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Expeditions 2014

April: Kiting across the Vatnajokull Glacier/Iceland: Mike Dann & team

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April-May-June:  Greenland Circumnavigation (first attempt): Dixie Dansercoer - Eric MacNairLandry

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April-May-June:  Greenland Circumnavigation (first attempt): Michael Chavarin - Cornelius Strohm

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April 2014: Greenland Expeditions with Pirhuk

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Greenland expeditions with Borge Ousland

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Mount Everest Forecasts - Manaslu -Makalu

Expeditions supported 2013

Winter 2013: Across Antarctica-Kiting and Skiing

September 2013: Greenland Crossing with Borge Ousland

September 2013: with Jagged Globe to Cho Oyu

September 2013: Expedition Manaslu 2013 - REMEC

September 2013: First ascent of Gamlang Razi!

August-September 2013: Expedition Q - Kayaking across Baffin!

July-August 2013: K2, daily forecasts on the way to the summit!

May-June 2013: Mount Everest daily forecasts!

April 2013: Dhaulagiri, daily forecasts on the way to the summit!

February 2013: daily aviation forecasts Rat Eradication - South Georgia

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5 0 6 7 kilometer !!!

From The Wings over Greenland blog

team

Michael Chavarin and Cornelius Strohm (c)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finish rock’n'roll !

15/06, camp 50
Distance today : 67 km
Total distance : 5067 km
Position: N61.027 W46.766, alt about 100 m 
Moving time : more than 9H

16/06, Fjord Qaleralik, pick-up location for boat evacuation
Distance today: a few hundred meters…
Total distance: 5067 km
Position: N61.027 W46.762, alt 0 m 
Moving time : 2H30

It was close to 4:30 am when we finally set up camp after a 11h long kite session without a break. For us it was dinner time (soup, and dry meal). We used the time to send Marc our position, so he could get us an updated weather forecast for the next 3 days, according to an estimated progression (now, after one day, and after 2 days).

In the meantime we looked at the previous forecast, received about 15 hours earlier : Marc said then that we should try to finish in the next 36 hours (21 remaining) or else there was a risk of total absence of wind for several days.
Our dilemma : if we decide to rest we’ll have to mergin any longer regarding wind conditions. And if this final wind window isn’t working as planned (it’s such a difficult excercice to predict the wind so precisely, at this exact position, where the landscape itself can generate its own weather system), then we’ll be stuck without wind, at only 70 km from the final point of the expedition…

None of us wants to take the chance of getting stuck : instead of getting in our sleeping bags, we wrap up the camp, drink coffee and get going ; we’ll sleep later…

At 10 am we set off, in a nice and gentle easterly blow. We need our “big guns” (speed 19m²). We soon realize that the wind 30m higher is a lot stronger than the surface wind ; our speed 19m² are way too big : with them in such winds it would be too difficult to stop quickly (and there are quiet a bunch of crevasses here). We decide to swap our speed 19m² for the speed 10m².
Unfortunately the slope gets less steep (almost flat) over the 20 next kilometers, and we get trapped a couple of times. We have to be patient, and manage to progress slowly, until the slopes get better again. At km 35 we stop to observe a serie of little “waves” in the snow, clear indicators of snow bridged crevasses. The snow bridges seem strong enough. We therefore decide, instead of zigzaging between them, to force our way through them, full speed. It’s anyway probably more risky to try to go slowy between than to power throught them.

A bit further down we can see beautiful turquoise blue lakes formed on the surface of the snow ; we have no intention to go bathing in them and manage to navigate around them. We have now come to a point on the glacier where the snow is melting very fast. This is a critical zone : the snow is more of a slush, our skies leave heavy traces behind, it’s difficult to slide on the snow (the pulks make us have hard time dragging them) ; we really have to use the full power of traction of the kites to get everthing going forward. But things would be so much more difficult without kites, if we had to drag things on our own, or even if we needed to set camp here.
The further we go the more confindent we get on power through all of this. We shall not stop, or then would start to be difficult even to get out of this on our own.

Further down we get to some hard ice areas. It gets easier to slide, but one thing reauires all of our attention : the snow cover is more and more missing, and crevasses are now quiet open. And again, zigzaging through those hauling ourselves the pulks would be such a difficult mission, and the risk of falling through snow bridges into crevasses wouldn’t be lower. We decide to power through the area.
As much as possible, when we know of a clear and safe grey snow patch we ski along it, but there’s no more choice, we need to face the crevasse, looping our kites to gain speed, and ski over the bridge making sure our skies or pulks won’t get caught in the crevasse.

Later on we are litterally ski surfing : melt water is running on the white-grey bare ice. We crossing dirty grey landscapes, and ski around a few turquoise blue little ponds which beautfully contrast with the low tone colours that we’ve seen over the past 2 months. The only risk here is to fall flat in one of those pond… and get really wet !

