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Ice climbing down into the ice cap near Kangerlussuaq

By greenland today, Photo privat & Arctic Caving Adventure
09. NOV 2012
Susanne Kreutzmann Pedersen from Nuuk has done what many only dream of – and even more people probably may have nightmares about.
In October she traveled to Kangerlussuaq and climbed many, many meters below the ice cap.
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– It was a wonderful trip, which I can highly recommend, says Susanne. I got the idea for the trip during my vacation in Kangerlussuaq this summer, when I was in a camp on the ice cap.
– Because of a great personal sadness and loss, I have had a difficult time. I reached a point in my life where I wanted and had to do something across borders, to move forward through my grieving process.
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The decision
– This summer I went on holiday alone in Kangerlussuaq, and started with some walks and runs in the nature.
– It was hard at first, but I could feel that it was healthy and good for the psyche and soul. I got lots of positive energy and got the idea that I wanted to try something more challenging.
– So I decided that I wanted to experience the incredibly beautiful ice sheet and signed up for a two-day Ice Cap camping trip. During the trip, I was overwhelmed by the magnificent beautiful ice landscape, and at the same time I heard about ice climbing.
– It sat in the back of the head at me, and after I got home, I started to train to be able to handle it.
– I prepared with a lot of physical training and tried both wall climbing and rappelling. I also took a course in Arctic first aid.
– The first two days of the trip was also preparations, we tested all the equipment and our guide went through our clothes, and clothes packed in freezer bags, so it was humid inside the ice.
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The trip
– Together with another participant and the guide Kim Petersen, nicknamed »Safety Kim« we walked up on the ice.
– The trip up there is a combination of climbing, rappelling and hiking, and physically very tough. The ice cap is about. 38 km from Kangerlussuaq and from there we walked about 5 km. onto the ice, and camped about 600 meters above sea level.
– The wind was quite strong that day, so we could barely drag our sleds, and we had to seek shelter to put up tents. We melted ice for drinking water, and it tasted special, but was clear and clean.
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– In the following days, I tried climbing into the caves. Because of climate change is very wet down in the caves, approx. 40 meters below the ice, says Susanne.
– There were waterfalls and lakes below the ice, and there was warmer down there with only minus 5 degrees compared with approx. minus 20 degrees on top of the surface.
– The climbing was a wild and impressive experience, which was very cross-border for me.
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Beautiful & Dangerous
– The coolest thing about the trip was the view of the ice cap. Night of beautiful stars and northern lights and incredibly beautiful sunsets, and all shades, shapes and colors of the ice.
– The most dangerous was when we went down into the cave, with the snow that lay between the walls. The snow could easily collapse, so we had our ice axes and safety equipment ready.
– It was exciting when we were going down the very narrow caves around. 1.5 to 2 meters in diameter, in which almost had to stand up, to rappel. In the caves there was much more space, dark, quiet and totally exciting.
– It was also exciting to rappel down, where you could not see what was coming. And if I would have the strength to get up again, says Susanne.
– After a full day tour of the caves, I could hardly stand on my legs and shook when we came up, because I had been so excited. It was a nice feeling when you could breathe normally again.
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Mission accomplished
– My personal goal was that I would exceed my limits, be bolder and mentally stronger to get on with my grief and feel better about myself.
– It can certainly be recommended to others who either want to try something extreme, or would like to overcome something personal.
– Our magnificent nature can give us a lot both for body and soul. It was impressive and beautiful, and at the same time very exciting.
As early as next week, she takes off again. – This time I want deeper into the caves, says Susanne.
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