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Crossing Greenland 2016 - East to West

In April/May 2016 Gareth Andrews and his team will embark on an unsupported ski traverse of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The aim will be to cross the island from Ammassalik/Kulusuk on the East Coast to Kangerlussuaq on the West Coast, a distance of 550km.

Monitor Gareth and his team's progress here.
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The polar regions have always held a special place in my imagination. I grew up with the stories of Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Nansen, incredible men and the fathers of polar exploration. When I was 12 a team came to my school and spoke about their recent expedition to the North Pole. It gave me the spark of imagination that I may one day join a team travelling to the Polar regions. Over the years my mind often returned to thoughts of the North Pole and Greenland and finally after years of rugby and the completion of my medical degree I finally found my opportunity to go.

In 2013 I had the opportunity to join a team trekking to the North Pole. It was to be a huge physical effort, 600km hauling a heavy sled across pack ice and Arctic Tundra. A journey to the North Pole is the essence of adventure. It is wild and beautiful and dangerous. There are no maps to tell you what to expect, the journey is essentially a blank canvas. The sea ice is constantly moving and shifting with winds and tides, creaking and groaning like it’s alive, and the weather can turn from pleasant to devastating in minutes. For two teams a mile apart on the ice at any time the journey can be very different, one team could have pressure ridges and a blizzard, the other flat ice and clear skies. Although it has been reached before, the Pole itself is different for every team that makes the journey.

On my return I immediately began thinking of how and when I might be able to return to the North – the magic of the Arctic had gripped me so strongly that I knew that I would spend my life returning to the frozen reaches of our planet. The Danes have a word for this polar attraction - ‘Polarhuller’ - describing the way the polar regions draw you back time after time.

So, not long after my return I started planning for an expedition to cross the Greenland Ice Cap. It is one of the famous polar journeys first completed in 1888 by Fridtjof Nansen in an epic journey of hardship and discovery.

On the 20th April 2016 myself and a team of 4 will attempt to cross the icy interior of Greenland unsupported, from Ammassalik on the East Coast to Kangerlussuaq on the West Coast, a distance of 550kms. We’ll have to contend with polar bears, Arctic storms, temperatures as low as -30, crevasse fields and the immense scale of the world’s secondest largest ice sheet – all while dragging our supplies for the entire journey in sleds weighing around 80kg.

I’m very proud to be able to support James through this expedition and it seems quite fitting as it involves a number of things close to his heart – Greenland, Puffins and Adventure.

James’ zest for life, adventure and his tireless pursuit of helping others to do the same is truly inspiring.










Puffin Magic Long Lunch 'The Italian Job' at Bar Machiavelli. Saturday, 7 October 2017, 12 - 4:30 PM, Places strictly limited. Book your tickets now!

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See James showing off his Golfing Skills in Golf Australia Magazine!

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