In winter 2022 Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab attempted a 1000km self-contained ski traverse across Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. They faced challenges they could never have anticipated.
The two explorers had wanted to traverse the full length of Ellesmere Island, south to north, at the coldest time of year. The few expeditions that have been undertaken on Ellesmere Island in the past, have travelled in the spring when conditions are warmer and the sun remains high above the horizon day and night. These expeditions typically travel on the sea ice around the island for ease of travel, avoiding the challenging overland sections that would grind them to a halt. No adventure team had ever crossed Ellesmere Island as Kevin and Ray had planned.
Kevin and Ray's Ellesmere expedition was selected as the Canadian Geographic Adventure of the Year for 2022. It was selected on its merits as a bold undertaking and because of its ambitious goals. The explorers wanted to do more than just ski across Ellesmere, they wanted to share the journey with the world.
We discover the strengths and weaknesses of individuals but draw closer together as a team. And by the end something is different. The Akshayuk Pass remains unaffected by our temporal tale but in its presence we’ve been changed forever.