Will Gadd delves beneath Greenland ice
Canadian alpinist Will Gadd travels to Greenland with glaciologist Jason Gulley to better understand the movement of meltwater underneath the icecap.
"I’ve been to some of the craziest places on earth, and climbed some pretty insane stuff. But this is another level." Canadian alpinist Will Gadd neatly sums up his recent experience of exploring caves under Greenland’s ice sheet, in the name of exploration and research with Jason Gulley, the glaciologist and professor at the University of South Florida.
Their plan involved delving into the ice cap in the Paakitsoq region of Greenland and then, once they hit the water table inside the glacier, diving even further to gain a better understanding of how ice caps move and melt.
After a first trip in August 2018 to identify a suitable moulin, a shaft within the glacier that carries meltwater from the surface to the bedrock, they then returned in October when the raging summer stream had transformed into ice, allowing for an initial foray. Much to their surprise instead of the predicted 200m drop, they stumbled across a huge frozen cavern just 80m below the surface.
Although continuing on was too dangerous and a dive simply out the question, Gadd still considers this one of his most successful trips of his life. "we learnt that the model everyone is using for the Greenland ice cap needs revising" explained Gadd, adding "we made a genuine scientific discovery that has an impact on how people look at melt in Greenland."