With global warming causing the warmest autumn in New Zealand for 150 years,
and earthquakes causing devastation in Christchurch, we are preparing for an expedition to the Arctic wilderness of Baffin Island where it has been said the last ice age began. The vast Penny Ice Cap that covers most of the island is reported to be shrinking as is the Greenland ice cap.
What conditions will we find there now?
Our plan is to go by boat to the head of Pangnirtung Fiord where our Inuit outfitter will drop us. Carrying everything we need for two weeks hiking and climbing to a high point we will make the ninth of twelve environmental sculptures that will eventually comprise The Fine Line Project encircling the earth.
Joining us on the team with Philippa and I is Len Gillman head of the School of Applied Sciences at AUT in Auckland, New Zealand, and longtime climbing friend. We will walk up the Weasel Valley in Auyuittuq National Park to reach Mt Asgard passing some of the greatest rock walls on the planet including Thor Peak with its overhanging wall of 900 metres.
We will need to double carry loads for the first few days to Thor Peak where we will set up a base camp before embarking on a side trip up glaciers to make the sculpture. We will continue up the Weasel Valley to reach Summit Lake, the Turner Glacier and Mt Asgard. We also intend to climb at least one of the peaks.
Although it will be summer we can expect freezing temperatures, difficult river crossings and high winds. Hopefully we won’t meet any polar bears.