As reported in August, Brice Minnigh, a 1993 Belmont Journalism grad, recently embarked with two friends on a 700-km unsupported crossing of the Greenland ice cap, the world’s second-largest after Antarctica. The trio aimed to travel approximately 20 km a day in average temperatures of -20 to -30 degrees Celsius in order to reach their destination before their food ran out.
However, according to a Sept. 23 article in the South China Morning Post, the trio fell slightly short of their target. “The Hong Kong adventurers were forced to abort their trek through the hostile environment following a catalogue of mishaps that brought them much closer to death than to their destination… After enduring 35 days of relentless blizzards, white-outs and headwinds on severe rations and narrowly escaping dangerous icefalls, their food began to run out.”
The men used a satellite phone to request a helicopter food drop, but pilots were forced to drop the food several days’ hike beyond the men’s location due to the dangerous conditions. Then, one of Minnigh’s companions, Briton David Jessop, 36, fell 20-30 meters into a hidden crevasse, landing on an ice ledge but pulling two sleds with the remaining food with him.
The trio was forced to wait an additional three days for rescue, eating “a foul butter, tabasco and pepper concoction in melted snow” to survive. Airlifted off the ice on day 40, the trio covered a total distance of 530 km.
Minnigh and fellow travelers Jessop and Stephen Wright are no strangers to extreme adventure having previously taken on epic mountain bike journeys across rugged and remote regions, high altitude mountaineering expeditions and treks across vast areas of unexplored wilderness. In 2004, the team skied across the polar icecap to reach the North Pole.
The three men use their adventure trips to raise funds for longtime charity partner ORBIS, a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to blindness prevention and treatment in developing countries. Minnigh will be in Nashville and speaking at Belmont’s Fall Humanities Symposium in mid-November.