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What to bring - Trekking by the Ice Cap in the land of the Norse
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Trekking by the Ice Cap in the Land of the Norse

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A 10 day trip to South Greenland during which we will encounter all aspects of the magnificent landscape, by sea, over land and in the air. We experience spectacular fiord boat trips, trekking in the hill sides surrounded by fiords and glaciers and finally an amazing helicopter trip deep into the Sermilik fiord, where we fly along the impressive glacier front of the largest glacier in southern Greenland. Some of the world’s most remote and beautiful wilderness awaits us deep in the wilderness and nearby the edge of the ice cap. Starting from Camp Eqalorutsit we have 3 fabulous hiking days ahead of us in surroundings dominated by deep blue fiords with huge icebergs, potent glaciers and mountains rising up to a 1000 m. Furthermore the trip offers visits to a number of interesting localities, where the history of the Norse settlements manifests itself in the shape of ruins and reconstructions. Finally we visit a number of settlements and not least the “capital" of Qaqortoq — Julianehåb.

  • A helicopter trip deep into the Sermilik fiord and along the glacier front of the largest glacier in southern Greenland - Eqalorutsit Kangilliit Sermiat
  • Wilderness camping and hiking near the largest glacier in southern Greenland - Eqalorutsit
  • Amazing boat trips on for instance Eriks fiord, Tunulliarfik) and Igaliku fiord (Igalikup Kangerlua)
  • Trek through Blomsterdalen “Valley of Flowers" to Den Døde Bræ, “the Dead Glacier" close to Narsarsuaq
  • Guided tour and lecture of the ruins and reconstructions of the Norse settlements at Brattahlid, the farm of Erik the Red
  • A good chance to see the raven, white-tailed eagles, Arctic sparrows and snow hares. Sometimes seals can be seen in the fiords during our boat trips
  • A 2 days´ visit to the old Episcopal residence of the Norse settlement - Igaliko, as well as beautiful trekking in the surrounding area
  • Trek to the mouth of Qooroq Icefiord, at the foot of the impressing Burfjeld
  • Experience Qaqortoq (Julianehåb) - said to be Greenland’s most beautiful town


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Day 1. Arriving in South Greenland and sailing to Igaliku (Itilleq)

We fly from Denmark to Narsarsuaq. Immediately upon arrival we walk to the harbour and sail to Igaliku’s seaport — Itelleq. The boat trip brings us across the underwater moraine in the mouth of the Qooroq fiord, where the icebergs strand on their way towards the open sea. It is amazing to get close to these giants. We arrive at Itilleq from where we walk the old “Kings Road" and this takes approx. 1 hour (the road is named after the Danish King Frederik 9th's visit in 1952). Igaliko is a picturesque Greenlandic village with colourful houses placed in the middle of the lush and green landscape bordering the high and barren mountains and the azure waters of the fiords. We will spend the night in a hostel in Igaliko in double rooms.
-/-/D
Day 2. Igaliko and trek to the foot of the Burfjeld Mountain

The area around Igaliko invites us to do magnificent treks. From Igaliko we follow the turbulent river towards a beautifully situated lake - maybe you feel like a cold dip in the waters. From the lake we have an ascent in a marvellous area to a plain. Here we can enjoy our lunch and the magnificent view of the calving glacier and the icebergs drifting by in the fiord ahead of us. The fiord is filled up with icebergs from the Qoorooq glacier — a glacier arm from the ice cap, which produces not less than 200,000 tons of ice within 24 hours. Here at the foot of the Burfjeld Mountain, 1752 m - home to a viewpoint since the Norse period - there is a great chance of finding the Greenlandic moonstone and other gem stones.
It is possible to return the same way or take an alternative route through the mountains back to Igaliko; this will be decided according to the current weather situation. After reaching Igaliko we have the rest of the day to enjoy the historical remains from the Episcopal period of Igaliko during the Norse period. The ruins of the Norse are impressive. The Igaliko of today was founded in 1782 A.D. as the Norwegian Anders Olsen and his Greenlandic wife Tuperna decided to settle in this place and wanted to earn a living from farming. Today the majority of the inhabitants in this settlement still earn their living from farming. The church houses a museum also worth a visit.
B/L/-
Day 3. Boat trip from Igaliku via Upernaviarsuk to Qaqortoq (Julianehåb)

