Trekking group descending towards Karale Fjord with Knud Rasmussen Glacier and mountains in the background

Trekking Greenland – Unplugged Wilderness Day 3

Day 3 of the Unplugged Wilderness Trek saw us set out in the opposite direction, away from the Karale Glacier and up towards the Knud Rasmussen Glacier.  Unlike Day 2 where it was relatively flat, this hike climbed ~850m up some pretty steep slopes

Trekking companions climbing up the steep slopes as seen from above and below
Testing our fitness hiking up steep slopes. But totally worth it!

for some spectacular views over the Karale Fjord.

Panorama of the Karale Fjord from our high vantage point showing the Karale, Knud Rasmussen and unnamed glaciers.
(L-R): Karale, unnamed and Knud Rasmussen Glaciers along the Karale Fjord.

It was the climb that just kept on giving!  There were stunning tarns.

A large tarn in the foreground with the Rasmussen Glacier in the background
For some reason I have a fascination with tarns. The Knud Rasmussen Glacier is in the background on the right

Fascinating rock formations (I sooooo should have been a geologist!)

Trekking group making their way up some amazing rock formations
I love the patterns in the rocks of this area

Amazing views of the Knud Rasmussen Glacier.

View straight on of the Knud Rasmussen Glacier as we climbed to our high vantage point

And snow.  

Dirty bootprints in pristine white snow
Dirty bootprints (initally forged by Maxime) constituted the trail for much of today’s hike

Sooooooooo much snow, which I think Maxime was specifically seeking out for us to walk through.  

Trekking group following muddy bootprints in the snow
Following muddy bootprints was the name of the game for Day 3’s hike

Now I admit that my Salomon XAPro 3D hiking trail shoes were not the best fit for this particular trek, but when you are traveling for a year and only hiking occasionally there has to be compromises.  And although the Gore-TeX theoretically makes them waterproof, I can tell you right now that’s bullcrap.  My feet had turned into blocks of ice by this point!

Our lunch spot was on a patch of bare rocky ground in the shadow of one of the tallest peaks in the area

The patch of bare rocky ground on which we had lunch, with the mountains towering above us
Amazing spot for lunch

and I thought it might have marked the highest point on our trek for the day.  But no!  There was a lot more snow in our immediate future, though I do acknowledge that Maxime had the worst of it – having to forge a route through it for us to follow in his footsteps.

Several images showing the group trekking through the snowfields on the way to the viewpoint
Top image shows Maxime checking snow depth and creating the bootprints for us to follow

It didn’t matter where you looked, there were incredible views.

Looking down on trekking companions still climbing with a view of the Karale fjord and mountains

Including from the very top. 

Panorama of the Knud Rasmussen Glacier and the Sermiligaaq Fjord in the direction of Kulusuk
Panorama of the Knud Rasmussen Glacier and the Sermiligaaq Fjord in the direction of Kulusuk
Trekking companions admiring the view at the lookout over the Sermiligaaq Fjord
The mild conditions meant that we had plenty of time to admire the views and have Maxime point out the different landmarks of the area 

Fortunately it wasn’t too cold or windy so we spent quite a bit of time enjoying the different views from up here before beginning the hike back to our campsite.  This more or less followed the same route (though there are no paths to follow on this trek so it always just goes where the guide leads), but it was a lot quicker getting down the snowy slopes than it was going up!

Trekking group running down the steep snowfield
Running down a snowfield is so much fun! If you ignore the frozen feet

Filip and I essentially gave up all pretense of trying to keep our feet dry and snow out of our shoes and foot-skied/ran down the snowfield.  Soooooo much fun!  Even though I’d lost all feeling in my feet by the time we’d gotten to the bottom, and both shoes were chockers with snow.

The weather had improved slightly for our journey back for even better views of the Knud Rasmussen Glacier and its surrounding mountains.

Trekking group descending towards Karale Fjord with Knud Rasmussen Glacier and mountains in the background
The views over the Knud Rasmussen Glacier on this day of trekking were incredible!

And the Karale Glacier.

Trekking group passing more tarns with the Karale Glacier prominent in the background
This is actually one of my favourite images from the whole trek

We even had a special visitor – an Arctic Fox – waiting for us when we returned to camp 🙂

The arctic fox that came to visit our campsite in the Karale Fjord

This was a truly spectacular hike, despite the less-than-stellar weather.

Hiking time:  approximately 8 hours

Read more about the Unplugged Wilderness Trek

If this post has piqued your curiosity about hiking and trekking in East Greenland, read about the rest of my adventure on the the 12-day Unplugged Wilderness Tour with Greenland Adventures:

  • Day 1 – Tasiilaq to Kulusuk and along the Sermiligaaq Fjord 
  • Day 2 – Hike to the Karale Glacier
  • Day 3 – Hike to the lookout over Sermiligaaq Fjord and Karale Fjord
  • Day 4 – Karale Fjord camp to Beach camp
  • Day 5 – Beach camp to Bluie East Two
  • Day 6 – Bluie East Two along the Ikateq strait to the Tunu Fjord
  • Day 7 – Tunup Kua Valley to Tasiilaq Fjord
  • Day 8 – Along the Tasiilaq Fjord
  • Day 9 – Tasiilaq Fjord to Tasiilaq Mountain Hut
  • Day 10 – Tasiilaq Mountain Hut
  • Day 11 – Tasiilaq Mountain Hut to Tasiilaq Fjord to Kulusuk
  • Day 12 – Kulusuk to Reykjavik
  • Video Slideshow – of some of my favourite images

If it has sparked an interest in Greenland more generally, learn more about this amazing country at Visit Greenland, and check out the wide range of tours of all kinds (not just hiking and trekking) at Guide to Greenland.

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