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  /   Expeditions   /   Vanessa Francois in Greenland

Vanessa François in Greenland

Huskys in Greenland

I am passionate about the mountains and I was roaming them until April 2010 when I had an accident which left me paraplegic. Since then, I continue climbing thanks to the solidarity of plenty of friends, who accompanied me on my climbs (El Capitan in 5 days, Le Grand Capucin in 2 days). I also love finding new friends and exploring new horizons through them. This March 2016, thanks to François Bertrand (alpine guide) and his ship Atka, I had the opportunity to discover Greenland. François, who knows the Poles better as his back yard (he stopped counting the expeditions he organised there) is a very generous person and he wanted to make it possible also for others to discover Greenland, by inviting them to spend time on his boat who was wintering (blocked by ice) in a small bay.

Vanessa Francois

I was accompanied by two friends Eloïse and Marcelle with whom I was training in cross-country skiing this winter in order to be able to face the climate of Greenland.

Starting from the Oqaatsut village (25 inhabitants), thanks to the ice sheet, we were able to reach the ship with cross-country skis. It was incredible to ski on the sea; obviously, we had to be careful all the time where we put our skis, because there are some holes and it’s not the best idea to take a swim there in this season!

Vanessa skiing in Greenland

I was full of an incredible emotion for being able to accomplish this dream, cross-country skiing in this silent universe full of colours so bright!

During these 10 days, I roamed the ice sheet on skis every day and benefited from mild cold (-10°), the snow, good weather and spring conditions. I was surprised by the quality of the sliding which was very good. When there was too much snow, Marcelle was making a trace for me and so I could slide alone behind.

I spent one night on the ship. Even if it wasn’t the best adapted, I felt really happy and my dream was continuing!

Ben also brought us to spend a night on the ice sheet in his tipi, which I reached by skiing. With LYOFOOD and the sleeping bag -40°, I had, once again, a magical experience!

Vannessa Francois eating Lyofood products in the camp

These 10 skiing days and the other experiences on the ice sheet were possible in spite of my wheelchair, thanks to a beautiful solidarity chain of friends who made this polar vastness possible.

Returning to Illulissat, we made a trip with sled dogs. A very nice experience, who gave us the impression of better understanding Greenland. It’s not at all a calm activity, actually, the sledge can go up and down on abrupt slopes of rocks, it’s impressive!

With its icebergs, its polar nights, its northern lights, its Inuits, Greenland is a mysterious and fascinating country. We relish our chance of having experienced all this!  

Vannessa Francois in front of her boat Atka

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