This 28-Day Trek Leads to a 1,600-Foot Arctic Wall

German adventurer Stefan Glowacz and team pull sleds across Baffin Island before their epic climb.
By Corinna Halloran

There’s an age-old saying that life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Well, Stefan Glowacz and his friends just proved that a hundredfold on their 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 up the Sam Ford Fjord. Usually this expedition is done with Jet Skis 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 ...

"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."

The reality was, they were carrying over 220 pounds 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, even do yoga. And they had to eat freeze-dried food. For anyone who has hiked 28 days in the snow while fending off polar bears and eating freeze-dried food, you’d know how tough this sounds. 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. And, well, considering he had to sleep for 28 nights thinking, "Will I be attacked by a polar bear tonight?" it's safe to say he pushed the hell out of adventure in this trek on Baffin Island.

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