We are sailing since about two days, trying to find an anchor spot and a peak to climb. Icebergs are everywhere and we must keep our attention every single minute during sailing. If you don’t stay focus you risk hitting the ice and damaging the sail boat straight away.
Behind the corner a fjord arm is leading to a bunch of valleys and there might be a place to drop the anchor. Icebergs are all around but the place seems to be safe. We stop. We can’t wait to eat our meal, we go inside, boil water for the Beef Stroganoff and drink a smoothie.
Twenty minutes passed when I look outside and realise a ten times bigger iceberg than Maewan is heading toward us! Everybody on deck, I start the engine while Eric and Sansoz pull up the anchor and move away as fast as possible. We keep sailing to the end of that fjord, meeting humpback whales on the way. Icebergs are more and more numerous as we approach the glacier. Some of us have a nap, while the others steer Maewan. The ice fall is big, impressive, we feel so little sailing around these massive pieces of glacier. A shallow area, two to four meters deep, looks very safe from the iceberg as the biggest one will beach before they reach us. That’s a nice spot and the valley that goes south of us is surrounded by peaks, alpine style.
We can’t wait, Eric and I prepare the gear, Liv inflates the dingy and we leave Maewan to go on the ground. We cross the river barefoot, it’s cold and sketchy, walk up the moraine for four hours and put a step on the glacier that leads to the base of the peak. The climb looks ok, a bit of rock, a long traverse in scramble rocks, a gully in snow or maybe ice to the ridge that we’ll follow to the top.
We didn’t expect it that high and hours are passing, we start to be tired, to feel the long days sailing behind us. Power is back when we are almost at the top, the view is unique, a 360° panorama we can see the Inlandsis, Greenland Glacier, that disappears in the horizon, the fjords we sailed a few days ago, a bay with a little island where we could go in because the wind was too strong and peaks everywhere. Maewan is now a little dot at the far end of the valley we went up, waiting for us.
We came back broken hours later, had a meal and went to sleep as the sun was rising higher up.
Erwan Le Lann started a four years long adventure sailing around the world on his boat Maewan in 2015. During this period, different athletes are joining him on the boat to climb, sail and explore some of the most remote places on the planet. In May 2017 Liv Sansoz and Eric Chatrian joined Erwan to find some beautiful peaks to climb in the Arctic.
Follow the whole Maewan adventure.
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Surging glaciers are one of the biggest enigmas in Glaciology. These are glaciers that can quickly accelerate and reach speeds over 5-10 m per day over several years.
Back from two months of adventures on the new continent full of powdery snow and bloody cracks.