A bit further the wind drops ; we decide to tak our kites down, about 8 km away from the fjord. We’re now hauling the pulks by feet or skis, on a light grey bare wavy ice. It’s sometimes very hard work, when the pulks are getting stuck on some bump in the ice, but sometimes we kind of have to run in front of it when it starts sliding down the slope, if we don’t want it to run over us…

2 kilometers before our target ending point we walk passed the place where we set up the first camp, 2 months ago. There we have a small depression in the glacier, where the ice tongue comes to and end by an medial moraine. This one being snow free, we have no other option now than to carry our stuff : 8 forth-and-backs, one and a half hour work.
Another slope down, a bit steep on the right hand side of the outlet glacier takes us to the only place we can get out of it, cause everwhere else the glacier ends up as a frontal cliff line over the land.
It’s now about 7:30 pm, we’ve been moving for close to 9 hours without a break, and near 20h over the last 26 !
Even though we’re only at 100m elevation, we have to will to keep going, carrying all of our things any longer towards the Qaleralik fjord for today. We decide to get some rest ; there’s no place to pitch the tent, so we decide to “bivouac” there, on the rocky ground of the moraine. If a couple of small rain showers woke us up during the night, it didn’t really disturb much our sleep…

In the morning of the 16th of june, we went up and down forth and back to get all of our things down to boat pick-up location. At 11 am everything is ready on our end to be transported away, at the place where we cam 58 days earlier to start this expedition. The sky gets darker again and it’s already raining a bit when we can see the 90 horse power rib-boat coming to pick us up. We sail accross the fjords util we reach the small village of Narsaq ; Wings Over Greenland II comes to a sucessful end…

We’ll keep you posted with our latest news in the next days !

Wings over GreenlandII: 5000km!

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Wings over GreenlandII has reached the 5000km point !!!!

This two man team, Michael Charavin and Cornelius Strohm, started the circumnavigation of Greenland about 58 days and 5000km ago in Narsaq.
Today they passed the mile stone of 5000km traveled by kites on the ice of Greenland. We expect them to be back in Narsaq tonight or tomorrow.

Weather4expeditions.com supported this exclusive expedition with daily weather/wind forecasts and route advice.

 Read their really interesting blog entries here

See their daily progression over the last 58 days here

Dixie D/Eric ML -Greenland Forecast 19 April

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Sheltering for the storm!  (c) Photo Dixie D/Eric ML

Forecast Kite Greenland circumnavigation Dixie en Eric

Date: 19 april 2014
Position: N 64 40 35 W 042 30 35

Day 1: 19 april 2014
Position: 64.6/-42.5
Wind:  between 9/12utc the wind starts a steady but slight decrease: from 310-330/25-30kt gusting 35-40kt to about 280-300/20kt between 24/03utc.
Weather:  still blowing and drifting snow which might affect the visibility. Should improve as the wind eases off a little. Variable cloudiness: sunny spells-cloudy periods-no precip.
Temperatures: day time max: -20C night time min:-30C

Day 2: 20 april 2014
Position: 64/-43
Wind:  280-300/15kt after 12utc becoming 280-300/8-12kt: an as early as possible start to enjoy the NW’ly wind before it becomes too weak
Weather:  sunny-good visibility-no significant change
Temperatures: day time max: -20C night time min:-35C

Day 3: 21 april 2014
Position: 64/-43
Wind:  weak from variable directions - after 9/12utc becoming 040-060/10-15kt further increasing to an average of 20kt
Weather:  gradually increasing and thickening cloudiness and snow fall develops: slight precip between 12 and 21utc becoming moderate to heavy after 21/24utc: Deteriorating conditions: visibility drops as precip develops.
Temperatures: day time max: -18C night time min:-14C (milder air is being advected during the night

Vatnajokull Glacier Forecast - 11 April 2014

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Forecast Kite trip over Vatnajokull Glacier - Iceland
Date: 11 april 2014
Position: 64.7/-15.8

Day 1: 11 april 2014
Position
: 64.7/-15.8
Wind: from 300-320 degrees true/average 4-8kt after 15/18utc becoming weak from variable directions
Weather: sunny and good conditions prevail
Temperatures: day time max: -2C night time min: -8C

Day 2: 12 april 2014
Position
: 64,5/-16
Wind: from 080-100degrees true/average 10-15kt gusting up to 25kt between 12 and 18utc becoming weak from variable directions, after 18utc becoming  240-260/18-23kt gusting 30-35kt!!
Weather: becoming very cloudy overcast with outbreaks of snow
Temperatures: day time max: -2C night time min: -4C

