Sarah McNair-Landry, Erik Boomer and Ben Stookesberry are redefining the adage to “earn your turns.” The all-star trio of expedition leader-paddlers have their sights set on a river over 500 miles into the frozen interior of Greenland. The fastest way to reach the headwaters by foot? With a little help from the wind, of course.
Stookesberry, Boomer, and McNair-Landry have set out on as bold and unique of a put-in approach as whitewater expedition paddling has even seen. With the assistance of skis and kites they are towing their kayaks and sleds of gear 560 miles into Greenland, in order to reach a place they call the “Twin Galaxies,” where the headwaters of two unnamed rivers, formed by the melt-water of Greenland’s ice sheet, parallel one another as they drop 3,000 feet to the sea.
McNair-Landry, who resides on Baffin Island, brings serious Arctic prowess to the group, training Boomer and Stookesberry in the art of kite-skiing in order to greatly speed up the process of glacial travel and decrease the amount of time needed to trek into the Arctic. The technique is not without its risks. The winds, which make the idea of kite-skiing across the island ingenious, can also be extremely fierce. Harnessing the power of these winds can make glacial travel a breeze, but a mistake could lead to some disastrous situations on the frozen terrain. Stookesberry has already reported a couple of close calls via Instagram:
“A day after sudden high winds nearly dragged me to the ocean and dropped Sarah on her head from 20 feet, we are recovering and hunkered down in a heavy wet storm at 4000 feet on the East slope of the Greenland Icecap.”
The group arrived on the eastern shore of Greenland on August 7. On Sunday, August 21, they managed to cross into the Arctic Circle having covered roughly 150 miles in two weeks. Once the glacial travel is out of the way, the next plan is to hop in those kayaks they are dragging along — launching into one of the unnamed rivers for a first descent of one of the newest streams on the planet, carved out from the thawed runoff waters of the world’s second largest ice sheet.
Follow the expedition via Gramwire
Stay tuned to C&K for updates on the Greenland Kite Kayak Supertrip 5000.