Penny Ice Cap, Baffin Island 1998

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of a trip my friend Dave and I took to Baffin Island. It was without a doubt the most incredible trip I’ve ever been a part of. The overwhelming landscape, physical toil, and companionship came together in a very personal and profound way.

Dave on Ice Cap

Dave at ~5000 ft. Approaching the High Point of the Penny Ice Cap

I’ve been meaning to put something together on this trip for years, but never really have the time to dedicate to it, but I’ve at least finally uploaded scans of the pictures we took to a Flickr set and slideshow in more or less chronological order. I still need to work on annotating them and arranging them more carefully, but the overall sense of the trip is there.

The major goal of the trip was to reach the Penny Ice Cap via the Coronation Glacier. We had arranged for an outfitter to bring us from Broughton Island to the foot of Coronation Glacier, but because of deteriorating ice conditions, we had to be dropped off a few miles north of the glacier on the fiord itself, so the first day was spent walking over the sea ice just to get to the glacier itself.

Route on Google Maps

Route from Broughton Island to Pangnirtung via Coronation Glacier.

We really weren’t certain what to expect at the mouth of the glacier, but it turned out to be straight-forward to skirt up the left side and avoid the crumbling ice blocks at the terminus. For the next week we were never more than a rope length apart as we spent the days working our way up Coronation to the bizarre landscape of the Ice Cap itself. Not long after starting out, I went to pull the sun screen out of my pack only to realize that I had instead packed a tube of insect repellent by mistake… Nice. The sun on a glacier is unbelievably strong and we were getting so burned we were forced to smear ash from the stove on our faces, which actually worked rather well, although we ended up looking like maniacs.

Bug Repellent is not Sun Screen

Me on the Left; Dave on the Right.

Once we passed over the Ice Cap, we took a route down Highway Glacier to Akshayuk Pass in the Auyuittuq National Park then on to Pangnirtung.

This entry really just covers the most basic details of the trip; I’m still going to put something together that fills in the details (hopefully with Dave’s input), but I couldn’t let the anniversary go by without a least acknowledging it.

» Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2008 | Comments (3) | Permanent Link


What a delightful surprise. I would be happy to help put the pieces together for some commentary. Here’s a missing little detail, for example: when we were packing at your apartment, you held up the insect repellent in one hand and the sunscreen in the other and joked about bringing the insect repellent…ha ha! (At least one friend has said my lips have never looked the same since.) Still, let me just say, in this very public place, I love you, man. That was the trip of a lifetime.

Peace, David

» Posted by David S. on June 2, 2008 01:50 PM

Stubmling onto this page brought back some wild memories from 1981 when Ryan Shellborn and I made what we believe was the first Coronation Fjord-Penny Icecap-Weasel Valley crossing.

You forgot the sunscreen, we pulled the wrong gas can off the sled. Took away the luxury of being able to stay put on whiteout days.

And it certainly has left me with some trip-of-a-lifetime memories too.


David Harris

» Posted by David Harris on January 20, 2009 01:57 PM

Is this the David Harris from Harris Gallery in Toronto?

» Posted by Brian B on January 22, 2015 04:54 PM

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