For the past few months, we have been working behind the scenes on our next big thing. Since you’re reading about it on our new website, you know already that we are going to cross Greenland without resupplies and using only human power, following the original Nansen route in 2020. Now where our Hardangervidda trip was basically just Lauren and me flying to Norway to ski for a bit, this one is going to be a proper big expedition. We are putting a team together, working with various research partners, and raising money for charity with the trip. In other words, this is going to be a lot more organising work than our Norway expedition. But how do you get something like this off the ground?
When I first learned about Fridtjof Nansen, it was because of his groundbreaking achievements in Polar exploration. He was the first to achieve an overland traverse of Greenland and set a record for farthest North during his Fram expedition. His unique approach to expeditions and inventive talents would serve as an example for other great explorers, such as Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, and Peary. Apart from his Polar achievements, Nansen was also a dedicated Scientist and became a respected diplomat and humanitarian later in his life. His achievements in both these fields are just as remarkable as his Polar exploits and well deserving of a blog post on their own.
On November 24th 1887, a newspaper in Kristiania, as Oslo was called back then, publicised a daring plan, proposed by a young scientist, to cross the Island of Greenland from coast to coast the following year. The man’s name was Fridtjof Nansen and he would go on to become arguably the most influential figure in the history of Polar exploration. At this point in time, Nansen had accompanied the Norwegian sealer Viking to the Arctic at the beginning of his marine zoology career and was a known athlete, having published accounts of his ski journey from Bergen to Oslo and back, but had little to show in terms of Arctic overland expeditions.