Trekking on the Icecap in Greenland
August 15th-18th, 2001
Two days trek, reaching the ice cap on top of Greenland. Incredible landscape made of ice and melted water working together to create a unique environment. Photos of glacier moraine.
The icecap covers about the 85% of the World's largest island, Greenland. The thickness of the ice is up to 1.5 miles in the central area and the weight of this huge mass has pushed the "continent" a lot of feet under the sea's level. If the Greenland's icecap would melt, the sea's level may rise up to 7 meters, or, if all the ice would be distributed in equal parts to all the inhabitants of the Earth, each of us would have an ice cube 0.625 miles by 0.625 miles by 0.625 to play with.Our target is to walk in order to reach the icecap. The trekking will take 2 days, with one night sleep in tents. Total miles to walk: 15. Level change: 2050ftAt 10:00 o'clock we start to walk toward the Icecap. We don't need to bring any water with us as on our way to the icecap we will find a lot of lakes and streams from where it is possible to drink directly. Click HERE to see the same area from a satellite. Google Earth is required.
It is already afternoon when we climb the last hills before the icecap.
At 16:00 we reach the icecap's moraine. The landscape is modeled by immense forces, it is like a big building site where enormous bulldozers create huge piles of heavy stones and then move them here and there.
Old tools and work instruments left here by an old expedition. Like a monster, the moraine crunches everything, even solid iron.
The ground is made by sands of many different sizes and everything is kept all together by clear (transparent) ice, which is present up to the surface and acts like a glue. Amazing !We finally climb on the icecap and start to walk around.
At this altitude (about 2050ft) the temperature in summertime rises enough to melt the upper ice, creating streams of water and small cracks.
We finally reach a deep crack with a waterfall falling inside.
Over the icecap there are a lot of crevasses. Often the streams run until falling into a crevasse, creating incredible waterfalls and underground rivers, which will end-up in some far place.The shapes and the colors here are something of incredible, it seems to stay on another planet.
I would like to go down by a rope and take a look inside... but unfortunately we aren't carring the proper equipment.
Often, extensive areas of the icecap are covered by many small holes, as shown on the above pictures. The holes are built by dark particles flying or raining on the icecap: as they are dark, they will heat-up under the sun, melting the ice all around. An hole several inches deep may take several years to build. Many holes are the home of a small form of animal life, that uses the minerals contained in the dark particles itself as food.
We start to walk back to a small campsite to eat and sleep.
Near the campsite there is a nice glacier where we will go the following morning.
The following day we take an extensive tour on another glacier. First of all, we cross its moraine.
Here the ice is very dirty, because it is captuing and carrying tons of debris along the way.
We take a short walk on the ice, before heading back to Ice Camp Eqi where we will arrive at 3pm.