The wild and icy east coast of Greenland

After our warm-up hike along the hot springs of Iceland, we got into a way too small propeller plane toward the great white spot on the northern hemisphere: Greenland.

Low tide ice in Tiniteqilaaq

Low tide ice in Tiniteqilaaq

For a small three weeks, we immerse ourselves in an adventure in the inhospitable wilderness of East-Greenland, just below the Arctic Circle, where polar bears rule and broadly smiling Inuit chase you out of the village with nothing more than courage and a firm charged gun.

Schweizerland, as seen from Ningerti, at the head of Sermilik Fjord

Together with our long time friends, Dries and Ellen, we leave for a self-organized expedition trek along pristine fjords, filled with giant icebergs, over rugged passes and across empty tundra valleys of the far north. A few weeks into the wilderness, away from any form of human civilization can not go on without a firm preparation, even though every day is as unpredictable as the night. You guessed it right: we would encounter no human trace for the coming weeks.

Unnamed Pass in the Tasilap Kua Valley

Unnamed Pass in the Tasilap Kua Valley

 

The global warming is affecting the Inuit big time. Not only do the glaciers of the Greenlandic ice sheet melt at a hurling speed, also the annually increasing melting pack ice of the Arctic, drifing away southwards, brings in more polar bears into the region. Where the region, during summer, used to be”polar bear free”, the last years more and more polar bears are spotted in full summer along the fjords and around the Inuit villages. In Kulusuk, the village where we start our trek, we hear many stories of polar bear incidents in recent weeks.

Ice berg dotted Sermilik Fjord

Ice berg dotted Sermilik Fjord

 

The hunter who sales us into a remote fjord, “obliged” us to take his gun on our trek. But we have never ever used a gun before? “No problem, it is very easy, you aim in the direction of the bear and just shoot at chest or head,” he laughs .

Want some mister? Polar Bear Safety Precautions

Want some mister? Polar Bear Safety Precautions

 

We already have been in quite a few adventures so far, but what we experience in Greenland, surpasses all our dreams we ever had on this destination. Neck muscle defying granite walls cleave out of of the fjords and valley bottems as knives into the air, perpetual pink sunsets, huge glaciers that filled the fjords with icebergs the size of the football stadiums. And we have not talked about our new hobby: wading glacial rivers…

Arctic Sunset, Sermilik Fjord

Arctic Sunset, Sermilik Fjord

We could fill books with our experiences, but above all let us show you a selection of jaw-dropping pictures, which caused a huge infection on our eyes last summer or go through the selection on our travelblog

Click here for our Greenland SPOT Page

Island of fire and ice

A summer month under the Arctic Circle, seems an excellent plan to appease the hungry love that we cherish for the far north. Before we embark on a wild backpacking trip into East- Greenland, we throw our legs loose, on the with trolls and elves populated Iceland.

On the intriguing island in the middle of the Atlantic, there is an eternal battle going on between its large ice sheets and active volcanoes (from which Eyjafjallajökull now has reached the celebrity status).

Mýrdalsjökull Volcanic Outwash

This constant spectacle hews the landscape into an alien profile. With only 3 inhabitants/km², the island, once away from the coast, is a volcanic desert, where almost no life is possible. It is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. There are few footpaths to find, so it’s ripe for exploration.


Volcanic dessert

With our upcoming Greenlandic adventure in mind, we choose to walk the relatively easy Laugavegurinn (Warm Sources Route). Although this 4-day route is rightly popular, it is surprising that this trip gets little mention in the many lists of “Top Treks of this World”. Nowhere in the world you get so close to such a variety of landscapes in such short time: glaciers, ice caps, active volcanoes, fumaroles, bubbling mini-geysers, raging rivers, vast lakes, (ash) deserts and rainbow-colored rhyolite mountains.


Leaving the tarp

We follow the “Laugavegur” (pet name for the route, named after the busy shopping street in Reykjavik) northward instead of the mostly southward followed route. The route has a number of huts, but in order to avoid the crowds, we look for silent bivouac spots, away from the main route to set up our new tarp.

Please have a look at the photo album or go through the selection on our travelblog