The team are yet again delayed and this time it looks like they may be waiting a while!! Two Weather cyclones pouring in from northern Greenland westerly across cape discovery and northern ellesmere. Pilots will not fly due to high winds. Ice conditions are looking bad with lots of breakup off the coast. Assessing everyday with the excellent weather team and pilots in Resolute. Transcription shortly.
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We are urgently waiting for Clare’s sledge to arrive back from Greenland. Last seen at Old Camp in Kangerlussuaq her sled is reported to be in somewhere in Copenhagen, now over a month since we returned to Ireland. Key pieces of her equipment are missing, goggles, glasses, crevasse rescue gear – we hope that they arrive in time for our departure to South America.
Anyone who has seen her sledge please contact the expedition office!
A call from Pat confirmed they were still going strong through whiteout conditions and strong winds. "We are less than 10kms from our grid reference to come off. We are tired, hungry and battling through hundreds of crevasses with very little visiblity... We have only moved about 2-3kms since yesterday.. Hopefully later this evening we can break through this section and make a move for the edge"
They are due to finish tomorrow as they are flying home on Thursday morning.
photo: Shaun, Clare, Johnathon and Pat. Johnathon was on a different team while in Greenland.
Following a phone call at 16:45pm Irish time, 13:45pm Greenland time, Pat Falvey, Clare O'Leary and Shaun Menzies have just come off the edge of the Greenland ice cap on to their first solid ground in 31 days.
Pat was very excited and there was lots of banter and laughing going on in the background as they meet with the first people in weeks which were there to collect them and drive them to Kangelussak about 10 miles away where i imagine a big meal, long shower or bath and about 5 or more pints are on the cards.
The trio have gained massive experience and preparation for their South Pole attempt in Nov/Dec.
They had a very testing time especially as they approached the end. With such a short distance to the freedom of finally taking off their skiis ahead, they battled through the maze of melt water and persisted where I'm sure others have packed it in.
The team rang yesterday evening as they dashed to make the flight to Copenhagen this morning for Clare. They were 17km from the road off the ice cap at that stage, and were pushing on into the evening. They were excited but delighted to be nearly finished.
(remember W. Greenland is 3 hrs behind GMT)
Update this morning:
A call from Pat early this morning indicated the had only made 6km after calling yesterday evening, he said it will be later today when they make a little bit of history as the First Irish Team to Traverse Greenland Arctic unsupported .
All team members are now booked to fly back on the 6th as there are no flights tomorrow the 5th. They will have to overnight in Copenhagen, but should be back to Dublin on Friday around noon.
We wish then luck on their final day of 600km across this Polar landscape.
Photo: Map of western egde with rough route out.
The trio called me on Friday evening to discuss their options, they had made some progress through the endless melt waters and were at approx 50-60km from the finish. They are to battle on and aim for the first Irish team and female to cross Greenland Arctic unsupported.
Unfortunately they were to fly that day, but are now looking at re-scheduling to the 6th. Pat said they are in dire need of some good food and a pint after skiing and trudging 550km over nearly 30 days on the ice cap!!
They were also intrigued at Kerry v Cork in the football coming up.
He is to make contact today or tonight to confirm their situation and plans for the coming days.
Approx. 80km from the western edge of Greenland, the 3 adventurers are battling with an endless maze of melt water rivers on and under the surface. Massive lakes with a layer of ice on top about 3 inches thick break through to 2 feet of slush and water as the day warms up. Pat was hopeful they would pick away for another day or so and if things didn't improve they will call it a day. They had only covered 9km when he called last night. A bit frustrated, he said "Its like a sting in the tail after plugging away to recover a day after our ordeal getting on to the ice cap, we are trying early in the morning to see if it holds our weight for a while, its a vast bog like ice swamp, We are going to assess our situation over the next 48 hours as our progress at this rate could take a week"
We are awaiting instructions to re-schedule flights for them if they break through and make progress.
Either way they have completed an impressive journey across the frozen land mass of Greenland Arctic...Roll on Antarctica.
What a day! Due to global warming we're encountering a large number of melt water rivers, far more than normal for this time of year. We had to divert 9km from our route today as these fast flowing rivers are just too dangerous to cross. Shaun nearly lost his sledge in one, completely soaking his gear. To add to this frustrating scenario, the weather has again changed for the worse forcing us to make camp early whilst the snow storm passes.
We're all quite tired and hungry but keeping positive. We know the descent will be testing, what with all the crevasses and hummocks that lie ahead, yet we're still smiling. We're getting pissed off with the bloody weather and are drooling for a big juicy steak, a pint and a shower.
Photo: DYE-2, abandoned US Radar station
After a blizzard and six days of non-stop white outs we finaly reached Dye 2 on Sunday. It appeared out of the mist like some long forgotten alien artifact, a great white dome on top dominates the building which, untill August 1988, was constantly manned by US military and government contractors.
We made camp, put on our head torches, and then scouted the area to find an entrance. It wasn't long before we were in, dutifully signing our names in the adhoc visiters registrar. We explored the whole site which had been abandoned in such a hurry by its owners that there were still half eaten meals in the canteen and boxes of unopened beer in the bar - all long past their "best before" dates unfortunately. It was fascinating reading a 20 year old copy of Newsweek, titled "The Greenhouse Effect - More hot summers ahead". I'm sure some in Ireland would take issue with that!
The next morning we set off on perfect snow, covering 45km during the day. Today however was not so good, yet another white out and rain to boot. We still managed 27.9km and would have bettered that had we not ran into a series of fast flowing melt water streams forcing us to make a 2km detour.
We have 118km left to the end of this expedition, it doesn't sound much but it will involve negotiating an expanse of crevasses and pressure ridges as we make our way down the glacial leg. Hopefully, they won’t be as bad as the ones we encountered at the start, 22 days ago.
By the time this was updated, i had a call from Pat who was very excited and confident on them completing the traverse on Saturday 1st or Sunday 2nd of September. They are feeling good and hoped everyone back home was well. They are still having problems with powering from solar, they are now relying on batteries to charge their equipment. All these problems are good training for them for South Pole.
We hope to keep you informed on a daily basis as they approach the western edge of the Greenland ice cap at N 67 08 43 - W 50 02 54 where they will finally come on to solid ground after nearly thirty days on the ice.
Pat called me on Wednesday evening in great form. He said they were all well except for his sled. "The conditions are the same with snow on the ground its quite soft and sticky as the day progresses, We are approx 80km from DYE 2, Our solar power has been zero over the last few days as there is no sun and little light. We have batteries as backup but it means conserving quite a bit of the use. We are also running low on food and time and we will keep you updated on any decisions made towards the final few days, say hi to everyone..."
From DYE 2 they will have approx 185kms to go before they come off the ice cap, they are expecting to encounter the same as the start, lots of crevasses and streams etc., that may hold them up even more.