GREENLAND 2002 -
EverestNews.com Dispatches by David Keaton
GREENLAND 2002 -
DISPATCH 1 Land of Sagas
To get to
Greenland you go to Iceland. Iceland is known for
a few things most notably the sagas which are 12th
and 13th century tales of epic conflict, romance
and adventure. One rule of thumb garnered from the
narratives is; don't mess with your neighbor. It
might take generations to settle the score.
But Iceland is
also known for waterfalls, wool, geology (there
have been more than 30 eruptions in the last 200
years), and the unpredictable weather of the north
Atlantic. This week, however, Reykjavik (the
capital) is experiencing some of the fairest skies
in many years! We hope this lasts awhile, and
perhaps rubs off on its northern neighbor,
Until about 12
years ago it was a tricky proposition getting
oneself to the mountains of east Greenland. It
used to mean treading the deep currents and
lumbering icebergs of the arctic ocean via
sailboat. After landfall, you dragged your
provisions ashore and began picking your way
across the ragged coastal glaciers that empty
directly into the sea. These glaciers, often
heavily crevassed and treacherous, make for a very
uncertain journey which was exactly the sort of
thing many adventurers wanted to hear.
everyone now chooses to fly in via a ski-equipped
Twin Otter. For starters, most people don't have
three to four months vacation time to do it the
hard way. Mark Jenkins' 1988 Watkins expedition
was one of the first groups to employ the aerial
approach by landing on an interior glacier near
Gunnbjorns Fjeld, Greenland's highest.
pilots that will be flying us in to NHN next week,
are the same that plucked my group off a glacier
near the arctic highpoint in 2000. At the end of
the expedition, we were wallowing in some micro
climate junk for several days and started to think
about another week of crackers and lemon starburst
while it cleared up.
the Twin Otter buzzed in very low off the ice cap.
They had just completed a flight from the base at
Thule. As the plane circled around, the pilots
radioed down and asked for help with depth
perception. We set-off the flares and watched as
the wind strung out banners of blue and red smoke.
We were skeptical that they could or even want to
try to land, but after a few circuits they dropped
in expertly. We were on our way.
reasons, we are expecting better weather this
time. First, NHN is much further north than the
Watkins/Lindbergh area that we had visited in 2000
- 73 degrees north, which tends to favor more
stable weather. Secondly we will be there in June
instead of late July/August - another positive. On
the flip side NHN should be much colder!
But for now it is
the beach in Reykjavik - suddenly a very popular
More soon. David