Scientist Alun Hubbard and an assistant descend into a glacier while studying the Greenland Ice Sheet, the 3km-thick mass of ice that covers 80 per cent of Greenland. It contains 10 per cent of the world’s resources of fresh water and its complete melting would raise global sea levels by seven meters.
Greenland – Been There

“It would be a waste of time even looking for you!”

Photo by Justine Evans

Greenland – Been There “It would be a waste of time even looking for you!”

As my plane descends into Kangerlussuaq, Greenland’s largest international airport, I get my first sneak peak of the massive ice sheet that covers the island from head to toe.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

Most of the town’s population of 500 works at the airport and Kangerlussuaq’s cluster of functional buildings sprawl close to the runway boundary fence. There is only one road out of town, built by Volkswagen for testing cars under extreme conditions and leading to the edge of the Ice Sheet. Reaching it after a 90-minute drive in a rugged four-wheel-drive truck, I find it is hard to grasp the scale of what I am looking at. It is a landscape of cliff face, broken rocks, valleys, frozen waterfalls and peaks – but all made from ice shining blue-white in the weak northern sun. It is truly desolate, ever changing and still marked “Unexplored” on maps.

This extraordinary cliff of blue ice is a last remnant of the ice sheet that covered the Earth during the Ice Age and is more than three-km high at its thickest. It contains ten percent of the world’s resources of fresh water and the best estimate is that it would raise global ocean levels by seven meters if it melted.

“There are few places like this left on earth,” says my friend Hans. “We are a short distance from an international airport and a small town, yet you could walk in there and never be seen again. It would be a waste of time to even try looking for you.”

For the first time, you can earn a commission on every travel booking you make. Learn more now!

greenland5809s-4798-copy

Thousands of adult seals are killed annually by hunters such as this one near Tiniteqilaq in East Greenland but the large seal population is not under threat. Most remote communities depend on seals for survival, with the meat being the national dish and the skins sold for making hats, gloves and furs. Photo by Peter Adams

Peter Adams

Peter Adams

Canon 1DS II

Aperture
ƒ/6.3
Exposure
1/125
ISO
125
Focal
165 mm

Thousands of adult seals are killed annually by hunters such as this one near Tiniteqilaq in East Greenland but the large seal population is not under threat. Most remote communities depend on seals for survival, with the meat being the national dish and the skins sold for making hats, gloves and furs.

Other stories about Greenland