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ELLESMERE ISLAND
TRAVERSE

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In winter 2022 Ray and Kevin 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, on land as much as possible, at the coldest time of year. The few expeditions that have been undertaken on Ellesmere Island in the past, journey in the spring when conditions are warm and when 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 Ray and Kevin had planned.

 

Ray and Kevin’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.

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The landscape we’re moving though is unlike anything any one of us has ever seen. Towering granite walls, among the tallest in the world, soar around us, the tombstones of giants from a mythological world. It’s the perfect environment to be tested as a team.

It takes us eight days to complete our the AIP Group expedition across the Akshayuk Pass of Baffin Island but in those eight short days something special happens. We experience something few ever do as we move through this fearsome world of majestic beauty.

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.