In the summer of 2016 I had the opportunity to travel to Greenland on-assignment for The Clymb, Visit Greenland, and Air Greenland. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Here’s why Greenland should be your next adventure:
Growing up just below the Canadian border I learned to enjoy colder climates from a young age. The islands of the Northern Atlantic have always fascinated me, and I liked the remoteness and mystery of Greenland. It’s an undiscovered gem when it comes to adventure travel and has yet to be instagrammed by the masses, but with a country the size of Greenland located where it is, I knew there would be amazing terrain and a fascinating culture.
To my surprise, the summer climate in Greenland was quite enjoyable and refreshing compared to the hot dry summers we’ve become accustomed to in the US. For the most part the temperature during the days was around 60°F, with nights dropping into the 40s. The most important thing to bring is a well broken in pair of waterproof hiking boots. The terrain is rugged, and by the glaciers and lakes you can encounter some damp ground. Bring a packable puffy jacket and a waterproof shell. While we didn’t encounter rain, the shell was nice for staying dry when fog rolled in and for blocking wind when out on boats. Everything in Greenland, including dining, is very casual, so don’t worry about bringing “fancy” clothes, it’s best to stick to technical synthetic or lightweight wool layers. Finally, don’t forget your sleeping mask. Being located where it is, Greenland has almost 24 hours of light during the summer.
The entire trip was incredible! But for the sake of talking points, I would have to say the ice, the wildlife, and the food. It was amazing to see the flow of ice from land to sea. Starting out by standing on the icecap, then getting up close to the massive flowing glaciers, and then finally seeing calving glaciers turn into icebergs by the sea. The size of the ice will amaze, it’s nothing like what can be seen in lower North America. I saw more wildlife in Greenland in two weeks than I’ve seen in the last two years. It was amazing to be so close to caribou, musk ox, arctic hares, arctic foxes, whales, seals, and seabirds. Although they are not wild, the Greenland sled/working dogs were also amazing to see up close especially with how closely they resemble wolves. While fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by, the local meat and seafood was incredible. Seafood comes right off the fishing boats into the kitchen, and caribou/musk ox meat is hunted within a few miles of town.
“I saw more wildlife in Greenland in two weeks than I’ve seen in the last two years.”
What made this trip so special?
While Greenland does share some characteristics with other glaciated destinations, you can’t beat its remoteness. It was very special to be able to experience this wild space without any crowds, noise pollution, or distractions. The solitude that can be found in Greenland makes you feel like a true pioneer and explorer. It was one of the rare adventures where I feel like I came out a different person. I felt so refreshed, energized, and ready for more. Not to mention, the Greenlandic people were amazing. Never have I met such kind locals while traveling that were so excited to share their history and traditions with travelers. It was truly a once in a lifetime adventure.
Photography & story provided by Kyle Maggy. Born & raised in Upstate New York, mountains and skiing have always been a big part of Kyle’s life. After relocating to the West Coast, and eventually Portland, Oregon, you can now find him splitting his time between skiing & climbing in the Cascades, surfing the Northern Pacific, and traveling.