Today we have a fantastic boat trip to Qaqortoq ahead of us. We leave Igaliku harbour and sail through Igaliku Fiord (Ejnars Fiord) with Qaqortoq peninsula starboard. On this boat trip we might be able to see sea eagles and maybe seals, most likely ringed seals or fiord seals.
South of the Qaqortoq peninsula we make a stop over at Upernaviarsuk, the Government of Greenland’s experimental farm and agricultural college as well as experimental station. The station houses sheep, cattle and horse farming and horse-ranching as well as fields for plant-breeding trials. There are also a number of trials ongoing with general cultivation of vegetables and horticulture in the station’s horticultural centre where it is possible to buy cucumbers. The visit to Upernaviarsuk gives us an insight into the possibilities of global warming for Southern Greenland! From Upernaviarsuk we have only a short boat trip to Qaqortoq ahead of us and we arrive late in the afternoon. Once accommodated at the folk high school we now have time to take a closer look at the beautiful town and the nearby area.
B/L/-
Day 4. Morning in Qaqortoq and a boat trip to Narsarsuaq via the Qooroq Fiord

Qaqortoq means "white" and is South Greenland's biggest city with approx. 3500 inhabitants. Qaqortoq is also South Greenland's education centre and holds a high school, business school and a public school. In addition, several businesses are set up in the area such as Great Greenland with its own tannery and workroom. It is possible to do an interesting guided tour and experience the process of making raw sealskin into beautiful fur coats. Every where in the city you will meet and be able to study the city's art project "stone and man" - a project carried out by the city's artists, among others Aka Høegh, who have transformed the city into a park of magnificent sculptures. Take a rest in the middle of the city square and enjoy the oldest fountain in Greenland and experience the vibrant activity around the local fish market "Brættet", where today's catch of fish, seal and whale is sold. The town museum is definitely worth a visit as well. Qaqortoq Museum is located in the oldest building in the town from 1804.
In the afternoon we head back to Narsarsuaq by boat. At first we head slightly north and then head east through Eriks Fiord. We pass by Narsaq and as we pass the mouth of the Qooroq Fiord with its many icebergs we enjoy our last ice fiord sailing for now — an event worth repeating. We arrive to Narsarsaq hostel where we will spend the night.
B/L/-
Day 5. Sailing to Qassiarssuk and a helicopter trip to Camp Eqalorutsit

Late in the morning we head off to Narsarsuaq harbour and sail the short trip across Erik fiord to Qassiarsuk. The helicopter will bring our luggage for the trip to the “wild camp". We can leave any extra luggage at the hostel where we will be reunited with it on day 8 in the programme.
Qassiarsuk is also known as Bratahlid, the village where Erik the Red settled down in the year of 985. The ruins of the settlement are relatively well restored and naturally we will be studying them before we leave the settlement. Thus we will have a guided tour accompanied by a lecture on the settlement. The approx. 50 inhabitants mainly live off sheep-breeding. However, the small settlement also houses a school, a church and a store.
The sound of the rotors is soon to be heard and we get ready for the exciting trip ahead of us. The trip takes us across the water and deep into the Sermilik fiord heading north-east. The Eqalorusit Kangilliit Sermiat glacier and the giant ice cap dominating the horizon to the east soon rise in front of us. We fly across the fiord along the “Akuliarusersuaq nunatak", whose mountain sides fall almost straight down to the sea from a 1000 m. Once arriving at the glacier we turn eastwards along the impressive glacier front where ice towers and deep glacier clefts are visible to us. The helicopter drops us off in the “Nordbo" valley close by the glacier.
We will soon be accommodated in our tents and can now start exploring the camp and the surrounding area.
B/L/D
Day 6 and 7. Trekking at Camp Eqalorutsit and the Eqalorutsit Kangilliit Sermiat glacier

We will enjoy the wilderness far from civilisation the next couple of days. Each day we will go for a longer trek in the area (without pack!), however, there will be plenty of time as well to do trips on your own, for instance go fishing. Obviously we will go on a trek along the southern edge of the glacier, and from here we have excellent views of the glacier at close hand. The area is superb as an object lesson how glaciers shape and affect the nature through its unbelievable forces of power. Thus our great experiences near the ice cap help us understand the Ice Age’s impact on the formation of the fiords and the moraine landscapes in Denmark in its proper perspective. Once back in our camps we have time for relaxing and camp life while enjoying the magnificent nature.
B/L/D
Day 8. Trek through Nordbodalen to Qinngua and a boat trip to Igaliku (Itilleq)

