Leo Houlding in action snowkiting

Leo Houlding in action snowkiting

A renowned British climber has returned to the Arctic wilderness of Greenland – to try his hand at snowkiting.

Leo Houlding, who accomplished a major ascent on the Mirror Wall on the world’s biggest island last year, will attempt an unsupported 1,000-mile expedition to one of the most northerly towns in the world.

He admits he is a relative beginner at snowkiting, but he will be accompanied by a kiting expert – who has never been on a major expedition.

Leo Houlding and Bruce Corrie check in with their kit at the airport

Leo Houlding and Bruce Corrie check in with their kit at the airport

Cumbria-based Houlding and Kendal resident Bruce Corrie have embarked on the month-long venture from Kangerlussuaq in the South-West to Qaanaaq. The Berghaus-sponsored climber only started snowkiting a few years ago and is still learning the skills that he will be putting to use during his latest expedition, which will be a new experience for him.

Bruce Corrie

Bruce Corrie

Corrie has been snowkiting for 28 years and is one of the UK’s foremost practitioners of the activity. The pair hope the combination of their expertise and experience will help them complete 1,000 miles in Greenland over the next month.

Leo Houlding said: “Traditional polar travel has never really appealed to me: lots of suffering, little excitement, not much of a view.

“However, throw modern snow kites into the mix and suddenly the balance of fun rapidly tips. I’ve been playing around with kites for the last few winters and finally feel I can say that I am a competent snowkiter.
“It’s not as easy as it looks; there is a lot of power in those big kites and a lot to be mindful of when travelling over terrain at speeds up to 50 mph with all kind of obstacles and hazards to manage.

“It’s very literally going to be quite a ride for Bruce and me, and I hope that people will enjoy following our progress.”

Although communications with friends and family back home are expected to be challenging, Houlding and Corrie will send as many updates as they can, which will appear on a dedicated page on the Berghaus website.

Leo Houlding is a relative novice at snowkiting

Leo Houlding is a relative novice at snowkiting

Houlding will also share what he can through social media channels @leohoulding on Twitter, @leo_houlding on Instagram and on his Facebook page. In addition, anyone who is interested in following their progress will be able to use a live tracker which will go live as soon as they touch down on the ice later this week on the Berghaus website.

Bruce Corrie said: “I’m a 51-year-old, stay-at-home dad and now I find myself heading out to the polar expanse of Greenland to embark on a month-long expedition with one of the world’s top climbing adventurers; I do wonder how I got myself into this situation.

“I am experiencing a mixture of trepidation and fear with a very small amount of excitement. We have a good plan, great equipment, appropriate skills and a flexible mind-set to cope with the inevitable problems that will occur. Somewhere between a nightmare and a walk in the park is where it will be, and I am hoping for the latter.”

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