Korpijaakko

– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Category Archives: AcrossGreenland2014

Getting over the expedition hangover

The blog has been quiet for about two months. That’s a long time. Of that time I’ve spent about five weeks on my longest expedition yet, skiing 27 days across the Greenland icecap. It was a wonderful tour and I had great time. But the price to pay seems to be the worst expedition hangover I’ve ever had. Some sort of post-trip torpor is typical to me but this time it feels exceptionally bad.

Yours truly enjoying life at the Greenland icecap. Photo by Matias Utriainen.

Yours truly enjoying life at the Greenland icecap. Photo by Matias Utriainen.

I was physically fine after the trip. I had to catch some sleep and took it easy for the first couple of weeks after the skiing but I lost only 2 kg of weight and it was solely fat so my body was fine. I didn’t have any bigger aches except for minor cold damage on the tips of my middle fingers and big toes but basically after a week of rest I was ready to go and ski cross the thing again.

And actually, I was also mentally more than eager to return to the simple life on the icecap. Back home I was initially interested mostly in sleeping and eating. After some time reading, sauna by the lake, sitting by a fire and walking and biking in the forests also started to appeal but most other things felt repulsive. And they still do. I’d rather be in some remote and wild place than back home with the myriad everyday responsibilities. This is what I call expedition hangover and that has also kept me away from the blog…

But in addition to longing for another expedition I’ve been also going through the huge amount of photos and video we shot on the expedition. I alone took over 1800 stills and nearly 50 GB of video. And I wasn’t the only one with a camera.

The first patch of photos is now ready and published and you can find them from my gallery. The photos are accompanied by short captions and I think they are best browsed in full screen view (click the icon on top right when browsing the photos) by clicking through the photos one by one. But you can watch them also as a slide show and also hide the texts if you want. You can get to the gallery by clicking any of the photos in the post.

Oh, and if you know cure for the post-trip hangover feel free to share it! 😉

PS. I also gave some interviews about the expedition. You can find the list from a post in the expedition blog but the only one in English is on Explorer’s Web and can be found from here.

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Skiing across Greenland

I’ve mentioned once every now and then that my main tour of the winter will be a ski expedition across the Greenland ice cap – and it’s about to start right now!

We will leave Finland behind on April 13th and arrive to Greenland the next day. And if all goes as planned we will start skiing from the West coast on April 16th and get to enjoy little over four weeks of white horizon, simple life and solitude before arriving to the East coast. Ski, eat, sleep, repeat. My idea of a great holiday!

Into the white in Svalbard in 2011.

White horizon, simple life and solitude on Vatnajökull in 2012.

The beauty of vast ice fields from Vatnajökull in 2013.

The beauty of vast ice fields from Vatnajökull in 2013.

All the little trips, longer journeys and previous expeditions have got me here and now I just hope I can get across the ice cap and enjoy the upcoming weeks. I have to admit, I’m little nervous but at the ame time also relieved that it’s about to start and the preparations are finally over!

I wished to write a lot about all the preparations and the countless myriad things needed to be done in order to get to the ice’s edge with a good chance to ski some 600 kilometers in four weeks without resupplies or other outside help… But, the preparations (and the little life I have in addition) kept me so busy I didn’t find time to write about them. But once on the ice we will have time for daily blog posts so at least you have chance to follow our tour if you are interested.

The daily updates will be post to our blog acrossgreenland2014.com. The updates will be in Finnish but will always include a summary in English.

You can also track our progress on the map.

For tweets (Finnish and English) from the ice cap follow Pohjoisemmas on Twitter and if you like this project, feel free to like us also on Facebook.

While I’m searching for the winter, you enjoy the spring and have good time outdoors!

In search of the place where sky and ice become one. (Vatnajökull 2013)

In search of the place where sky and ice become one. (Vatnajökull 2013)

 

 

 

 

Icescapes of lake Konnevesi

As February turned into March it was time for the AcrossGreenland2014 expedition to gather for a meeting. This time we had agreed to meet outdoors to test gear and get some kilometers on skis. Even though the lousy winter conditions in Southern Finland were against us, we didn’t let it slow us down and thus headed to Etelä-Konnevesi i.e. the Southern parts of Lake Konnevesi, a future national park.

We arrived at a quiet little fishing harbour after midnight and as the lake was covered with bare black ice we opted to pitch our tents on the snow patches on the parking area. The morning saw us packing our pulkas and local pensioner driving back and forth on the ice road starting from the harbour. Clearly he was curious of what we were doing but not daring enough to stop, come out from the relative safety of his car and speak to five strangers in bright coloured clothing…

The skiing was, well, interesting. There wasn’t any snow on the ice and on every push I felt stupid for not having ice skates. But as it was supposed to be a ski expedition training, skis we had. Going was fast and friction minimal so one could easily tow five pulkas and three skiers taking a break on top the pulkas…

We got to our destination the Pieni Navettasaari, an island with a lean-to shelter, in few hours. We had good company at the lean-to (in addition to the friendly dog who started following us on the way…) but despite the company decided to go for a quick spin on the skis also in the afternoon. Skate skiing on the steel edges of the skis was the most efficient way to travel as we had partial skins fixed to the bases of our skis. The little loop offered nice views and most of all very interesting miniature icescapes.

We spent the early evening chatting by the fire and once it got darker we retired to our tents to go through the endless lists of planning and preparations related to big expeditions. Heini also wrote a little blog post from the tent, though we had to send it over 3G network as our satellite hotspot refused to work. That’s why you go for training trip in the first place.

There was a slight dusting of snow overnight which made the ice even more slippery. Taking down the tents pitched on the ice was a slow process and required all concentration and balance available. And as the temperature was below zero the surface was too hard even for the steel edges of our skis so we changed into plan C – crampons – and walked back to our cars. Sub-optimal, but we are expecting to walk our fair share on crampons also in Greenland so why not at the lake ice as well…

The Etelä-Konnevesi area was very nice: countless little island with rocky shores, bits of old-grown forest, wind fallen trees et cetera. It’s not a big wilderness with all the summer houses and locals driving cars on the ice but it’s definitely worth a visit and it’s great to know it’ll be protected also for the future generations as a national park. I assume the best ways to visit would be skating (conditions permitting), skiing (assuming a normal winter) or paddling the summer, preferably not during the holiday seasons.

More photos of the ice in my gallery. All photos taken with Canon EOS 6D and EF 24-105 4 L IS. Still a lot of learning to do with the full-frame…