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Arctic Greenland Climb and Ski - Stauning Alps 2016

This expedition will be a low ratio, climbing and ski exploration into the heart of the Stauning Alps region just north of Scoresby Sound the biggest Fjord system in the world.

Guiding & Coaching

18 days

Price: Call

The Stauning Alps are an Alpine coastal region of granite peaks 500km north of the Arctic Circle. They are within the North-East Greenland National Park, at 972,000 square kilometers, the largest in the world. The Stauning mountain range themselves cover about 2500 square kilometers, or several times the size of the Swiss Bernese Oberland.

Course Highlights

  • A guided expedition to the beautiful and remote Stauning Alps
  • Virgin Siummits
  • Exploration
  • All-inclusive price includes all transport and logistics once in Iceland, food accommodation and expedition equipment
  • Expert guiding from experienced ISM Guides

The highest peak in the region is Dansketinde at 2795m in the northern area of the range. The Stauning Alps and nearby massifs of Milne and Renland have a well deserved reputation for interesting Alpine ridges, gullys and vast areas of high quality granite exposures.

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At this latitude glaciation reaches down to sea level and beyond these maritime mountains the central Greenland icecap extends uninterrupted to the west. The region was originally surveyed from the coast in 1822 by the Scottish whaler William Scoresby. They were then comprehensively mapped (to 1:250K) by the Danish Geological Survey in the mid 20th century. Through the 50s, 60s and 70s there were a few Scottish climbing expeditions to the region, and interest was rekindled in the 90s and 2000s with several trips in the last decade. There still remains much exploratory Alpine climbing to be done in the region, with many peaks unclimbed and most major peaks only having the most obvious route ascended.

The range has unlimited scope for making first ascents of virgin summits and ski touring explorationand with objectives for all levels of ability.

Objectives

Once arriving in Greenland, you'll have the afternoon taking in some of the cultural aspects of this beautiful and remote part of the world, before we head off the next day on a 2 day snowmobiling adventure transporting the expedition to our remote Basecamp in the heart of the Stauning Alps. Once at BC we'll explore the surrounding glaciers and attempt some of the many virgin summits in the area and we'll do this in small teams (3 clients to 1 guide).

We'll remain flexible and are able to move base camps as required. All objectives will be tackled in lightweight, alpine-style (no fixed ropes as everyone climbs the ground for him/herself). Most of the peaks and routes are possible in a day from the basecamp, though if we find a prize objective that requires a longer approach then a higher advanced basecamp (ABC) may be required.

Weather

The Stauning Alps region often gets long periods of stable weather during April/May. It would be normal however to expect heavy snowfall at times during the time in the field, but these often serve as natural rest days. Temperatures at Base Camp altitudes usually range from -5 to -20 degrees C at this time of year. The snowpack in Polar climates is often unusually stable, but after a significant snowfall we will stick to more conservative ski routes and climbing objectives.

Experience and Technical Standards

People wishing to join the expedition must have alpine climbing experience and be conversant with the skills demanded by alpine climbing and ski touring. As there are a great variety of objectives at different levels of difficulty in the area we plan to visit, the climbing grade of expedition members is less important than fitness/stamina, hardiness, enthusiasm, good humour and a strong taste for adventure.

No polar travel experience is required to join the expedition as most of the routines and objectives of the trip will be somewhat similar to longer multi day alpine trips (albeit camping continuously). Nevertheless a proficiency in shuffling on skis will be essential to access Base Camp and to approach climbs. The snow conditions can be similar to ski touring and alpine climbing in the Western Alps in March/April and approach on foot can be arduous. (Later in the Arctic spring season (late may-June) the glacial access routes begin to melt out and rivers swell making travel even on ski unmanageable until around July when travel on foot on dry terrain becomes easy again.)

Ascents of some objectives can involve full days out in the mountains so it's best to build a good level of fitness pre-trip to maxmise enjoyment!

If you are keen to join the expedition but unsure whether your experience is adequate please call the ISM office.

Equipment

The temperatures and conditions we expect to experience in the Arctic spring are no more severe than Alpine winter or an extreme day in Scotland. Himalayan suits and full gaitor boots are not necessary! The weather is often more stable than the Alpine winter, but nevertheless being well equipped for an unexpected storm is essential as we will not have access to the kind of weather forecasting available in the Alps! A highly insulated down jacket and sleeping bag is essential.

Alpine ski touring/Telemark, Nordic ski equipment are all suitable and you can hire this equipment once in Greenland.

We will be using small pulks/sleds to transport gear to Base Camp, and to move this as required. No familiarity with pulk travel techniques is necessary, though for those that wish we can provide some informative training material to digest pre-departure. We will provide the pulks and traces.

Security

Polar Bears live predominantly in the coastal areas near their marine food sources. High in the mountains there is very little risk from polar bears. However Expeditions to the North East Greenland National Park are nevertheless required to take a firearm for protection against potential large mammal attack.

The glacial terrain is often crevassed and Alpine roped travel techniques will be employed both when on foot and on skis (+with pulks).

Flights

Access is quick and convenient with a choice of direct flights from the Europe to Reykjavik, Iceland.

Expedition Itinerary

25 April - meet in Iceland and overnight in Reykjavik
26 April - after an early morning internal Icelandic flight we then fly to Constable Point in Greenland. Once in Greenland we have the afternoon to explore the local area.
27 and 28 April - a 2 day skidoo adventure to Bascamp in the Stauning Alps
29 to the 8 May - 10 days climbing virgin summits and ski exploration
9 and 10 May - skidoo travel back to Constable Point
11 May - fly from Constable Point in Greenland back to Iceland
12 May - fly from Reykjavik back to the UK

Please contact the ISM office if you're interested in this trip and need any more information

Maps

Scoresbysund and Nordvest Fjord/Stauning Alper - 1:250,000

Course Dates

Please call +44 1539 721561 for availability