Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A few more pics.

From top to bottom:
1) Airport camp with fortifications against polar bears.
2) The altimeter read just under 2000m. Crispin puts thing right.
3) Late night sun.
4) Clearing weather.
5) Eric, the airport manager laughed and shook his head when we asked if we should worry about polar bears. When we showed him this he spent a long time gazing into the distance, then lent us his rifle and told us hang some pots and pans round our tents. Polar bears, apparently, are scared of pots and pans.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


We arrived back home yesterday, a few days earlier than planned, because topical storms were due to batter Greenland around the time our collection was scheduled.

The expedition was very successful, we climbed four new summits and explored the area thoroughly.

Thankyou to everybody who has supported us. A full report and loads more photos will be available at some point.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Alpine Bowl

It was been a busy week...On Wednesday we went to an area known as the Alpine Bowl and over a period of three days climbed two new summits. The peaks gave us our first view out of Renland to the sea which was truly awe-inspiring.

Earlier in the week we also made an ascent of an unclimbed glacier. We are now eating and resting before our final trip to explore another area of The Edward Bailey glacier.

Monday, 14 July 2008

First success...

Friday brought the expedition's first success: an 800m route to an unclimbed summit. The following day we recc-ed the far west of the Edward Bailey Glacier before returning to base camp covering 50km in a 17 hour day.

On Sunday we celebrated Nat's Birthday at base camp in some style with whiskey and glacial ice, chapatis and a whole dundee cake.

We are now bivvying at the far east of the Bailey Glacier and will set off at midnight to recce a new glacier.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The weather has not been kind...

Since our last blog, the Renland weather has not been kind. We bivouaced at the base of a route and woke to pouring rain which sent us scuttling back to base camp... the rain persisted for two days.

We made chapatis, did crosswords, read and ate loads. Finally, the sun arrived and we set off up the glacier with four days of food and high hopes.

We explored two new areas but access to the mountain we mentioned previously proved impossible due to raging glacial torrents.

Conditions are improving rapidly and we're setting off again tomorrow.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Morale is high...

2 July 2008

After 2 days of recces we found an objective: a 1771m summit on an ice cap. We will attempt this in the coming days. Since then we've been stuck at camp due to persistant rain and low cloud. The weather improved yesterday and we went to attempt a rock spire 3 km from base camp, we returned back via hidden crevases on the approach glacier. We diverted to climb a rock tower which we summited just after midnight. It's still light here, in bed by 4am. Morale is high and botanical collection has been started!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Settling into Base Camp

Friday 27th June 2008

Finally the day we had been building up to via weeks of planning had arrived. We made the final leg of our journey to Renland and our home for the next month. Despite some moments of doubt as to whether we would actually make it due to bad weather, a spectacular helicopter ride gave us our first taste of the incredible scenery that awaited us and the challenges that lay ahead.

We set up Base Camp amongst towering rock spires on the middle of a glacier and having settled in, took some time to ponder our climbing objectives for the coming weeks. Tomorrow (Saturday) we will do a recce of the area and get our bearings before, if all goes to plan, our first climb on Sunday.

We are all healthy and well, and in fine spirits. And so far not so much as a polar bear’s whisker in sight…C, R, and N

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Burgers and culture in Reykjavik

With great courage, teamwork and sheer grit and determination we have achieved our first goal: getting through Stansted airport. This challenge overcome, we found ourselves in Reykjavik (sp?) and cosily holed up at Snorri's guesthouse. Reykjavik (sp?) is pleasant, small and expensive. Icelanders are not as tall as we thought but sport a reassuring amount of facial hair. We have visited the museum where we learnt about the vikings and that the arrival of the photobooth in Iceland was a sign of the country entering into the modern age. Just had our last burger in anticiaption of 30 days of camp rations.
We leave Reykjavik on a 9am flight tomorrow for Constable Point. we'll spend two nights there before being choppered onto Renland. We're told Constable Point has an airstrip, alot of mud, drunken violence and a polar bear problem (they're drunk and violent) so we'll be pretty keen to move on from there. So that's the last blog entry direct from us and we'll be phoning them in via Emily and Catherine from now on.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


A few people have been asking about sponsoring us. We are very grateful for this. There are two ways that you can sponsor us. You can make a donation to Sobell House via the link on the website. We have already raised over £500 for this great charity. Or you can make a donation the expedition, if you would like to do this, get in touch with one of us.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

5 Days to go..

It's only five days until we depart for Iceland, the first stop on our journey to Renland. I've just been to pick up our new tent from Terra Nova, which is the final thing on my 'to do list' besides packing odds and ends like toothbrushes and eating loads of crisps and buiscuits!
We've heard reports, via other teams currently in Greenland, that it has been unseasonaly cold and that this winter's snow is still at sea level. This is far from ideal, but with any luck conditions are improving as I write.
While in Renland we hope to be able to report back by our sat phone, though this may prove impractical.
That's it for now.

