TransGreenland 1986

  • Start date: May 1986
  • End date: End of June 1986
  • Start / end point: Tasiilaq-Kangerlussuaq
  • Total km: 700
  • Duration: 55 days
  • Challenges achieved: First Spanish crossing of polar ice cap


During the spring of 1986, Larramendi and four friends, between 19 and 21 years old, began a great adventure which surpassed the Trans Iceland 85 expedition of the previous year. It was about crossing Greenland by foot and with skis from east to west, a feat that no Spaniard had ever done before, and doing it autonomously, without any external support. Along with Larramendi embarked José Bellido, Gabriel Cárdenas and his brother Gonzalo Cárdenas and Pedro Guevara on the adventure. To be able to finance the trip, they had the funds earned the previous year with the Nescafé prize “Your adventure is worth a million” and some minor sponsorships.


On May 13, after crossing the Sermilik fjord (southeast of Greenland) from Tassilaq with some fishermen, they started the journey from Kulusuk westbound, loaded with seven pulkas, weighing about 100 kilos per person. Their goal was Jacobshaun. To get their bearings, they carried maps, a sextant and compasses. They soon entered ‘Inlandsis’, the ice desert, where they found a more unstable climate than was expected. During the first 20 days, they had very little visibility and hardly traveled 10-15 km each day, facing the risk of losing their way. As the weather did not improve, and with the risk of running out of supplies, they decided to end up in Sondre, a location on the west coast closer to the one originally planned.

From day 20 of the crossing onwards, the weather improved and the clouds disappeared, but the temperatures dropped to -30ºC, causing face freezing of some expedition members. To avoid utter exhaustion, they made four shifts of two hours each day with half an hour of rest between them. On each shift, they would take turns leading and treading snow.

On June 21st, with the summer solstice, the unfathomable and monotonous white landscape began to change and hills began to appear on the horizon. On June 23rd, they found water at 1,000 meters of altitude, when their objective was 600 meters. Three days later, crevasses surrounded them on all sides and they had to cross an extensive and dangerous area, dragging their pulkas and skis. Finally, on June 29th, they spotted land and two days later met the first humans in Sondre Stromfjord, an American base on the coast. From there, they initiated the return.

Expedition images

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