Science & Mountaineering Meet on Axel Heiberg Island

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As we skied down to the sea ice edge in Expedition Fiord, we heard the wolves. Their call came from a canyon to the west, echoing off the walls as our skis crossed their tracks in the snow. The Arctic light cast magic on everything.

Science & Mountaineering Meet on Axel Heiberg Island Science & Mountaineering Meet on Axel Heiberg Island

This is Axel Heiberg Island, a small island on the western edge of the Canadian Arctic archipelago. At 80°N, Müller Ice Cap sits atop Axel Heiberg with >600m deep ice. The ice on this far-flung, high-latitude ice cap contains long-term climate information, including new insights into changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice variability in the past. This year, we drilled shallow ice cores and did other exploratory work in preparation for deep drilling in Spring 2024. I’m equally as excited for the science that will come out of this new ice core as I am for another season in what may truly be one of the most magical spots on earth.

This year when the fieldwork was done, we skidoo’d up the ~30km length of the Thompson Glacier to its headwall. The ski descent put enormous grins across our faces; sublime views down the glacier with perfect turns and a sun dog to boot. A couple of days later I skied solo down to the coast and moved among the wolf tracks as a cold ocean mist blew in. The terrain near the coast is mellow and rolling, while up-glacier winds a stark contrast of steep cirques and exposed ridgelines above the ice.

Science & Mountaineering Meet on Axel Heiberg Island

I was pretty dang thrilled to have G3 gear with me supporting this work (and play)! As a climate scientist, being able to use FINDr 94 Swift skis for my work that are fully recyclable is pretty mint. Add to that that they are the most playful and fun skis I’ve ever been on and that makes one happy scientist. I had the ZED 9 bindings mounted on them, with MINIMIST Glide climbing skis (so light! so glidey!). I have also fully switched to the VIA Carbon ski poles for life; they are light and ergonomic, well-designed for steep side-hilling, and have super grippy tips that perform well on ice. Whether pulling around a heavy sled of ice coring equipment, or sneaking off to ski a nearby peak, it’s been a dream to have G3 gear along for the ride.

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Alison Criscitiello

Author: Alison Criscitiello

Ice core scientist, high-altitude mountaineer, cold seeker in work and play. Home range: Canadian Rockies