After breakfast we put on our day backpack and start our trek into the Nordbodal. The trek to the sheep farming place Qinngua takes approx. 6 hours in incredibly beautiful terrain. We walk in the valley with views to mountain hills on a 1000 m. to both sides. We reach Qinngua by the coast early in the afternoon and the boat takes us through Eriks Fiord to Narsarsuaq. In Narsarsuaq we are once again accommodated at the hostel.
B/L/-
Day 9. Trek to “The Dead Glacier"

To day we will take a closer look at Narsarsuaq as well as going on a magnificent hike. The trek leads us from Narsarsuaq through the ‘Hospital Valley’ and the ‘Flower Valley’, and we have an impressive view of the glacier. The valleys have been created by the ‘Dead Glacier’ which we will encounter subsequently. The hike leads us along the Narsarsuaq River with its spring at the ‘Dead Glacier’. For the interested it will be possible to do a hike that leads all the way up to the glacier, experiencing the incredible forces that have formed the surrounding landscape through millions of years. From this exact glacier it is possible to encounter the characteristic blue ice which derive from the below layers of the ice cap. Due to the severe pressure from the above layers of ice, the air is pressed out and only the blue colours of the water can be seen. We trek back to Narssarsuaq, now with a view to Eriks Fiord.
B/L/-
Day 10. Departure Day

It is time to say goodbye — and possibly a reunion to Greenland? In the morning we will have time to visit the interesting museum in Narsarsuaq, which contains a great collection of pictures from the Second World War when Narsarsuaq airport was an American base for planes crossing the Atlantic between Europe and the United States.
B/-/-
Meals

Meals included are marked in the itinerary with B (breakfast), L (lunch), and D (dinner). Meals not included are marked with -

Onboard Air Greenland flights between Denmark and Greenland free meals and a selection of beverages will be served.
International departure

This trip is sold internationally, which makes it possible for non-Danes to book the tour. In that case the tour will be conducted in both Danish and English by a Danish tourleader.
South Greenland — the garden of Greenland

South Greenland is green, fertile with a diversified landscape and nature constituting deep fiords and high mountain ranges. The towns are situated close to each other, but open country is always nearby. In South Greenland you will find all the attractions of Greenland: icebergs, the ice cap, fiords, green hills and picturesque towns and settlements. South Greenland is far the best place in Greenland for trekking.
Narsarsuaq

Narsarsuaq means “the great plain" and in a country as mountainous as Greenland with only a few large flat areas, it was only natural to establish South Greenland’s international airport here. Narsarsuaq was founded in 1941 as an American airbase just 9 km (5½ miles) away from the ice sheet — or around 3-4 hours on foot through the fertile “Flower Valley", where South Greenlandic sheep-farmers grow grass for winter fodder. Approx. 150 people live in this settlement.
The Narsaq Peninsula

This is one of the most beautiful hiking areas in South Greenland. Here you will find lakes and mountains with a fantastic flora and varied bird life. Many locals earn a living from sheep farming and some of the sheep farmers have rebuilt their former houses, which we use as hostels on this tour.
Igaliko

Only 50 people live in Igaliko. The houses are situated at the head of the fiord and surrounded by redish coloured mountains. Nearby is the mountain Illerfissalik “burfjeldet", known for its moonstones. Igaliko has a long history, going all the way back to the time when Erik the Red was living in South Greenland. It is a very special area - green fields and colourful Greenlandic houses are found right next to the blue fiord. In Igaliko there are many sheep farmers, descendants of the Greenlandic people who first farmed the area hundreds of years ago. A walk in the mountains might intrigue you to investigate the beautiful and colourful stones which are to be found everywhere. In Igaliko there is only one shop, but it supplies the whole settlement with the most necessary items, such as sugar, clothes, petrol and tools.
Camp Eqalorutsit by the ice cap

The tent camp is situated east of South Greenland’s biggest glacier — Eqalorutsit Kangilliit Sermiat. With an hour’s walk to the glacier from the camp we enjoy a fantastic 360 degree view from the camp to the giant glacier, the icy fiord, Nordbo Valley and not least the mountains of which many raise up to a 100 metres. A small sheep farming cabin is situated near by the camp and equipped with a simple toilet (no shower). We will spend the nights in 2-person tents on sleeping mats. The participants will be involved in day to day duties such as cooking, dishwashing. For those interested it will be possible number of places to fish for cod and trout, so you might want to bring a telescope fishing rod.
Hostels

