Even in the 21st century a crossing of the Greenland ice sheets is a significant undertaking. At more than 2400 km (1500 miles) in length, the ice sheet is the second largest body of ice in the world, behind only Antarctica. Traversing such a wild and challenging place requires stamina, skill, and determination on par with skiing to the South Pole. But now, a Finnish endurance athlete is hoping to complete such a crossing on foot, running the entire way.
Adventure runner Jukka Viljanen has announced that he will attempt to run across the ice sheets eschewing the use of skis to travel on foot instead. If successful, he’ll become the first person in history to accomplish such a feat. In doing so, he hopes to shine a spotlight on the impact that climate change is having in the polar regions of our planet, including Greenland where rising temperatures is already starting to have an impact on the lives of the individuals living there.
Viljanen intends to set out on this journey in April of 2019. He has partnered
with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his home country of Finland for support on the project. Since Finland is currently the chair of the Arctic Council
, it seemed like a good fit for all involved. The expedition will serve as a call for action against climate change, with thousands of runners and adventure junkies following Jukka’s progress throughout the traverse online.
This certainly isn’t Viljanen’s first major expedition. We’ve followed his adventures in the past here on The Adventure Blog as he has run across the Sahara and Kalahari, and traveled to the North Pole and through the Antarctic. Traversing the Greenland ice sheets will be a challenge on par with those undertakings, and perhaps even more challenging. It is a difficult and demanding place, with frigid temperature, harsh conditions, and difficult terrain.
For now, we’ll have to wait until 2019 to learn more about this undertaking. But it should certainly be an interesting one to follow next spring.
Kraig is an outdoor and adventure travel writer based in Nashville, TN. Over the course of his career, he has contributed to numerous online and print outlets, including Popular Mechanics, Gear Junkie, Outside Online, National Geographic, Digital Trends, Business Insider, TripSavvy, about.com, and of course The Adventure Blog.
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