Irish adventurers successfully cross Greenland Ice Cap

clareoleary

Posted on: 6th July, 2015

Category: Features

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

clare3Irish Duo Mike O’Shea and Clare O’Leary from Bandon, recently completed a 600km crossing of Greenland Ice Cap. Clare talks to Mary O’Brien about the experience.

This was Clare and Mike’s sixth expedition in what they have dubbed ‘The Ice Project’, an attempt to cross all the major ice caps of the world. The journey took 24 days and covered over 570Km, in a year that saw the greatest snowfall in 20 years and the biggest number of storms. The pair joined up with six others and three teams of dogs, in what was the first use of dogs in a decade. The control of the dogs was under the European Dog Sledding champion from Norway, Sigrid Ekran. The team initially travelled for seven days man hauling the sleds before meeting Sigrid and the dogs, and made slow progress as they were hampered by deep snow and a series of storms.

“It was a tough trip,” says Clare. “I enjoyed working with the dogs but having to look after them as well as yourself made the crossing harder,” says Clare. “They’re trained for hunting, not pulling sleds all day so it was very tough on them too, especially with the ground so soft.”

The temperatures averaged -20 to -30 but got as low as -50+ with windchill. The team travelled between 10 and 16 hours per day, and spent up to five hours melting snow and ice for water for both themselves and the dogs.

The final 124km, over 20 per cent of the journey was covered in 52 hours as there was a Pitteraq (a cold and potentially devastating katabatic wind) forming off the coast. The team travelled with just two breaks totalling eight hours and struggled through 20 hours of deep snow and winds that blew snow horizontally.

clareoleary2“At one stage, one of the tent poles snapped the wind was so severe,” says Clare. “One of the guys got frostbite on his face and another girl got chilblains on her thighs. We lost three days when we couldn’t move due to the weather conditions so had very little sleep in the last few days, covering 120km in 56 hours.”

Clare O’Leary from Bandon is an accomplished adventurer with many seasons on the world’s great mountain ranges and polar regions. In 2012, Clare was named as one of Ireland’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women and awarded the Trailblazer Award by the Women’s Executive Network. As part of the Ice Project she has crossed the North Patagonia Ice Cap and Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Clare hopes to complete the three poles with this North Pole expedition.

Latest News Articles:

Global Shares to create 80 new jobs
Ford 100 Fest on Ford family farm to mark 100 years of Ford in Ireland
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival launches delectable programme
Healing with a harp
Plan the perfect wedding day at the Fota Island Resort Wedding Forum
Clutching at straws for Coalition
Lee’s and Nils: West Cork clubs in the city
The walk of a lifetime
West Cork farmers take gold at National Farmer of the Year Awards
Shining success for Union Hall Centra store at 2017 Quality Awards

Join us on Facebook

Dunmanway Historical Association regrets to announce that the talk on Sile na Gig which was to take place on Thursday, 24th August in Atkins hall @ 8:30pm has been cancelled. ... See MoreSee Less

18th August, 2017  ·  

This year Wild Atlantic Tag sponsored by Marine Harvest will take place in Adrigole on Saturday August 5th. All are welcome, whether you are a team entry or an individual looking to join a team. The teams will be divided into two sections, Social & Seriously Social! Please contact Sean (0879568363) or Joey (0879865827) to register. It promises to be great craic with plenty of refreshments available pre and post-match! Fantastic local musician Eoghan McEllhenny will entertain the rugby masses from 4.30pm followed by Peadar O’Callaghan and renowned Natural Gas will round off the night from 9.30pm! ... See MoreSee Less

14th July, 2017  ·  

A woodland walk will take place on the 22nd June at 7pm in Glengarriff Nature Reserve. This is a great opportunity to learn about woodlands, their plants and wildlife and is an opportunity not to be missed. Glengarriff Nature Reserve was designated as a Nature reserve in 1991, and covers over 300 acres in size. It is a beautiful and unique woodlands containing many different habitats and is owned and managed by NPWS primarily for conservation and amenity purposes. The event is led by National Parks Ranger Clare Heardman and has been organised by Cork Nature Network For further information please contact events@corknaturenetwork.ie ... See MoreSee Less

19th June, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top