Day 3: 13 april 2014
Position
: 64,3/-16.5
Wind: from 300-320degrees true/average 13-18kt gusting up to 25kt after 12/15utc becoming weak from variable directions
Weather: very cloudy with still a few outbreaks of sleet/snow but gradually improving with sunny spells developing
Temperatures: day time max: 0C night time min: -8C

Pirhuk Greenland Forecast - 27 March

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(c) Ben Cockwell

Matt @ Greenland 65.7/-36.9 - 27 March 2014

Day 1: 27 March 2014
Position:  65.7/-36.9
Wind:  NE 10-15kt after 9utc becoming N5-10kt
Weather:  weak sunny spells-clouds can still produce some slight snow- enlarging sunny spells after 15utc. Overall pretty warm.
Temperatures:  day max:-3/C night min:-10C

Day 2: 28 March 2014
Position: 65.7/-36.9
Wind: NE 8-12kt after 9/12utc becoming 13-17kt gusting 25kt
Weather: soon becoming overcast with outbreaks of snow-poor conditions prevail-warm!
Temperatures: day max: -2C/night min:-4C

Day 3: 29 March 2014
Position: 65.7/-36.9
Wind: ENE 13-17kt gust 25kt after 9/12utc becoming ENE 8-12ktgust 15kt
Weather: mostly overcast with outbreaks of snow: prevailing poor conditions
Temperatures: day max: -1C/night min: -4C

Pirhuk - Forecast - 23 march 14

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Latest position @ 65.7/-36.9 - 23 March 2014

Today: 23 march 2014
Position: 65.7/-36.9
Wind: NE 15-20kt soon becoming 25-30kt gusting up to 40kt
Weather: blizzard conditions develop: overcast/snow and blowing snow - poor conditions prevail!!!
Temperatures: day maximum: -8C/night minimum:-10C

Tomorrow: 24 march 2014
P:65.7/-36.9
Wind: at 06/09utc: NE 15kt gradually becoming VAR 3-8kt
Weather: still very cloudy with slight snow: poor conditions prevail
Temperatures: day maximum: -7C/night minimum: -10C

Tuesday: 25 march 2014
Position: 65.7/-36.9
Wind: VAR 3-8kt after 24/3utc becoming: ENE25kt
Weather: very cloudy with a local snow shower-slightly better conditions
Temperatures: day maximum: -6/night minimum:: -10C

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Pink Polar Expedition

Weather4Expedtions is guiding Geoff Wilson from Union Glacier.

You can follow Geoff on http://www.5thelementexpeditions.com/pink-polar/

News from Geoff:

The wind last night swung a little to the South as I approached my waypoint in front of a crevassed area I’d marked on the map. Unwittingly that meant that I couldn’t kite directly to my waypoint and in fact ended one kilometre downwind, smack bang in the middle of the crevasse field.
Exhausted last night, I knew poor visibility was coming - but decided fatigue was more likely to create havoc in trying to walk out of there. So I pitched camp on as deep snow as I could find, using the only two ice screws I have to anchor the tent for the winds that Marc De Keyser (Weather4Expeditions- who is doing a stirling job again - we used him in the Sahara for wind forecasting - a maestro!) had predicted to arrive during the night. They did and I was concerned that my thin purchase on the blue ice would not be sufficient. Thankfully it held.

Another stormy nights sleep, but this morning I was able to put out two solar panels and recharge everything - satellite phones, computer, storage lithium batteries, cameras, iPods, all in a matter of hours. The sun is so fierce here, it’s amazing how it drives the solar cells.

Then about three pm it calmed again but stayed, so by four pm I was roped long to the boobsled and carefully tapping my way along the blue ice to get out of the crevassed area. Safely one kilometre upwind I am now camped in a better position to kite the last three kilometres to a turning point where my trail turns upwind and I’ll have to do the hardwork myself!

So, basically a lay day today, but I’m back on my schedule as planned thanks to the amazing kite yesterday. Tomorrow is a tough day of split loading uphill through another crevassed area, but nothing like today’s minefield. I can’t decide what was more stressful; today’s tap tap tapping through a crevasse field solo, or kiting with a team of four through a known Southern Sahara minefield. Still deciding, tomorrow may tell.

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In this pic I’m on the edge of a ten foot wide crevasse. You can see how easily the edge is seen in good visibility, but woe to someone who enters here in a whiteout like earlier this morning.

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The above pic is boobsled in eye view of long rope. Using the sled as an anchor in case of a fall is my intention and expectation is to never get close enough to a crevasse to fall in - but it pays to be careful.