You will be accommodated in hostels in Qaqortoq, Igaliko and Narsarsuaq. The hostels are well equipped with kitchen, bedrooms with bunk beds, toilets and showers. It is possible to cook your own meals in the kitchen in Qaqortoq, Igaliko and Narsarsuaq. In Camp Eqalorutsit we will spend the 3 nights in 2-person tents.
Single rooms

It is not possible to stay in a single room during the tour. You must be prepared to stay in rooms with more than 2 persons at the hostels, according to the present situation.
Participation

A tour like this requires full participation, and everybody will be involved in day-to-day duties such as cooking, baking bread and dishwashing. The tour leader will organise the group into teams in the beginning of the tour.
Grading

This tour is graded 3. In Greenland there are no established trails, and we hike cross-country most of the time. The luggage will be transported between the bases by tractor or boat. You will only need to carry your own day-pack. At the Camp Eqalorutsit stay you should only bring the most necessary (clothes, sleeping bag, toiletries etc.), as you will be carrying your bags on this day (a 6 hours walk)
Duration

10 days - 5 days of trekking and 5 boat trips on the blue-green fjords. The boat trips vary in duration between 1/2 and 2½ hours.
Treks are of 5 to 8 hours duration. The durations given here are guidelines and can vary from tour to tour. There are several days where participation in the programme is optional, and the tour can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
Climate

The average temperature in the Narsarsuaq area in June and September is approx. 12-17°C. If the sun shines from a clear blue sky it can be much warmer in the daytime. Because of the dry air the weather will feel much warmer than in comparable temperatures in most other European countries. It can be a little foggy in the mornings but it usually clears up later in the day. Rain and showers may occur. Please note that the weather in Greenland can change rapidly.
Currency

Danish kroner (DKK). In the small villages only cashis accepted. In Narsaq, Igaliko and Narsarsuaq it is possible to use the most common credit cards.
Electricity

There are only a few opportunities for charging batteries on this tour. Please bring plenty of spare batteries for your camera etc. In Narsaq and Igaliko the access to electricity is very good.
Mobile phones

It is possible to use mobile phones in certain areas of the trip. In general we urge you not to use mobile phones when with the group in order to not interrupt the treks and excursions with conversations over the phone.
Maps

Maps are preferably bought locally in Greenland
Walking map of South Greenland, Narsarsuaq 1:100.000
Walking map of South Greenland, Narsaq 1:100.000or
South Greenland, 1:250.000 (www.arcticsunmaps.com)
South Greenland - Østerbygden 1:250.000
The price includes

Flight from Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq - and return, taxes included
Danish speaking tour leader
All accommodation in 2, 4 or 6 bedded rooms and 2 persons per tent (3 nights in Camp Eqalorutsit)
6 nights in hostels in towns or settlements
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
Boat trip between Narsarsuaq and Qassiarsuk
Boat trip between Qinngua — Narsarsuaq
Boat trip between Narsarsuaq - Qooroq Moraine (ice fiord sailing) and Igaliko (port Itilleq)
Boat trip between Igaliko — Upernaviarsuk (experimental farm and agricultural college)
Boat trip between Qaqortoq and Narsarsuaq
A helicopter trip from Qassiarsuk to Camp Eqalorutsit via Sermilik Fiord (Brede Fiord)
Luggage transportation to and from the airport and harbours
Luggage transportation between accommodations
Conducted tour at Erik the Red's settlement - Brattahlid in Qassiarsuk
Contribution to the Danish Travel Guarantee Fund
Not included

Personal travelling expenses for souvenirs, maps, drinks and beverages throughout the tour etc.
Cancellation and travel insurance
Meals as indicated in the itinerary. It is possible to cook your own dinner in Narsaq, Igaliko and Narsarsuaq, which will cost approx. 30-50 DKK
Entrance fees to museums etc.
Rental of kayaks, fishing equipment etc.
Please note:

The program is subject to alteration. A trip like this is very dependent on weather conditions; such as changes concerning wind, precipitation and ice. As a consequence of this some delays or cancellations of some parts of the program may occur, especially those that concern flight or boat transportation. No compensation will be offered within the first 24 hours of delay or change of program due to circumstances that can not be influenced by Topas. Your tour leader will aim to lessen the inconveniences and fill out the time with an alternative program.
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