Meet the Explorers Crossing the World’s 20 Largest Glaciers for Climate Change

Børge crossing glaciers

Over the course of ten years, polar explorer and National Geographic grantee Børge Ousland and his expedition partner, Vincent Colliard, are crossing the world’s 20 largest glaciers. As the accompanying video attests, pushing themselves to their physical limits amid some of the harshest landscapes on Earth won’t keep these two adventurers from having a good time. Arctic ping-pong matches, epic sled races, and other good-natured battles between 52-year-old Ousland and 28-year-old Colliard are par for the course.

Still, the impetus for their expeditions is a fairly serious one: documenting climate change. Why risk life and limb to show what’s happening to the world’s glaciers? Ousland believes, “You can show a lot with scientific reports, but to go out there and really show the visual part of it, come home with the videos and the stories and meet people along the way that live close to the glaciers—I think that’s equally important.”

After 30 years of exploration, Ousland has witnessed climate change firsthand. “I’ve been about 20 times to the North Pole and I can’t even recognize the landscape up there now. In the early ’90s the ice was two to three meters thick, but now there’s a 30 percent reduction of the polar ice cap.”

Ousland found that climate-driven transformations have even erased some of the former routes he once explored. “I did a trip in Patagonia in 2003, which I repeated in 2013. I was insistent on doing the route we had done ten years ago, but it was not possible—I couldn’t recognize the route, I couldn’t find my way.” The glacier Ousland expected to traverse had sunk so far down that the crevasses were impassable. “It was a shock for me to experience that,” he says.

Børge Ousland traverses the challenging landscape on his glacier-crossing expedition.

But Ousland’s main concern is far —> Read More