), foam sleeping mattress, water/windproof jacket and trousers, suitable ski touring/Telemark/split board skis and boots, ski poles, skins, spare skin glue, avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe, crampons, full winter clothing, insulated jacket (optional), expedition gloves/hat/balaclava, 100% UV sun glasses, 100% UV snow goggles, 1 litre metal flask, 1 litre water bottle, eating/drinking cup/bowl/utensils, pee (toilet) bottle, multi-tool knife, harness, helmet, 5 x screwgate karabiners, ice axe & hammer, GPS (optional), compass. Certain equipment is available to hire here.
Please see our insurance site www.insuregreenland.com for details.
This expedition will be led by one of Tangent's regular guides Ian Barker. Ian has a wealth of guiding experience throughout the World, including the Greater ranges, Everest, Mount Vinson (Antarctica) and South America. Having first worked as a Safety Officer for British Antarctic Survey Ian has spent 8 years as a Technical Consultant to the outdoor industry and runs many mountaineering and outdoor programmes through his own company Pennine Adventure. Ian is a qualified Mountaineering Instructor (MIC), Ski Instructor, Canoe Coach and experienced diver, with several season ski guiding in the Alps. Ian has extensive Greenland experience having led many Tangent expeditions over the last few years. He led a very successful expedition to the nearby Knud Rasmussen Land ranges in 2007, which made numerous first ascents of unclimbed peaks and in 2011 Ian led our successful Watkins Mountains expedition.Ian is both an experienced skier and snowboarder.
Personal Service - all prospective clients are welcome to visit us at our home in Cumbria or Paul Walker will travel to any part of the mainland UK free of charge to meet with you and discuss the expedition in more detail and show you maps and photographs. We believe this benchmark service is offered by no other expedition travel company and supports our commitment to providing an ultimate level of high quality personal service.