Maewan – Extreme skiing and mountaineering in Greenland

Maewan – Extreme skiing and mountaineering in Greenland

The call of the high seas Finding your path
to the inaccessible The crashing waves Walking on water It’s a dream come true You’re on top of the world. The Maewan project is a four-year
voyage around the world. Maewan is a base camp,
for mountaineering, ice climbing, freeride skiing,
and big-wall climbing projects. And Maewan is also the name of my boat, the starting point for the adventure. “Mathieu, are you re-learning
how to coil a rope?” From now on it’s “line”
instead of “rope”. I dare you to say, “pass me a line”
next time we’re in Chamonix! Right now, they think they know
what they’re doing! We’ll teach them to coil a rope
without any twists. I get it! A well coiled line… Is a poorly coiled rope! Having spent a lot of time in the mountains,
this project was a natural next step, sailing as a means to access
otherwise inaccessible terrain. The goal was to organize a shared mountaineering,
sailing, and freeride skiing experience. My goal was to sail
from Iceland to Greenland, to visit fjords that had
never been skied. I even steered the Maewan. Which was cool, but not as simple as you’d think. These memories will last a lifetime! Erwan is a world-class mountaineer. Erwan Le Lann? He’s crazy! He’s the right man for the job. And originally from Brittany,
which is also reassuring! I totally underestimated
the sailing part. I didn’t truly understand
what I was getting into. In Greenland, I learned that the skippers
didn’t know what they were getting into either! Good thing I was clueless before leaving! I had some sailing experience,
thought I was ready. But really, I had just floated
along Corsica’s coast. Here, I truly sailed the high seas! But even then,
I was aboard the Louise! That boat is bigger,
and always warm and dry below deck. The Maewan is one or two stars
lower in comfort. There’s no heat, it’s smaller, slower,
and humid below deck all the time. On the Louise, you can recuperate. On the Maewan, you just can’t recuperate. It’s like a base camp at 5000m,
where your body is constantly worn down! You’re always exhausted. We were hit by winds up to 50 knots. Heavy seas with waves
crashing over the deck, sailing in these conditions
is extremely technical. Can you help me put my glove on? “What’s up, Captain?” We’re waiting for things to pick up,
since it’s been a bit too calm from the start! We’ve been riding waves
at over 20 knots, an exceptional feat. All in all, the boat is doing well… even on its side! After the first strong winds, I thought, “if it’s like this when we hit
the sea ice, what are we going to do?” I could see things
taking a turn for the worse. For me the boat is home,
it protects us. But in the sea ice, you feel like
you’re destroying your home. Even though this is an aluminum boat,
I felt like we were harming the boat. The next big boom I’ll… This is dragging on a bit too long… The boat is wet
inside and out… I can’t wait
until the skiing part. Thank you Le Lann! I had my doubts, but now
it’s clear why I came… Though I’ve often cursed your name,
like when puking on myself. This is one of the most
beautiful sights I’ve ever seen! We thought navigating through
the channels was an accomplishment, And then we saw a village… Last night, after the five-day traverse, we partied hard! Sailboats usually only come
here in the summer. This is the first time that
one has come here in April. I think you’re pretty crazy! It’s windy, icy, and cold,
pretty dangerous for a sailboat like yours. What a crazy experience. Sailing from Iceland to Greenland, and then through the sea ice
to go skiing… Totally different
from what I’m used to. My focus has been
freeride skiing: helicopters and 4-star hotels… Night and day compared to this… Which I actually prefer! We don’t have a plane
or helicopter or Sherpas… We’ve been totally
self-reliant from the start. Incredible snow, a fantastic line. And then 1000m of powder
down to the sea, to end the day
with a nice hot meal… on the Louise! You have to stay humble
in this environment. The situation can
change very quickly. And weather forecasting
is never an exact science… You never know how it’ll go,
humility is important. Everyone has the right attitude,
which is why it’s going so well. To ski, we entered the fjords past
Southern Greenland’s Cape Farewell. We encountered a big mountain landscape, with 1500m+ vertical. We didn’t have enough time
to do everything! First time in my life
I’ve done this! Incredible couloirs
that plunge down the fjords. The landscape is awe-inspiring, an amazing setting all around… I totally agree! We’re at the top of the couloir, and Mr. Climber wants to scramble
another 20m to the “real summit”. Mathieu, we’re at the top
of the couloir. I’m stopping here. “So where are we?” At the top… of the couloir we wanted to ski. I don’t feel like rock climbing. C’mon Mathieu,
put your skis on, no big deal… “Now you’re happy setting foot
on the real-real summit!” The real summit is the goal
you set before leaving. You guys wanted to continue
climbing even higher… I made a call,
there’s no ice over there. But there is ice
here and here. So you have to move. My boat? They’re going to spend
three months stuck here… Yep, maybe
two or three months. They’ll probably get eaten
by polar bears… We should have waited a little longer… But Thierry had to go home, and when Erwan heard that
we could try something crazy, he said: “Great, let’s go!” So it was pretty risky. I could tell that no one really knew
what was going to happen, even Thierry. It’s like when you’re in the mountains, and you keep telling yourself,
“whatever happens, happens” which pretty much sums it all up. If we get stuck here
we can’t do anything, whereas at sea
it’s impossible to get stuck. I don’t understand
how it works, the ice sliding to one side
or the other. I don’t like damaging our boats; it’s bothered me
from the start. Our boats aren’t icebreakers! The Maewan made it out okay, wounded but still floating. One keel torn off,
the rudder damaged… Brave little sailboat, it’s time for new adventures. Goodbye, Farewell…
May the winds be with you, Maewan!

18 thoughts on “Maewan – Extreme skiing and mountaineering in Greenland

  1. Magnifique vidéo ! 😀
    C'est vraiment un très belle expérience de vie, bravo les gars ! 🙂
    Les couloirs vendent vraiment du rêve, en plus avec toute cette poudreuse ! :p

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