When Nansen set out in 1988 to cross the Greenland icecap east to west, he knew, he would either reach the west coast as planned - or not. There was no way back and no hope for efficient help.
Today, rescue is possible. We bring VHF radios, and of course we are going to bring a satellite phone. We are even going to bring two of them. In case one of them breaks. We have two batteries for each of them. And we we will also have two solar panels, and two buffer and storage batteries to recharge equipment as the satellite phones. Yet still many things could potentially go wrong. What if both satellite phones are damaged and we are in difficulty? What if we run out of battery and the solar panels are broken when we need help? What if all of our pre-paid satellite phone units are already spent right when we get in trouble?
This is why the rescue procedures are regulated by the Government of Greenland and why the expedition office requires in their "Cover letter for sports expeditions in Greenland" to bring a personal locator beacon as the last resort:
"5.1. Radio requirement and permit
All expeditions are required to bring as a minimum one Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), one portable marine VHF radio and one satellite phone."
|... are required to bring as a minimum one Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) ...|
|... one portable marine VHF radio ...|
|... and one satellite phone.|
The cover letter further states:
"5.1.1. Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) requirements
Projects and expeditions taking place in uninhabited areas (i.e. outside towns, hamlets, or stations) in North and East Greenland, anywhere on sea ice, or on the Ice Cap are required to bring an approved (certified) emergency radio beacon ('Personal Locator Beacon': PLB). The PLB must be capable of simultaneous transmission on 121.5 MHz / (243M Hz) and 406 MHz with a 121.5 MHz homing device and continuous transmission using an internal power supply for at least 24 hours at an ambient temperature down to -20° C."
We just bought a brand new Kannad Safelink Solo PLB. Normally when getting new equipment we are all excited to unbox it and to try it out as soon as possible. This one is a little different though - we hope to never use it at all...
Normally when getting new equipment we are all excitedto unbox it and to try it out as soon as possible. This one is
a little different though - we hope to never use it at all...