Nata Vestnorden

NATA Travel Support grant between Iceland and Greenland – developing joint curriculum for glacier guiding program between guiding schools in Iceland and Greenland

January 17, 2024
Grants, News
January 17, 2024
Grants, News

Adventure Guide program CAK & Fjallamennskunám FAS

Photos: Campus Kujalleq

Our project aim is to address the gaps in knowledge exchange between countries of Iceland and Greenland by developing join program curriculum for glacier guiding course in Greenland. By inviting glacier instructors form Iceland, well-established tour activity in Iceland, we aimed to establish long-term collaboration between upper-secondary guiding schools in Iceland Framhaldsskólinn í Austur- Skaftafellssýslu (FAS) and vocational guiding school Campus Kujalleq (CAK) in Greenland. The teachers from Iceland have a broad background in glacier – and mountain guiding in Iceland, as well as teaching glacier travel for FAS and glacier guiding for AIMG (Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides). The glacier guiding tourism in Iceland relies on education from AIMG and their education system will very likely be accurate and useful for developing glacier tourism in Greenland.

Recently established collaboration through NORDPLUS HORIZONTAL grant project (project ID: NPHZ-2022/10060) and first on-site meeting in February 2023 in Reykjavik, Iceland enhanced the dialog between FAS and CAK on developing joint curriculum related to knowledge exchanged between those two. In 2024 Adventure Guiding program offered by CAK will be developed from 5 months to 1 year program, including glacier guiding course. With a limited resources and capacity to develop such program within the CAK, we aim to engage in long-term collaboration between guiding schools, to offer joints glacier guiding course for students. Once established, we would like to enhance further collaboration on exchange between staff and students of CAK and FAS.

Visit in Greenland

On the 1st of September a group of 4 guides from Iceland arrived at the Kangerlussuaq airport. During their 6 days stay they worked on development of glacier guiding curriculum, visited the sides and delivered proposed detailed program and schedule for the implementation of glacier guiding courses.

Shortly after the arrival instructors form Iceland went on an exploration trip around the town, including local geology. After initial sightseeing, first climbing attempts were pursued, to finish with food shopping and preparation for the next days.

Three days were spent on climbing, both on the rock and exploring the glacier. As the distance between the town and the glacier is 35km of dirty road, we spent almost 2 hours traveling towards the glacier. Once near the glacier, we established the camp and soon left for exploration. Even thought it was just early September, we got to experience early winter conditions, some snow and cold temperatures.

Establishing camp. Photo: Campus Kujalleq

We spent two full days walking on glacier, searching for routes, possible access to the sides, as well as terrain features essential to practice, such as crevasses, meltwater channels, etc.

Walking towards the glacier. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Walking on ice. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Practicing glacier skills
Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Ice climbing
Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Walking on the ice. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Instructors discussion on glacier access. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Practicing glacier skill – ice climbing into moulin. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Danny, Greenlandic instructor explains local wildlife.
Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Watching local wildlife – Arctic hare!
Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Greenland Inland Ice – discussing accessibility. Photo: Campus Kujalleq

Once returned to our base in Kangerlussuaq, instructors from Iceland presented system of guiding certificated and guides education in Iceland to CAK students. Students were interested in learning more about the opportunities for more education, many questions were asked.

Students asking questions. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Presentation by FAS and AIMG instructors. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Student taking notes during the presentation. Photo: Campus Kujalleq

The last 2 days were spent on developing documents that CAK will use to run the glacier guiding course with help of FAS and AIMG. Documents were delivered to CAK and we hope to offer glacier guiding courses as part of Adventure Guide Education in 2024!

Games before dinner. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Taco night, goodbye dinner. Photo: Campus Kujalleq
Thank you NATA for supporting our collaboration!