x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ice adventurer bags second historic trip

An adventurer based in Dubai has completed the longest unsupported snowkiting expedition across Greenland — his second world record.

DUBAI // An adventurer based in Dubai has completed the longest unsupported snowkiting expedition across Greenland - his second world record.

Adrian Hayes and the Canadians Derek Crowe and Devon McDiarmid spent 67 days last year covering 4,262 kilometres from the southern to northern tip of the Greenland ice cap.

He set his first Guinness World Record by reaching the north and south poles and the summit of Mount Everest in 19 months and three days. There was no prior record for the Greenland trek.

"It is a nice recognition to have but it is not just about setting records," said Mr Hayes, a former British Army Gurkha officer who is in his forties. "It was a good team effort and I really enjoyed it."

The men dealt with glacial melt water, fierce storms and temperatures as low as -30°C. They had two sleds attached by rope behind them to carry their resources.

"The Greenland trip was much more strategic because we had to check what the weather was like and make sure we could use the winds to our benefit," he said.

"We were using kites to get through rough terrain. We had a lot of challenges to overcome and that is the secret really, to overcome them with whatever we have. That is why we were successful."

The main purpose of the trip was to raise awareness about global warming. The travellers measured the depth of the snow cover down to hard ice throughout the trip to provide scientists with data. They also determined the density of the snow.

"Climate change is one of the adverse affects of living beyond our means," Mr Hayes said. "I used this journey as the most visible example that limitless exponential growth in a finite world cannot go on forever."

Snowkiting is a combination of sailing, skiing and kiting that draws on the basics of Alpine skiing. Ordinary downhill skis are usually used, though snowboards and skates can be utilised. With a power kite or traction kite providing the pull, the skier handles the kite in a manner similar to the mainsail in a sailboat.

 

balqabbani@thenational.ae