See Glowacz’s journey to climb a 500m Arctic wall

The German adventurer and his team pulled sleds across Baffin Island before scaling an epic climb.
© Klaus Fengler
By Corinna Halloran

There’s an age-old saying: life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Well, Stefan Glowacz and his friends just proved that 100-fold on their most recent adventure to Baffin Island.

The mission? Carry all of their gear on sleds across melting and shifting sea ice on Baffin Island, down the Clyde River and then climb the Sam Ford Fjord. Usually this expedition is done with ski-dos or boats, but Glowacz and his team wanted to do it 'by fair means' (aka carbon neutral means). On paper, this sounds easier said than done. Wait, even on paper it really doesn’t either.

“Baffin Island is known by climbers but you usually go either during the winter or summer. We went in June,” Glowacz said. “For us, it was a game with nature and we covered all different aspects. It wasn’t just about climbing a wall and it wasn’t just one single challenge. We had to think about many facets. We had to think 360.”

See, the reality was, they were carrying over 100kg of food and gear on sleds for 28 days across shifting and melting sea ice. They had to protect themselves from polar bears. They also had to live normally, shave, take care of wounds, and do yoga. And they had to eat freeze-dried food. For anyone who has either hiked 28 days in the snow whilst protecting yourself from polar bears, or eaten freeze dried food for 28 days, you’ll know how tough this can be. That said, the reward is often in the experience as a whole – not just reaching the top of the mountain, or island in this case.

But, that’s the challenge Glowacz wants. He wants (and he has always wanted) to push climbing and to push adventure to the next level. To see how far he can go with it. And well, considering he had to sleep with the thought ‘will I be attacked by a polar bear tonight’ for 28 days, I’m going to go ahead and say: he pushed the hell out of adventure in his trek to Baffin Island.

Stefan Glowacz
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