words by Meghan Kelly
Since we launched Shifting Ice + Changing Tides, the response has been overwhelming. We get requests almost daily to join the trip or to be added to the waiting list. We have to admit, the trip sounds amazing – that is how we came up with it! Dream big and go for it has been our motto from the start, but between dreaming and going, there has been more than a year of hard work.
As you may know, the spark started with our application for the Polartec Challenge Award. After something like 40 hours of research, writing, and rewriting, and Skype chats our team was awarded an opportunity to take our dream expedition off paper. It seemed like a lot of work at the time… but we were just getting started. Once the fire was started, we had to follow through with some real logistics. That meant finding a boat that was in Iceland, available for charter, and could fit six of us. This took us quite a bit of time, but we eventually found the perfect match and partnered with Thierry Dubois and the La Louise.
Next, we had to find accessible and skiable terrain and objectives. Our constraint was time. The longer our trip, the more expensive it would be. So we restricted the trip to 3 weeks which restricted the terrain we’d be able to access. Our skipper Thierry has made a similar passage along the southwest coast of Greenland quite a few times and has good information on where the coast is accessible at that time of year. With only this to work with, Martha obtained some maps and we started planning using the combination of maps and Google Earth. During the trip we’ll be putting this information into a GPS unit to access the sites via boat or dinghy.
There is so much more we have to physically do to prepare for the trip – prepping a first aid kits, physical conditioning, mental conditioning, reviewing essential skills like crevasse rescue and rappelling, calling and emailing every skier and sailor that has been to that region. But by far the hardest part has been raising the funds for the trip. We are lucky to have three great partners in Polartec, Climate Reality Project and Backcountry.com, but we are looking and applying for grants and sponsorship weekly and discussing how we might fill the funding gap. We’ve had multiple hour-long Skype calls, a team meeting in Jackson were some team members traveled over 11 hours to get there, over 1,000 emails, and 5 working Google documents. With the trip less than 3 months away, the amount or work we still have to do seems daunting, but the messages we receive from our supporters fuel our fire.
Over 12 months ago at the beginning of this process, I don’t think any of us could have conceived how many hours we would be pouring into this project. However, it is a labour of love, there is nothing better than seeing your dreams rise off the paper and into reality.
We’d like to thank everyone in advanced for all their support and inspiring words. Shifting Ice and Changing Tides is full speed ahead. It may be a bumpy ride but we are heading to Greenland!