Engagés Phone Home: Expedition Greenland
This article continues to be updated, as five French explorers have been traversing Greenland's toughest terrain and sharing their progress via satellite phone.
NOTE: This expedition has now been completed. Make sure that you check out Max Lainé’s recap of the final few days of Engagé, in his article which you can find here.
Their goal is to complete 700km in 30 days. Here is a day by day breakdown of the obstacles they face and how they overcome them as a team. The Outdoor Journal will continue to post updates as we receive them from the arctic.
Day 31: the ceiling rises, maybe an opportunity this afternoon
Since day 29, a long wait of the group for conditions of favorable visibility for the helicopter transfer towards Kulusuk.
Day 28: All records day. 30 km covered in 14 hours of walking with a beautiful sky at the end of the day! We turn on the stoves at 11pm to make water and eat. Tomorrow, wake up at 6am for the last straight line: stand the dead!
Day 27: We have just traveled 27 km in 13 hours of walking, the snow getting ever deeper and at the cost of a terrible effort. Small comfort at the 9th hour: we think to superpose our pulkas to reduce the friction.
Day 26: 3rd white day, without seeing further than the end of our skis. Smile and face. Thank you to all those without whom this expedition would not have been possible: Enzo.L, Clément.H, Fabienne.T, Jean-Marc.T, Chloé.G, Véronique.L, Christian.L, Philippe.L, Thibaud.D, Élodie.P, Juliette.N, Gérard.N, Agathe.D, Isabelle.D, Vincent.D, Fabien.D, Christophe.B, Niels.D, Amelie.D, Bernard.S, Catherine.L, Maxime de C, Caroline.P, Patrick.D and Eric. B.
Day 25: Again a white day, we move painfully in 30 cm of freshly fallen powder with always this headwind that taunts us and freezes our face. Between yesterday and today we have traveled 53 km instead of the necessary 64 km. Hope the weather will be more lenient ..
Day 23: 25 km traveled and we have just passed the highest point! Our food rations are numbered from 1 to 30, one for each day. We have 7 rations left (7 days) to cover the remaining 195 km.
We have two options:
a) have an average of 28 km per day for the next 7 days, which we managed only once 🙂
b) divide our daily rations to be able to walk 32 days … but the most voracious of the team already cries famine. For the moment we leave for the option a) so much as to tell you that our days of walk will lengthen
To be and to last: what does not kill us makes us stronger is the theory.
Day 22: After getting up early to catch up with the previous day, we are greeted by winds of more than 60 km / h instead of the 40 km / h announced. We make the decision not to move the camp to conserve our energy for the next 250 kilometers. We are taking advantage of this stormy day to readjust our equipment and take care of everyone’s injuries.
Day 21: Today 40 km / h with a headwind, Maxime testifies with a face full of ice.
Day 21: First technical incident, one of Antoine’s bindings broke under the cold … Fortunately we have two backup bindings before going to scotch. This worries us a bit, knowing that there is at least 23 0 km to go. Hope this is an isolated event.
Day 21: Values of Sport and Entrepreneurship: Today we are walking for Accuracy and its consultants. Thoughts of the walkers for the despacitos team: you are the best!
Days 19 & 20: 50 km in 2 days, we are approaching the highest point of our expedition 2500 m, forecast for the night -30 degrees. Here is an example of ration for two that we eat every day, our favorite ingredient is butter! Have a nice week end!
Day 18: Today 25 km, we go out of our comfort zone to show you the bottom of the expedition. 30 days, only one slip that smells good!
The weather seems more lenient late afternoon, the sun has started to set! The whole team can not wait to get back on their feet. Starting tomorrow morning, we are increasing our daily pace to reach Isortoq in time. “Nights” shorten so much that at the end of our expedition there will simply be no more; it’s the eternal day!
Day 17: The wind blew terribly loud all night, 80 km / h measured this morning … which did not stop us from sleeping more than 12 hours in one go. The cold has the annoying habit of waking us several times each night. But it seems that during this storm temperatures are rising! Around -5ºC, thank you south winds!
In the morning, little respite, the tents and our pulkas are buried under a meter of snow. We are forced to go out to clear snow before being engulfed. The rest of the day is spent on repairs (gloves, sealskins, shoes), and writing for the poets of the team!
Day 16: We advance painfully for 5 hours with a headwind, at 13h the wind reaches 70 km / h and we decide to set up the camp before it is too late, in a stormy atmosphere.
When assembling tents the wind whistles so loudly in our ears that it blocks all communication between us. The tents slam and fail to fly but our actions and our roles are now fully honed. The word is superfluous: it is even the guarantee of our security.
