Coming to a Difficult End

Published on 30.07.2009 - Kite Greenland 2009

Adrian Hayes' expedition team made it to the west coast of Greenland on 25 July, after 67 days and 4,262 km of travel. The last few days of the trip were the most difficult ones.

As few people have been where the three explorers from "Emirates NBD Greenland Quest" have, especially during the melt season, Adrian and his companions couldn't possibly have suspected that the last 100 kilometers of the expedition would be the worst.

Since the spirit of the adventure remained intact throughout the project, it was essential that they reach the coast autonomously and, above all, without having to call a helicopter to pick them up somewhere on the ice cap or glacier. And that's what they did.

The team came to adopt a specific strategy across the several crevasse fields they encountered – amongst which, most were still covered in snow. Since Devon had fallen into a number of crevasses when nearing the north coast of the island (the JP Kocks fjord), he now seemed to practically be able to guess them. All his two companions had to do was ask him to walk (ski) in the lead for him to detect the crevasses in advance. This didn't prevent Adrian from falling into one of them (25 July, the day before the end of their expedition) and to have to wait for his companions to come and save him. After the crevasses, the men came face to face with glacier torrents, through which they had to slalom to get through.

Over the last 50 kilometers, the men had to make their way through stones and they ended up completely damaging their sledges. The sledges had, of course, neither been designed nor conceived to progress on a rocky ground.ÂÂ Nevertheless, the adventure is a real success and is going to make it down in history. This is the longest distance ever completed in a polar regions in autonomy. Congratulations to the trio!

They were picked up by a fishing boat Sunday 26 July at the end of the afternoon and flown by helicopter (weekly service) to the US Thule Air base. Then, a regular flight brought them to Kangelusuak and, from there, to Denmark.

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