Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Trekking Iceland's Extreme Latitudes

Belgian explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke set out on Saturday for Iceland where he will attempt to become the first person to walk solo, and unsupported, from the country's extreme latitudes, going north to south. The expedition will also serve as training for a return trip in the winter, when the same journey will present some very different challenges.


Lou-Phi says that the route will be approximately 370 km (230 miles) if it were done "as the crow flies", but he expects to cover closer to 560 km (348 miles) when he actually has to wind his way across lava fields, over glacial rivers, and possibly up and over volcanoes as well. He's also set an ambitious schedule for the expedition as well, as he hopes to travel light and fast, covering 30 km (18.6 miles) per day, wrapping up the entire journey in 19 days time. 


Obviously Lou-Phi is no stranger to long, unsupported treks through hostile environments. After all, he did cross the Simpson Desert back in 2008 all by himself. This journey will be a challenging one for sure, but it  is as much of a scouting trip as anything else, as the real challenge will be when he returns in the winter to make the journey a second time.


According to his blog, he also hopes to use the trek to do some research that could lend itself to future expeditions to Mars as well. Lou-Phi says that he'll conduct "cognitive tests under intense stress in extreme environment and possibly other studies on the effect of darkness while exploring new ground." That research could possibly aid NASA in the future as they prepare to send astronauts on the long and isolated voyage to the red planet. He also points out that Iceland is where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trained before going to the moon, and that the country has also served as the testing ground for the Mars rovers as well. 


The expedition is set to begin next Monday, and we can expect updates from the field on Lou-Phi's blog as he goes. Trekking in Iceland sounds like a pretty great way to spend the summer. Good luck my friend!


You can find out more on the trek from this article at ExWeb as well. 

13 comments:

Buzz said...

In 2008 Andy Skurka walked across Iceland E - W, about 500 miles. Said it was fairly moderate; he ran the Leadville 100 mile trail race 10 days later and finished 2nd.

Belgian Adventurer said...

I have found about 10 people who walked across Iceland.
To my knowledge, only 2 made a traverse without resupply from coast to coast (N-S or E-W) .

Andrew has another style: long distance and very lightweight. Andrew is "supported" (food resupply, use huts, use bridges, use man-made tracks or buys food underway)
My style is unsupported. I try to avoid track & humans as the scientific study I do is biaised if I meet/speak to people.

I carry a "film crew" on my back :)

This is how I can look when pushing boundaries of unsupported trips (49kg of gear/food, 49 days unsupported, 500+ km alone): http://louphi.blogspot.com/2008/02/1-year-ago_23.html
The last 16 days I was injured.

I did 1 hour training walking with 25kg last week. That's my training. I'll probably walk up to 16-18hours some days.

Paulo said...

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Christopher Mike said...

L-P is setting himself a hard target to do this twice but I wish him every luck. Actually, he will not be the first person to walk unsupported between the extreme North and South points of Iceland. That was first done in 2008. If he can do it in winter however, that will be a first.

Adventure Junkie said...

Thanks for the correction Christopher. I saw the same thing over at ExWeb as well. Doing this in winter will indeed be a challenge.

Lucas said...

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Alastair said...

I hope all you readers don't mind me sharing my own experience of crossing Iceland with you here:
http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/adventures/transiceland/
Thanks
ALastair

Christopher Mike said...

Well done Alastair. Spending the night before an expedition drinking heavily, chasing girls and eating endangered species is what it's really all about. It makes me feel proud to be British. As a mutual friend of Ben Saunders I can see where you get your inspiration. Bravo.

Christopher Mike said...

Well done Alastair. Spending the night before an expedition drinking heavily, chasing girls and eating endangered species is what it's really all about. It makes me feel proud to be British. As a mutual friend of Ben Saunders I can see where you get your inspiration. Bravo.

Anonymous said...
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Christopher Mike said...

What quantity of sunputty will be required to cover the Antarctic and Greenland icecaps and stop the effects of global warming?

Adventure Junkie said...

Good question Christopher! LOL!

The spammers have been out in full force recently, and it takes a lot of time to track them all down.

Haruto said...
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