A change of plan

A message received from Jamie on Monday April 23rd -

‘‘Everyone’s Got A Plan....

Until they get punched in the face. So said the famous British snooker player Michael Tyson. I think. Its hard to remember quotes correctly when you haven’t got Wikipedia at the touch of a button.

And although Greenland hasn’t quite floored us it has given us a pretty good kicking so far. -34deg c and winds of 110kph led to a few sleepless nights and lots of rushing outside in the early hours to dig the tent out so it didn’t collapse, whilst muttering a few thankful prayers that we paid a bit extra for the expensive tent.

Then we had either no wind or “the wrong winds”. Trying to go North was impossible with the Northerly winds we had for a few days, leading to us almost contemplating walking. Almost.

So as the days began to drag and with little ground covered and having eaten into most of the contingency time we had allowed for storms and bad days before we had made much distance we made the decision that getting to Qaanaaq was too bigger risk. Having both made commitments to get back to work for certain dates and a flight ,which if missed ran only once a week, we decided to focus on something else. DYE 2, an abandoned US Radar station from the Cold War sitting in the middle off the ice sheet. It seemed the obvious choice. It would still be huge challenge to get there and there was the off chance we might find some old copies of Playboy knocking around or a Hersey Bar or two. Also, much like the person who swam half way across The Channel and got tired so they swam back, not many people can say they went half way across Greenland icesheet only to turn round again.

Not what we had planned for, but still a journey of 1000km to the centre of the icesheet and back and the chance of some 1960’s chocolate and nudity.

We have been making slow progress against the prevailing SE winds which have now started to kick in (typical) but hopefully we will get there tomorrow.

Travelling on the icecap is an incredible experience and its only when you realise you havent seen anyone or anything else for 13 days you realise how remote it is. Vast and unforgiving, a frozen ocean of emptiness with nowhere to hide. Beautiful, exhilarating and a bit terrifying all at the same time. Its a very strange place but surely one of the few places left on land where you are utterly alone and have to be entirely dependant on yourself, the kit you have and those you are with.

The Footprint stuff is still going really well although a predominantly veggie diet does apparently have some side effects. Its fortunate we are both wearing many layers and have a deaden sense of smell from the cold. We have been churning out the solar power and collecting the samples each night for the micro plastics testing. Our clothing has been particularly impressive. The synthetic down alternatives have been really warm and have dried super fast when they have got sweaty and the all wool base layers have been keeping us snug. 

So on we go, kiting, melting snow, eating nuts, farting and freezing but generally making good progress and having fun on the wide and empty ice sheet.


An update on their progress so far

Jamie and Josh have managed to send us little updates and nuggets of information via their satellite phone and seem to be in generally good spirits and enjoying the challenge!

After two days tackling a hefty climb they reached flatter terrain on the icecap. They have been getting to grips with the camping situation and, as the wind has picked up, they have been building a snow wall around the tent to ease conditions.

They had a slight scare on the third night (Thursday 11th) as a a solar panel flapping in the wind sounded like an approaching polar bear! Josh described it as a ‘heart thumping moment’.

Friday 12th the boys were finally able to get their kites up, Josh said he ‘took some tumbles’ but were ‘nailing it still’ and that it was ‘a lot more fun than dragging a sled through crevasses'!’

Waking up on Saturday 13th to winds of 68kph meant that an attempt at kiting was soon aborted and the guys spent time sorting meals and equipment and drying clothing. Josh was also very proud of an makeshift snow toilet he had made for himself!

After a strong start on Monday both Jamie and Josh suffered breakages with their kites which, frustratingly, put a stop to any progress made. They now have to average about 100km a day to kit their end of April target for finishing.

So all in all, both are in good spirits and health but are fully aware of the challenge before them and would like to thank everyone supporting them back home!

(More updates to come, all photo updates are being posted to @footprint.free on instagram)