The Greenland Government requires expedition permits for all traffic on the Ice Cap, in the Greenland National Park and for most part of East Greenland.
Excluded are the areas around the two towns in East Greenland, Illoqqortoormiut / Scoresbysund and Tasiilaq (both containing numerous exciting climbs) and all of West Greenland.
See a map of these areas
See admission requirements for the application
Regardless of whether you have been allowed into a restrictive area, or if you climb in West Greenland, where permission is not required, it is important to note that there is no mountain rescue in Greenland. Air Greenland has many helicopters available, but none of them have the necessary equipment to pick up casualties from difficult terrain.
It is therefore essential to possess experience in self-rescue and advanced first aid. It is important to provide the local police with a plan in writing which will show your intended location, time and dates – and to be in possession of an emergency transmitter or a satellite phone.
Although the world’s largest island covers an immense area from 60 to 84 degrees north, summers are startlingly similar in both the south and the north. In July, you would expect temperatures at sea level to be eight to ten degrees (and more), but often the temperature will feel warmer in the dry clear air.
Greenland’s climate is strongly influenced by the presence of a stable high pressure over the Ice Cap, pushing away a series of low pressure from Arctic Canada and Iceland. This often provides stable and hot summer weather close to the Ice Cap and in the deep fjords, but more humid and cool weather closer to the outer coast. Low pressure passage and rain becomes more frequent the further south one goes.
Strong winds can suddenly and un-expectably arise. In particular, the South Greenland “south-east” a special gusty type of wind from the Ice Cap can create surprising challenges for climbers.
The Arctic Circle passes through Kangerlussuaq on the West coast and Tasiilaq on the East coast, allowing you the possibility of experiencing the midnight sun during summer and thereby providing you with an opportunity for 24 hours of continuous climbing. The exception is climbers who choose to climb in the popular southern part of Greenland.
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
All climbing equipment and special provisions must be brought from your homeland. However, basic supplies, meat, vegetables and fuel can be advantageously purchased in even the smallest towns along the coast. Heavy equipment is transported by ship. Calculate minimum of one month for transport from Denmark to the nearest, larger town in Greenland.
INFORMATION ON CLIMBING
There are no official guidebooks showing climbing routes in Greenland! It can make planning somewhat difficult, but at the same time it does provide climbers with a feeling of being the first ones there at a particular site.
However, there are a number of international magazines that regularly report on new routes, for example the magazine Climb’s Mountain info and the American Alpine Journal.
Finally, it is important to notice that there are few drilled bolts in Greenland, no sports climbing and no routes close to the towns. Greenland is a destination for traditional climbers and virtually all areas require some form of expedition approach, such as long hikes, boat hire or permits.