In May, the snow in Norway melts and the days get longer. You start wearing tank tops and flip flops again and the sun begins to warm your body. Summer has finally arrived. But for Camilla Ringvold, it would not be for long.
Coming off of an impressive season; being part of the first female team to finish the Varanger Arctic Kite Enduro as well as winning the Red Bull Ragnarok, Camilla Ringvold, along with Kjersti Aass, decided to embark on a kite adventure across the Greenland icecap. This year, Camilla didn’t store away her winter gear in May as she usually did. She packed two pulks including her favorite Cabrinha Velocity kites, some skis, skins, ice-axes, tents, a really warm sleeping bag, a satellite phone, an inReach Delorme satellite tracking device as well as some other communication gear, and shipped it all to Greenland. While most Norwegian kiters were Instagramming their first water sessions of the season, Camilla was packing food and gasoline for 30 days on the Greenland icecap. She was prepared to kite the long distance from South to North, a journey of 2500km. After kiting across the Atlantic ocean, and numerous times across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in Norway, this was her next big challenge. But this journey was not a commercial one, no backup, no guides, no rescue, no people to help her out if anything would happen, just two girls, their chosen gear, and a lot of snow and ice.
They chose to take the trip fully unsupported. Instead of taking a helicopter to get up on the ice, they hiked and pulled their pulks, weighing about 80kg each, up from the bottom of one of the numerous glaciers close to the small town of Narsaq. After two days pulling their pulks uphill, the wind finally arrived, and their journey by kite began.
Kiting on the south end of the Greenland icecap was tricky, the wind was light and inconsistent, slowing the girls down tremendously. But after reaching the 67th parallel north, the wind picked up from the South, providing them with some great days where they would cover up to 250km per day in a 12 hour session. Camilla and Kjersti dealt with the freezing conditions, with temperatures dropping as low as -30degrees Celcius, and completed their trip without any major frostbites. Camilla explained, “As long as you have the right gear, it’s amazing how much your body can handle”.
Getting down from the icecap, might have been the most dangerous part of the trip. Camilla and Kjersti descended down the Bowdoin glacier between horrifying crevasses and unsteady snow bridges for 3 days until stepping on solid ground, “the most memorable moment of the whole journey,” Camilla recalls. They had arranged to be picked up by two inuits and their dog sleds at the end of the glacier, and after a 10 hour ride to finish their trip, they arrived at town of Qaanaaq, a small inuit community with 600 inhabitants and 1200 dogs. Camilla explained, “it is one of those places you’ve only read about in National Geographic, and actually meeting the people and learning their traditional way of life was a humble experience”.
Upon returning from her Greenland trip, Camilla went on to win the Red Bull Battle of the Sund, a kite race from Sweden to Denmark and back. With an impressive list of contest results and even more extraordinary kite travel trips behind her, she is definitely a name to remember. Where will her next adventure take her? We will wait and see!