Cho Oyu Forecast - 23 Sept

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Forecast 23 september valid from 23 sep till 29 sep

1. Levels
Camp 1: 5,700mr 500hpa
Camp 2: 6,800mr 450hpa
Camp 3: 7,400mr 400hpa
Summit: 8,200mr 350hpa

2. Jet stream position:
still no change: main axis and branches of subtropical jet stream stay over China, North of Nepal without any influence for the upper level winds above the Himalayas

3. Wind: see attached windfile pdf
wind above 7500mr:
*Today and tomorrow:
-today (23/9): average wind speed SSE tot SSW 3-10kt
-tomorrow (24/09): SSW 5-10kt - no significant change

*Outlook (above 7500mr): no jet stream indications yet
-25/09: SW to WSW 10-15kt, decreasing after 12/15utc
-26/09: variable directions 4-8kt
-27/09: variable directions 0-5kt
-28/09: SE 5-10kt
-29/09: WSW 8-13kt

*Further outlook (from 30/09 till 08/10), based on gfs:
No jet stream indications according to gfs, after 5/6 october the wind increases a little (up^to 15-20kt)

4. General weather conditions
-General:
confirmation of poor weather that is probably coming in by the end of the day of the 25th, extending probably till the beginning of October

-Details:
day 1: 23 sep: sunny spells, gradually developing cloudiness up to 7000mr with slight snow or snow showers; risk slight snow showers 40%
day 2: 24 sep: sunny spells, gradually developing cloudiness up to 6500mr-clear above; risk slight snow/snow showers 30%
day 3: 25 sep: sunny spells, gradually moderate to strong developing cloudiness up to 7500-8000mr with snow showers; risk snow showers 40-50%
day 4: 26 sep: solidly overcast-poor conditions; risk mod snow/snow showers 70-80%
day 5: 27 sep: solidly overcast-poor conditions; risk mod snow/snow showers 80%
day 6: 28 sep: solidly overcast-poor conditions; risk mod snow/snow showers 80%
day 7: 29 sep: solidly overcast-poor conditions; risk mod snow/snow showers 80%

5. Air temperatures over the next seven days
C1: -4C becoming -5C
C2: -8C becoming -9C
C3: -13C becoming -14C
S!: -20C becoming -20C

Remark:
*temperature (at all levels of the mountain) remains almost constant throughout this period, if anything it becomes slightly colder

Cho Oyu Forecast - 20 Sept

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Forecast 20 september valid from 20 sep till 26 sep 2013

1. Levels
Camp 1: 5,700mr 500hpa
Camp 2: 6,800mr 450hpa
Camp 3: 7,400mr 400hpa
Summit: 8,200mr 350hpa

2.Jet stream position
no change: main axis and branches of subtropical jet stream staying over China, North of Nepal without any influence for the upper level winds above the Himalayas

3. Wind: see attached windprint pdf
wind above 7500mr:
*Today and tomorrow:
-today (20/9): average wind speed SSW 10-15kt gradually decreasing
-tomorrow (21/09): SSW 5-10kt

*Outlook (above 7500mr):
-22/09: SW to W 0-5kt
-23/09: SSW around 5kt
-24/09: SSW 5-10kt
-25/09: WSW 5-10kt
-26/09: SW 5-10kt

*Further outlook (from 26/09 till 05/10), based on ensemble:
at this stage it looks that wind at the higher levels of the mountain remains less than 15kt-(see attachment ensembles)

4. General weather conditions
-General:
today a pretty good day but tomorrow looks like a day with more clouds resulting in deteriorating conditions.
From than until the 25th conditions are pretty good with daily developing cumulus and resulting in local showery outbreaks.
At this stage it looks like the 25th and 26h will become poor days with quite a lot of clouds/precipitation

-Details:
day 1: 20 sep: mainly sunny with scattered to broken cloud up 6500mr; risk slight ppn/showers: 30%
day 2: 21 sep: very cloudy to overcast with slight/moderate showers-gradually improving after 18/21utc; risk ppn/showers: 40-50%
day 3: 22 sep: broken clouds up to 7000-7500mr, after15/18utc gradually more cloud developing up to 8-8500mr; risk snow showers 50%
day 4: 23 sep: broken clouds up to 6500-7000mr; risk slight moderate snow showers 50%
day 5: 24 sep: sunny spells with broken clouds up to 6500mr; risk slight snow/snow showers 60-70%
day 6: 25 sep: solidly overcast-poor conditions; risk mod snow/snow showers 70%
day 7: 26 sep: solidly overcast-poor conditions; risk mod snow/snow showers 70%

5. Air temperatures over the next seven days
C1: -4C becoming -4C
C2: -9C becoming -9C
C3: -13C becoming -13C
S!: -20C becoming -19C

Remark:
*temperature (at all levels of the mountain) remains almost constant throughout this period
*temperatures shown are the temperatures taken at 00utc of the first day of the period (first column) and compared to the temperatures at 00utc of the last day of this period (second column).

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