Ed Viesturs’ Baffin Island Debrief

Ed Viesturs has sent a post-Baffin Island dispatch to GreatOutdoors.com, who were the exclusive site for following Ed’s recent adventure into the arctic along with John Stetson.

Ed tells us that the return trip was mostly uneventful, but that he and John accomplished what they had set out to do. The expedition had a couple of goals, not the least of which was meeting the local Inuit people and speaking to them directly about the effects of climate change on their lives. Those people native to Baffin Island reported that the waters of Eclipse Sound, where they live, freeze later and thaw sooner than they did 15 years ago. They also reported that the flow-edge ice, where they hunt, has become more and more tenuous as well.

One thing I found really interesting was that the Inuit people have begun to spot new species of birds moving into their territory for the first time. As the area has warmed, birds that traditionally have stayed to the south have begun inching their way further north. What was interesting however was that there were no Inuit names for these birds since they had never encountered them before.

The second goal of the expedition was for Ed and John to test their gear and equipment for a possible trek to the South Pole in the future. Ed says they discovered a lot about their gear and what worked and what didn’t, but most of all they discovered that the Baffin Island trip was too short to really accurately gauge everything they needed to know before setting out to the Pole. To that end, they hope to make a traverse of Greenland in the future to further test their mettle and that of their equipment.

It’s always nice to read these post-expedition dispatches. They give us some insights into what these adventurers are thinking and what conditions they faced while out in the wilds. Ed’s a solid writer too, which made this an interesting read. Can’t wait to see if they actually do go after that Greenland traverse.

Kraig Becker

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