Greenland: Arctic Circle Trail

Overview

Time of year: Arrival in Kangerlussuaq 8th September 2024
Duration: 12 days guided trekking (travel time extra)
Grade: Strenuous – Demanding
Max group size: 10
Fees: €3,500pp
Additional costs: Flights, personal travel insurance

Highlights

  • A destination of dreams – see Greenland’s vast, but melting ice-sheet for yourself
  • Guided multi-day hiking through stunning, remote landscapes
  • Wild camp where few have ever been
  • Sunrises, sunsets, amazing night skies and the potential for Northern Lights
  • Option to make it private: couples / friend groups / clubs

What`s included

  • Briefing(s) & online training in advance (zoom)
  • Training weekend in Wicklow covering campcraft, river-crossings and more
  • High quality logistics planning and support
  • Guided by insured, UIMLA Certified, International Mountain Leader(s)
  • Accommodation, in-country breakfasts, dinners, incl. celebratory dinner
  • All specialist kit (tent, sleeping bags, stoves etc.)

Greenland: Arctic circle trail

Hike Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail with us through remote wilderness and witness first-hand, the rapidly melting ice-sheet.

Greenland. Home to the world’s second-largest ice-sheet. Home also to the Inuit people who have hunted here for over 4,200 years. It’s pretty much as remote as it gets. Pristine wilderness that we are privileged to share with you as responsibly as we possibly can.

Following the principles of Leave No Trace, we will hike Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail from the ice-sheet itself to Sisimiut, a pilgrimage of sorts. Bearing witness to the rapidly melting ice-cap should serve to remind us of our impact on this planet and just how much leaving no trace really matters.

Greenland: Arctic Circle Trail Deposit

Secure your place.

€200.00

What’s Involved?

On arrival into Kangerlussuaq, we get straight into expedition mode! Our first night is spent in hostel style accommodation with a large meeting area to sort our expedition kit. We have our briefing and pack for the first part of the trail. The next morning, we send on a change of clothes each to await us in Sisimiut and get our transfer to the ice-sheet at Pt. 660, to start our journey on foot.

This visit to the ice-sheet is followed by our first afternoon of hiking and our first night of camping near the phenomenal Russell Glacier which extends out from the ice-pack. The next day, we walk (back) to Kangerlussuaq via the ridge where we spend a second night in our hostel accommodation, packing the rest of our food and making any necessary adjustments to our kit. These first two days are not actually on the ACT itself, but the ice-sheet is simply unmissable and many people who hike Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail start here for that very reason. It also gives everyone a chance to get a handle on their kit, dust off the camp-craft skills and make any last-minute adjustments.

The following morning we begin the Arctic Circle Trail proper from Kellyville. Roughly following the Arctic Circle itself, the trail traverses the rolling hills of the arctic tundra for over 160km, show-casing its autumnal colours, many lakes and perhaps even some snow-capped mountains. Snow is not unusual at this time of year and nights can be quite cold, but our specialist kit will keep you comfortable in camp.

We walk an average of 17km per day at a gentle pace, carrying our own packs (start weight can be 20kg) and are utterly self-sufficient in this remote wilderness. As such, you do need to be an experienced hiker with good strength, fitness, mobility and mental resilience. You will need have enough left in the tank to assist in setting up camp each night and be a true team player.

With luck, we should see reindeer, musk oxen, arctic fox and hare, along with several bird species, some of which are quite rare. We aim to cover enough ground to arrive in Sisimiut after 9 or 10 days of hiking.

Celebratory dinner at our hotel on our final evening together is also included. But before that… the well-deserved hot tub and sauna!

Warning: This type of experience induces cravings for more.

Banner photo used under licence from Visit Greenland. All other photos were taken by adventure.ie staff and/or participants and used with their permission.

Greenland: Arctic circle trail: Who’s it for?

So, you want to hike Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail. Is it for you? Do you hike regularly on our trails and mountains here? Do you have any multi-day or through-hiking experience? You have plenty of time to train for it if you need to. Naturally the 11 or 12 days on trail, carrying a heavy pack is physically demanding attracting a grade of ‘strenuous – demading’. There are no mules or porters, it’s all down to you. And because of that, the rewards are immense.

September 2024 [Arrival in Kangerlussuaq 8th September]: 12 days of daily hiking incorporating 1 buffer day.

Greenland: Arctic Circle Trail Deposit

Secure your place.

€200.00

A 2 day plus 1 night training weekend in Wicklow is included for all participants, along with ongoing training support and assistance.

This training weekend (8th/9th June) will cover kit, foot-care, packing, camp-craft, river crossings etc., in addition to undertaking an overnight camp plus a long hike carrying a heavy pack to simulate a day on the Arctic Circle Trail.

Training around expedition nutrition will also be provided.

Greenland: Arctic circle trail: Accommodation

We are based in shared hostel style accommodation in Kangerlussuaq for nights 1 and 3. Night 2, and nights 4 through 11, and possibly buffer night 12, will be spent in tents. Two nights comfortable hotel accommodation is reserved for you in Sisimiut. Breakfast and dinner is included. Be mindful that one of these nights is our buffer night and we may be still on the trail. (Rooms are allocated to 2 people sharing. Single rooms possible subject to supplement and availability).

The hotel is extremely cosy. A welcome shower, hot tub and sauna await our weary muscles and a celebratory dinner beckons.

Some people like to end their trekking holiday by staying on a few days to undertake additional tours in the area – either in Sisimiut, Kangerlussuaq (all return flights are via Kangerlussuq) or Ilulissat (Disko Bay – famous for its icebergs). You are probably only going to visit here once in a lifetime, so make the most of it. We encourage and recommend this as it supports the local economy.

