Translations allowed

Shapeless Fulfillment

Inspired by a nomadic sense of exploration, Adventure Photographer and Polar Guide Ben Haggar attempts to be the first person to traverse the Arctic Circle Route in West Greenland by bike in the ‘summer’ months. Beginning at the Greenland Icecap and finishing in the coastal town of Sisimiut, Ben (travelling solo) finds himself battling through rough terrain, loneliness, trench foot, and extreme weather. But, finds solace in the simple act of moving across the barren tundra as well as a few kilometres of beautiful singletrack.

Ben Haggar

The animated blue dot on the pixilated computer screen morphed into purple with an unholy black centre as the storm increased in strength over the ice choked waters of Baffin Bay.  In two days time, this Beaufort force-10 storm with 100+ km/hr winds and 30 foot seas would be right on top of the Akademik Ioffe before making landfall along the coast of Western Greenland.  Although the situation on board was unsettling, the thoughts of the expedition team turned to me, their friend and co-worker who, only two days before, set off alone into the Greenland backcountry.  And I had no idea that this brutal force of nature was headed directly towards me.  

My idea was simple when viewed on a map from the comforts of my living room: move two wheels from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ along the Arctic Circle by any means necessary. In my case, point A would be the Russell Glacier – a tongue of ice extending off the Greenland Icecap – with Sisimiut, the second largest ‘city’ in Greenland, as point B, roughly 200km to the west.  Sparsely shrubbed tundra, scoured gneiss rock slabs, and gigantic lakes lay between the two points. To simplify things slightly, there was a route (not-so-creatively named the Arctic Circle Route), scratched into the landscape by cloven Caribou hooves, and the Vibram soles of a few European hiking boots.  

First I had to get there. Sure, I could have flown in to Greenland, attempted the trail, and left – but where’s the adventure in that? Instead, I would earn my keep driving zodiacs, interpreting the northern Arctic landscape, and keeping adventurous visitors safe in the land of Ursus Maritimus aboard a vessel in more likeness to an iceberg than a ship.  

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