In the summertime you will be well warned about the insects that spring out of the millions of little water holes you find anywhere near the coastline in Greenland. So a good mosquito repellant and a net to you hat would be good to pack for your journey.
When you are going north of the polar circle you will not hear any barking as Greenland has a none tolerance policy relating to pet dogs for the purpose of keeping their breed of sledge dogs pure and strong as they have to be to live outdoors all year in the artic climate. The sledge dogs are so closely related to wolfs, that they also cannot bark and just howl. On that note cute as they may look you have to be very careful around the sledge dogs as they are not bread to be pets but pull animals for the dog sledges.
So before venturing out in the wonderful wilderness you better plan your trip very well. For shorter and longer trips a look at the weather forecast is a good idea. Even if the weather forecasts are getting more and more reliable for longer trips always be precocious and inform someone where you are planning to go and when you will be back.
Find your destination on one of this websites.
When hiking in Greenland you will soon enough discover that the trails are non-existent and that you may have to chart your own course. With the terrain as it is, you are bound to run into canyons, rock faces, small gorges, unexpected scree, rivers, bogs - you name it. Some of these suprises may involve some dangerous traverses, especially if you have to cross slickrock areas wet by meltwater, rain or ice. I would think fall accidents would be the biggest subjective danger when trekking on Greenland - depends on your decisions and abilities. Just be very careful!
The weather in greenland is extremely volatile. Do not underestimate this fact when you go out hiking or skiing, especially in remote areas.
The presence of the cold ocean, cold glaciers and easily warmed rocks in the summer sun create low clouds, fog, strong winds and what not. The local climate is quickly influenced by the shape and quality of the terrain. Low pressures marching in from the southwest and high polar pressures in the north-east guarantees instability...
Be adequately equipped for your trip, and bring radio commuications equipment if in remote areas. Check weather forecast and ask locals about the conditions.
Musk oxen seem very docile and tame - but lo and behold! are they volatile. The closest comparison is the Indian rhino: its faint thought that this may be an enemy is immediately followed by a charge... just to be sure...
While tourists get quite close in the Kangerlussuaq area, the danger zone set by Norwegian wildlife authorities (at Dovre National Park, Norway) is no less than 400 meters. Closer than that and you are at risk of being charged, flipped and torn by irritated musk oxen. There may be a warning, typically snorts and stomping or a family group or small herd backing up bum-to-bum in a circle or semi-circle with the young ones in the middle. Or there may be a charge with absolutely no warning. Yes, they may seek to run away most often, but do you chance it doesn't?
I paid a lot of money for a whale watching boat trip in Aasiaat. I was assured by the guide that they see whales 'every time they go'. We did not see anything close to a whale. I found out later it wasn't even whale-watching season yet.
So my advice is not to take any whale-watching tours if it isn't the prime season for them, no matter what the guide might say.
The huge delta near the airport of Kangerlussuaq has undefined quicksand fields. It is considered very dangerous to venture out onto these sand and silt flats.
In fact, the entire inner part of the Kangerlussuaq fjord is very shallow, filled up by glacier debris and silt following three major catastrophic GLOFS - glacier outflow surges.
The beast of burden in Greenland, the Grrrrrreeenland dog, is a delight and a pest...
Used in the winter for dogsled transport in the Ilulissat area (where I visited), they are chained down in the summer. Each owner has his place and shacks of equipment and dogfood (local, dried halibut) inbetween housing blocks and other dwellings, so it takes on a slightly slum-like appearance. Here live the dogs, and beware - do not venture into these areas of dog territory. The local maps are marked red on designated dog areas with a warning issued. Dogs are protective, territorial as well as hungry for company, so they won't have placid coach dog attitudes. Dogs in heat are let loose and cause quite a stir among the chained-down male dogs, and the female selects a partner. With pups the dogs can be furious, so the general advice is to stay clear of them unless the owner is there inviting you to come and see them. Dogs who have gotten away from their chains -troublemakers - are often shot on sight. Day and night the dogs' howling add to the Arctic feel of the place. Difficult sleeping at night? Bring earplugs.
Polar bears can be a major problem where they occur, but on Greenland’s west coast there is an area between Nanortalik in the south and north of Disko at about Upernavik where there rarely are any at all. This is mainly for climatic reasons: the polar bear is an expert seal hunter, and seals occur in suitable masses in the pack and drift ice. Sea currents take the ice southwards on the east coast, but on the west coast there is a largely icefree area in the areas mentioned - lack of drift ice, and therefore very few seals.
Outside these areas, though, you will need to be aware of the presence of polar bears. Dogs can keep polar bears away when they are properly trained.
When hiking along the Icefjord, in particular near the mouth where the icebergs are pushed over the bottom shelf, stay at least 20 meters above the watermark! And do not camp or kayak in this area. The flood waves from tipping icebergs can be enormous and can reach very high and far ashore. Two campers in a tent got dragged into the sea right there just before I visited.
You are obviously in constant danger of frost bite. Rembeber to dress warmly. There will be occasions when you believe that it is much warmer than it actually is. Don't believe it! Don't wander away from your source of heat or transportation.
Crossing frozen arctic regions is not an easy task. One of the big problems is a supply of fresh un frozen water. Soon after you left base the water u hold in your bottle will freeze. Always carry special heating tools to melt snow or ice. Do not eat snow!! it will chill your inside organs and can cause Hypothermy. The photo was taken one hour after we left Qanaaq still have liquid water in the bottle.
Be aware of mosquitos in the summertime. Also when you are walking in the nature especially in the area surrounding Ivittut you can meet musks. Normally they are not dangerous but don´t go too close.
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