Arctic Patagonia: Steep mountains and deep fjords
Arctic Patagonia: Steep mountains and deep fjords
Duration : 12 Days 11 Nights
The Price : €5
Max People : 14
Start Location: Narsarsuaq Airport
Total Seats : 41/42
Travel Date : Tue 13 Jun , 2023 - Sat 24 Jun , 2023
- Tour type: Hiking
- Duration: 12 days – 11 nights
- Walking per day: 3 – 7 hours
- Group size: Min. 5 – Max. 14
- Accommodation: Hostel, Guesthouse, Camping
- Language: English and French
- Departures/Meeting point: June, July, and August/Narsarsuaq Airport
- Tasermiut fjord and one of the greatest Big Walls on planet Earth
- The town of Narsaq, its museum, the local shops, and the harbour, the heart of town
- Learn about the voyages of Erik the Red and his son, Leif the Lucky when visiting Brattahlid, the old Norse settlement from the year 984.
- Hvalsey 14th century church ruins
The South of Greenland is a region of great variety both in nature and culture. In the bottom of deep fjords, the summer climate is mild compared to the fresh climate at the fjord openings. That’s why deep inside the fjords we find a few sheep farms while traditional hunting and fishing are done further out. The landscape has endless contrasts, and the main ice cap is close and always present in the background. There are colorful mountains, steep mountains, very steep mountains, and of course, ice. Icebergs, of all sizes and shapes, come from glaciers in the area and sometimes from glaciers far up north on the East coast, brought there by ocean currents. Here, the people that know how to survive the harshest climate in the world, called Inuits, are friendly and welcoming.
Late afternoon flight from Keflavík Airport to Narsarsuaq in Greenland. Narsarsuaq (meaning “great plain”) is originally a valley where the US Air Force built an airport during WWII. It is surrounded by rather steep mountains and at the bottom of the valley, an outlet from the Greenland Ice Cap descends into it. Dinner in a restaurant in Narsarsuaq. Night in a youth hostel in Narsaruaq, dormitory style.
Qassiasuk and Tasiusaq
After doing our shopping in the local supermarket we take a boat across the large fjord once called Eiríksfjörður or the fjord of Erik. It was here that Erik the Red built his farm at Qassiarsuk or Brattahlid (in old Norse meaning Steep slope) in the year 984. Learn about the voyages of Erik the Red and his son, Leif the Lucky, the finding of Greenland and Vinland, and other explorations of the Vikings. We visit the replica farm of Erik the Red, the tiny chapel of his wife Thjódhildur, and the statue of Leif, their son. In the afternoon we walk approximately 7 km across the peninsula called Eric the Red’s land, over to the Sermilik Icefjord. Night in a small local hostel at Tasiusaq. 3 to 4 hours walk. Ascent/descent 250m.
Tasiusaq to Sillisit
We start the day by walking along the coast from Tasiusaq to Nunatak, along the ice-filled bay of Tasiusaq. From there we climb a hill to about 300m (900ft) and pass a good dozen of lakes. This is the sheep farmers' land and the paths we are following are sheep tracks. In the late afternoon we come to a tractor’s track and from there is a short distance to Sillisit farm where we stay the night in a sleeping bag accommodation. 6 to 7 hours walk. 300 m accent/descent.
Sillisit - Narsaq
In the morning we walk around Sillisit to see the famous sandstone rocks which the place takes its name from. Around noon we get a boat transport to the town of Narsaq (1400 inhabitants) a little less than one hour sailing away. Narsaq is at the end of the same peninsula we have been hiking for the last couple of days. The town is situated at a strait that connects the Sermilik Icefjord with Erik's fjord, with quite a lot of icebergs in the sea in front of it. If time allows, we go for a walk in the afternoon. Night in a local guesthouse. 3 to 4 hours walk.
Narsaq and Kvanefjeld
We hike to the valley behind Narsaq and on to the Kvanefjeld. Kvanefjeld has many rare metals and ideas of mining the mineral wealth of the mountain have been in the air for a long time. Disputes over these projects even had serious consequences in the political spectrum in Greenland. For the time being all projects of that kind have been put aside and Kvanefjeld decorates the valley with its colorful appearance. We walk up to a mountain pass at the foot of the almost 1400m high Ilimmaasaq, to enjoy the view of the Sermilik Icefjord. On the way back we enjoy a series of waterfalls in the valley. Night in the same accommodation as before. 7 hours walk. Ascent/descent 600m
Free day Narsaq / Blue Ice option
A morning hike to the 680 m high Qaqqarsuaq for a fantastic view over the town and the surrounding mountains. In the afternoon a free day to discover Narsaq, its museum, the local shops and the harbour, the heart of town. For those who want there is a possibility to organize a boat tour to the Qalerallit fjord, where a glacier calves ice into the ocean. Part of the ice is so-called blue ice and makes icebergs of particular beauty. This tour also takes you to a spot where you can touch the inland ice or the main Ice Cap. Night in the same guesthouse. 3 hours walk. 5 hours of optional sailing.
Sailing to Tasermiut fjord
We start the day by sailing to Qaqortoq, the largest town in South Greenland (3000 inhabitants) where we stop for approximately an hour. We then sail to the Uunartoq island where we can bathe in a natural hoULt spring. We then continue to the Tasermiut fjord where we will put up a camp at the foot of one of the greatest Big Wall on planet Earth. It is a wilderness camp of breathtaking beauty at the foot of big boulders once moved by the ice-age glacier. The camp is surrounded by majestic peaks and granite mountain walls stretching up to 2000m (7000 ft). We put up our camp for two nights. 6 hours sailing.
The Big Walls
Depending on whether we walk to the base of one of the big walls, to enjoy the close-up view of these impressive mountains. Our path takes us through lush vegetation, arctic willows and birch before we make it to higher grounds. On the way we might spot an arctic fox and hear the Snow buntings sing. In late summer we might come across some lush blueberries to pick and bring with us for dessert in the evening. Night in the same camp. 7 hours walk.
Walk to Klosterdalen
In the early morning a boat arrives to bring our luggage to Klosterdalen our next camp. We spend the day walking through a tiny birch forest and willows. In the late afternoon, arrival at our camp in Klosterdalen, where Christian monks built a monastery in late medieval times. We camp close to the monastery ruins and enjoy the fantastic view of yet another Big Wall, this one with over 1400 m of vertical granite, stretching up to 2000 m. 7 hours walk.
We spend the day exploring the Klosterdalen valley. Beautiful valley with steep alpine mountains, topped with glaciers. A gorgeous river runs through and an occasional Eagle watches us from the sky. It is understandable that this part of Greenland is sometimes called Arctic Patagonia. Night in the same camp. 6 to 7 hours walk. 300m ascent/descent.
Hvalsey ruins and Igaliku
In the early morning a boat comes fetching us and brings us past the town Nanortalik where we have a short stop before continuing to Hvalsey church ruins. This stone church was built in the 14th century and the ruins are in a remarkably good state. They bear witness to the wealth of locals before the small Ice age set an end to Nordic settlement in Greenland, leaving only Inuits to occupy this cold country once again. After a short stop at the ruins, we continue to Igaliku, once the place of the bishop of Greenland, now a sheep farmers' settlement. Night in a hostel. 6 hours boat.
Igaliku – Narsarsuaq
In the morning we walk the King's Road to Erik's fjord before taking a boat to Narsarusuaq. Afternoon walk in Narsarsuaq before taking a flight back to Iceland. 4 hours walk. 1-hour sailing.