65 Degrees North have successfully completed the first and most difficult part of their journey, facing some extremely challenging conditions; morale and team spirit remain high as they look back at the past few days on the ice.
A week ago today, the 65 Degrees North team arrived to Greenland and spent the day packing their pulks and preparing for their World First, Record attempt. Early the next morning, after a hearty breakfast, they left Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord) and were driven about 30km to the spectacular edge of the ice cap, known as Point 660, passing the magnificent Russell Glacier along the way. Looking ahead at weeks of endurance, they took their first steps on the ice and skied for approximately eight hours before setting up camp for their first night on the ice cap.
On Day 2, Peter and the team negotiated a veritable labyrinth of ice and snow on a steep glacier, where some of the most demanding terrain awaited in the biting wind and -15°C temperatures. Teamwork was required early on but 65 DN remained ultimately unshaken, by a series of dangerous events as Team doctor, Meinir, fell thigh-deep into a crevasse, and Peter Bowker took a tumble shortly afterward which caused his prosthetic leg to detach. Reports back to the operations team in the UK were made successfully and the reality of this epic challenge was heard in their voices – however, it is clear that this is a tenacious team that will not be broken by these challenges.
Excellent progress was made across the treacherous ice field on Day 3 – the team was tested physically and mentally but ultimately enjoyed the awe-inspiring environment.
Battling katabatic winds and temperatures -20°C on Day 4, energy was sapped. But with very sore feet and hands they smashed 24KM and reached ‘Dog Camp’, just beyond the crevasse zone. Having completed the most difficult part of their journey, team morale was higher than ever.
With skis on pulks to conserve energy, Day 5 saw continued strong winds and -20°C weather as the team progressed slowly but surely across the ice. Peter developed blisters across his stump due to the length of time and distance spent under demanding conditions in its prosthesis. A decision was made to set up camp early so Team Doctor Meinir could assess and treat him. The next day, back on the ice, the team received some support by satellite phone from Welsh actor, Charles Dale, known to many for his TV roles in Coronation Street and Casualty.