We’ll provide you with a full kit list and will go through this with you during an online briefing. All participants receive a 20% discount on purchases in our store in advance of departure.

ACT GreenLand FAQs

How many days will I be trekking?

Either 11 or 12 days. One of those days, from Pt. 660 is a short day and may include bus transfers. One day is reserved as a buffer day in case we are slower than expected due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances.

Do I need experience?

Participants must have prior hiking experience for this trip. Preferably you will have hiked multiple days back-to-back and have some experience camping off the beaten track. Whilst it is guided and we’ll support you every step of the way, from booking to helping you finish your celebratory dinner, you will be carrying your own pack, setting up your own tent and cooking your own food. It is remote. It is challenging. This is definitely in the type 2 fun category. But the rewards are insane.

I’ve done ECB/Kili/similar in the past. How do these trekking trips compare?

The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy this trekking experience. We won’t be going to altitude, but you won’t have porters or mules to carry your kit either. Not going to altitude means we won’t have rest days. Once we start, we keep walking. The fitness required is similar, just add a heavy pack to your training regime.

What kit do I need?

We’ll provide a full kit list in advance. If you hill-walk in Ireland, you’ll likely have most, if not all of it already. We provide the specialist equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, stoves etc.

How many participants will there be?

Up to 10 participants led by a UIMLA certified International Mountain Leader and an assistant. 1:5 ratio.

If I organise a full group to sign up – can you operate an ‘organiser goes free’ policy?

Yes and no. If you are a club or charity group – the answer is yes for activities, kit hire, meals and accommodation, but no for travel/transfers (but you can ask the airline about a group discount!). We offer this in recognition of the amount of work undertaken by the lead person in a group. Depending on how much is involved at your end, some organisers use this discount to lower everyone’s costs, some use it for themselves – that bit is up to you! T&Cs & minimum numbers apply. Be aware that if your group numbers fall, below the minimum, you will be required to pay in full.

What do the fees include?

> Group training weekend in Wicklow with ongoing advice & support
> Hostel accommodation in Kangerlussuaq, breakfast & dinner
> Shared hotel accommodation in Sisimiut, breakfast & dinner
> On trail breakfast & dinner
> Postage of change of clothing to end of trail
> Expert guiding and tuition by UIMLA certified International Mountain Leader
> Any specialist equipment required (tents, sleeping bags, mats, stoves etc.)
> In-country (Greenland) group transfers
> Offsetting your impact for this trip [including offsetting your flights]

Are flights included?

Flights are not included. For a few reasons, not all our clients are based in Ireland. And it also gives you the freedom to tailor your trip and explore more after your trek! Some people like to head up to Disko Bay to see the icebergs and travel home from there for example. You can book Icelandair through our travel partner. These flights are quite expensive, but you may prefer this option for peace of mind because they are bonded. Air Greenland offer more reasonably priced flights from Copenhagen, however you should still budget around €1200 for your flights to & from this remote region. Copenhagen is accessible by a number of airlines, some bonded, some not. Air Greenland are not bonded by travel agents. As such, we recommend you check the small print on all airline websites, consider your travel insurance package and decide what suits your circumstances best.

What is not included in the price?

> Flights (as mentioned above)
> Lunches, snacks and beverages – training is provided on lightweight, calorie dense options
> Personal travel insurance to include guided trekking, missed flights, remote rescue & repatriation and anything else you wish to do in the area
> Meals and beverages off trail other than those explicitly stated as included
> We post 1 change of clothing per person to the hotel at the finish subject to weight limits. You are liable for postal costs over this weight.
> Additional tours you might like to do
> Anything not expressly stated as included

Do I need any vaccines for Greenland?

We advise that you are up to date with any vaccines you have for life in Ireland/EU. According to the Tropical Medicines Bureau, for Greenland, you should have an up-to-date tetanus (booster shot) and flu jab. They additionally advise consideration be given to Hep A & B which many travellers and health-care workers may already have. Using the link provided, check what’s involved and decide for yourself.

One vaccine we would advise to get is for rabies. There have been sightings reported of aggressive foxes on the ACT. Whilst the likelihood of being bitten by a rabid fox is extremely low, given the remoteness of the location and the length of time it takes for a rescue, it is advisable to take precautionary measures.

What sort of weather conditions can I expect?

Daytime temperatures in this part of Greenland in September is not unlike an Irish winter. Average temperatures are in around 5-10 degrees during the day and around -5 at night, though colder and milder are both possible. It’s generally a drier month than August, but do expect rain and potentially snow.

What’s the on trail food like?

We aim to pack the most nutritious calorie dense yet lightweight food possible. We use a mix of dehydrated meals and real food and you “cook” yourself. A typical day would begin with porridge fortified with extras such as dried fruit/seeds and a hot drink. For lunch, you might decide to take wraps with salami or other lightweight filling and have a mug shot. Dinner will involve a dehydrated trail dinner such as REAL field meals by Drytech or real food that heats by soaking in boiled water such as TentMeals. Other additional snacks you provide yourself.

Do I need additional insurance?

It is essential and a condition of the booking contract, that all participants take out additional travel insurance for the trip. In addition to cancellation, missed connections, lost baggage etc., this should include cover for remote rescue and repatriation to your home country. Your insurance must list Greenland as a destination and have guided trekking as an activity. Let us know if you need details on insurance companies. We also advise that you apply for your EHIC (formerly E11): Irish residents. UK residents.

Join us for 2024.

Greenland: Arctic Circle Trail Deposit

Secure your place.

€200.00

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