In the tent it’s a whole different world. Confined certainly but we finally block out the screams of the wind … and spend the afternoon around endless hot chocolates to consume our rations. It’s warming up ! The tent is our cocoon – it only lacks a fire to perfect the atmosphere. We’ll suggest the idea to The North Face uopn returning 😉 Our stoves will do the job for now …!
Day 15: A “normal” day is 8 hours of walking. How much do you like the effort? In photo, our daily debate on the possibility of making a ninth hour or not?
An hour that earns miles but also nibbles our sleep, our energy and our mind.
Today 21 km of gained, 200 m of elevation gain, we install the camp at 2200 m altitude. In 5 days we will reach the highest point of our expedition at 2600 m.
Day 14: After two days of storm, we were able to advance 28 km in 11 hours of walking with a headwind of more than 30 km / h. It’s certainly the hardest day since we left!
Small gift on arrival: we finally reached the US military base of DYE. It was seen for more than a day of walking! This military base was built during the second world war to allow the American aviation to refuel on the way to England. It is a cubic building of more than 40m side that can accommodate fifty soldiers, doubled by a huge airstrip. It was informally used as a surveillance facility throughout the Arctic Circle (and beyond). The building was totally abandoned in 1988 at the end of the Cold War, but the airstrip still works (for military purposes).
Day 13: A second day blocked by the storm, we take advantage of a lull this morning to make an igloo, we can not wait to leave.
Today, Sunday (Day 13), strong winds continue to blow on the expedition with an improvement in the night. Restart the progress tomorrow morning.
We hope to be able to leave tomorrow morning, but the weather is uncertain, in the meantime we discuss, eat and write in our travel diaries, the adventure continues!
Day 12: Sleeping late, we got up at 8am, we stayed in the tent all day. Winds greater than 95 km / h were measured with Maxime’s anemometer. Our tents are covered with snow and slam with the sound of the wind.
Day 11: We advance 16 km despite a wind of 30-40 km / h from the Southeast, our bright cheeks begin to peel a little … (especially that of Max and Thomas). We end the day by mounting a wall of snow and taking 2 food rations per tent, the weather looks bad with winds of more than 80 km / h from midnight and Saturday all day.
Day 10: First stage with more than 20 km traveled, we take an extra ration of butter, Yum!
Day 9: 19 km, 1730 m high blue sky, we exceeded the cumulative 115 km. Our bodies and our minds are getting used to the effort and our pulkas are lightening day by day.
Tip of the day: At night, the temperature is around -25 ° C, it is important to brush the down to wake up to remove the ice that has formed, the risk is to meet one evening in an ice cube.
8th day, big blue sky, 18 km. The thermometer showed -22 ° C this morning at the exit of the tent, we start to have a little trouble out of the duvets 🙂
We prepare a little surprise for you in 5 days, stay tuned!
Day 7: 17 km, 150 m of elevation gain, big blue sky! We advance on a false flat amount. The landscape is white as far as the eye can see and sometimes some clouds come to play the disturbances. Maxime and Valentin, are illuminated by light bulbs, the morale is good.
Tip of the day: our daily rations are for two and numbered from 1 to 30 corresponding to the number of days.
Today: 19 km, 150 m elevation gain with typical Greenland weather, cloudy, white at the top and bottom.
4th day: 15 km in 7 hours of walking with 200 m of elevation gain. After one night at -20C, this is our first day entirely in skiing and it feels good to advance a little. We definitely leave the glacier on the west coast and the landscape becomes entirely white.
3rd day, we leave the glacier, tomorrow we leave the skis and we attack the cap !!
For more details, check our voicemail, number on our Facebook page;)
Second day, Storming the glacier! Having an ideal time, we walk on a sea of ice. We move quickly, few crevasses, slight headwind. Second camp in the sun, trick 1: always put the tents back to the wind so that the first tent protects the second and third …
Bernard, Valentin, Maxime, Antoine, Lucas and Thomas started their expedition. Deposited Tuesday afternoon at the foot of the ice cap, they started their progression this Wednesday morning. To be continued…
Follow live the adventures of Valentin, Maxime, Antoine, Lucas and Thomas, who will try to cross Greenland from west to east, an adventure of a month, guided by Bernard Muller.
After a beautiful expedition in April and May 2017, we always leave accompanied by Bernard Muller, one of the greatest French guides. At 5 participants, we will experience a unique polar adventure along the Arctic Circle. We leave Kangerlussuaq on the west coast of Greenland to get to Isortoq, a small fishing village on the east coast. In total, some 600 kilometers skiing in a raw and fascinating nature. We will need a flawless team spirit for this extraordinary expedition that Expeditions Unlimited is the only Francophone organization to offer.