Oh yeah, thanks Chris and Luke for the loan of their tracievers and can somebody remind me to pack some cutlery.

Monday, 26 May 2008


In March we were contacted by Dr. Geoffrey Halliday who has been working on the Flora (flowering plants and ferns) of the central fjord region of Greenland since 1961. Although he has pretty good coverage of Scoresby Sound he lacks any information on Renland apart from a few coastal sites. Dr. Halliday has asked if we can make complete list of plant species occurring in the area in which we will be exploring and climbing, in particular he wants us to note species occurring above 1500m and recording the highest altitude at which species are found. We have a ‘Flowers of Greenland’ guide and will attempt to identify as many specimens in the field as possible - we have a bit of swotting up to do before we leave for Greenland! We have been sent an Arctic plant press for drying and transporting flowering and fruiting specimens back to the UK for further identification. It is great to be adding a research element to our climbing expedition and contributing to such a long-term study.

When not learning our plants we are in the process of planning a fundraising Race Night in Oxford for early June......watch this space

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Sad News.

Unfortunatly Alex has decided, for personal reasons, to leave the expedition. This is a great shame for all of us, though the expedition will still be going ahead as planned.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Augustine Courtauld Memorial Trust.

The expedition is very grateful to have received another grant today. This grant came from the a trust set up in memory of Augustine Courtauld, a prolific adventurer, who took part in several expeditions to Greenland in the 1920's and 30's.

Information about the trust can be found at: www.augustinecourtauldtrust.org

Sunday, 11 May 2008


We spent yesterday packing and last minute shopping. We are still waiting for some food to arrive, but we hope to have everything shipped off by the end of the week.

One of the photos shows Crispin trying to pack himself into a barrel. We eventually told that he was allowed to come on the plane with us as long as he promised to do all the washing up on the expedition.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Andrew Croft Memorial and Supplies

We were very grateful to recieve a grant from the Andrew Croft Memorial Fund this week.

We have been busy getting our supplies togther - we've got about 400,000 calories worth all together and spent a fortune in Tesco (I got the club card points). We will be packing everything off next week, then we won't see it again until we arrive at Constable Point on June 26th.

Thank you very to everyone who has helped us out with supplies: Wild West for the beef jurky, Soreen, Tunnocks and John West.

The mountain picture is of us climbing on Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis in March this year. I thought I'd add it 'cos otherwise this would be a really boring post.

Friday, 25 April 2008


I'ts only three weeks until our freight leaves, so Crispin and I spent a busy afternoon arranging supplies. The photo shows Crispin at expedition HQ studying the calorific content of a tin of Tuna. John West have genorously supplied us with all our tuna needs.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Mount Everest Foundation

Last week the expedition recieved a grant from the Mount Everest Foundation.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Grant coming in, Botany

Good news! Last week we heard that we had been awarded a combined grant from the Gino Watkins Memorial Fund and Arctic Club of £1,500 – the grant writing is starting to pay off!

The Gino Watkins Fund was set up in 1933 in the memory of Henry George “Gino” Watkins who drowned whilst kayaking off the coast of East Greenland in 1932. Gino Watkins was a highly respected and inspirational explorer and we are excited to have received an award from the fund.

An Arctic Club award is given to one of the Gino Watkins applications which best meets the award’s criterion of an adventurous expedition in Arctic regions by young persons. Nat was delighted to hear he is still considered young.

Also this week Nat recieved, out of the blue, an email from a botanist with in an interest in the Scorsby Sound area of Greenland. He's asked if we'd do some "modest collecting and recording" for him. Details are a bit vague at the moment, but we are all keen to get involved.

I'm trying to think of somthing else to write so that I can put off , for even longer, going running in the rain, but I can't. So I'm off.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

The expedition team at Froggat edge. From left to right, Rob, Crispin, Alex and Nat