An Expedition in Greenland.
by Alastair Humphreys
We are in Greenland, in a remote area between the Watkins Mountains and the vast, silent ice cap. We are here to test our equipment, to test ourselves, and to test whether the three of us can work together and live together in these beautiful though difficult and dangerous conditions. We are training for a future, more ambitious journey to the South Pole.
As I lie on my side in the tent trying to decide what to write about, I catch sight of my reflection in the small, handheld gadget I’m typing this on.
I look old.
My woolly hat is low over my brow. My eyes look tired and drawn. Wrinkle lines radiate from the corners. And we have only been out on the ice for a few days. What, I keep asking myself, will I be like after 110 days and 1800 miles of Antarctica have finished with me?
All three of us are in a strange position: we have each done enough to not need to prove anything to other people or to ourselves. This can make the cold, plodding, difficult grind of an expedition feel somewhat daft. As we took off our skis and unclipped our harnesses after one hard day’s hauling, we each confessed that, independently, each one of us had been mulling over other less painful options for life.
We all laughed at that, relieved perhaps to discover we were not alone. But also because we each know we would actually find it very hard to leave all this behind. Greenland is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been – the mountains, the vastness, the solitude – and it’s a privilege to have it as my office. And I am realising out here that the three of us are in a very exciting position. Although we have all done interesting things, we are now in a position to begin something really difficult and significant in our lives.
We do not know if we will succeed in Antarctica (it would be pointless if it was guaranteed). But we are discovering out here in Greenland that we have one of the key ingredients for a successful expedition.
Add a New Comment