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Polar Expedition Master Dixie Dansercoer Dies in Crevasse Fall

He helped push the limits for kite-skiing across ice caps, and had a number of records to his name

Famed Polar explorer Dixie Dansercoer died after falling into a crevasse north of Upernavik in Greenland. It’s unknown if recovery teams will be able to reach his body due to the depth of the crevasse. He was 58 years old.

He was three weeks into a trip with client Canadian S├ębastien Audy for Unlimited Expeditions. When the accident happened around 8:30 p.m. last night, the two were about to set up a tent for the night. The two were en route from Narsarsuaq in the south to Qaanaaq in the north when the accident happened. Along the way, they were taking samples of the ice for research at the University of Copenhagen and the Niels Bohr Institute.

A statement from the company Polar Experience, read: “Yesterday at 6:30 PM UTC, world-renowned Belgian explorer and master polar guide Dixie Dansercoer fell into a crevasse 250 km north of Upernavik, Greenland. A helicopter rescue team arrived quickly at the location, however the crevasse depth prevented recovery of his body. Dixie’s expedition partner, Seb Audy, was uninjured and safely evacuated to Upernavik. Seb made every valiant effort to assist Dixie in the hours leading to and during the rescue attempt. This is shocking news for the polar and adventure exploration community who recognized Dixie not only for his expertise but as a wonderful human and teammate. Dixie is the father of Jasper, Evelien, Thijs and Robin and is married to Julie Brown, his dedicated partner.”

Dansercoer’s last journal entry was made the day before his crevasse fall. It read: “Started out with our 12-metre kites, then changed to the 18-metre kite for Seb and the 15-metre for me. It was actually quite difficult navigation as we needed to go in the same direction of the wind, so a true downwind course. This is difficult because we need to keep moving constantly, otherwise our speed is faster than the wind and this way the kite could fall out of the sky. Nice temperatures, terrain wonderful and perfect visibility. We took short breaks throughout the long day. The ending was pretty funny as we crossed lines just before the 200-kilometre mark. So there we were intertwined with the kites wanting to fly, lines under tension, and so we attached to both sleds the steering bar. By some miracle, Seb was able to duck under my lines and undo the mess.”

Dansercoer helped revolutionize the sport of expedition kite-skiing. In 1998, he made the first north-to-south 3,924-kilometre crossing of Antarctica with Alain Hubert over 99 days. A decade later, they crossed the Arctic Ocean between Greenland and Siberia.

Ten years ago, Dansercoer and Sam Deltour spent 78 days trying to circumnavigate Antarctica, but came up just short. A few years later, he and Eric McNair-Landry completed the first full circumnavigation of the Greenland ice cap over 4,040 kilometres.

In 2018, Dansercoer with ultra-runners Erik Michels and Christoph Vandewiele co-founded Polar Running Expeditions, one of his many expedition companies. He wrote nearly 30 books and took part in a number of films. And he’d climbed Cho Oyu.

This is a big loss to the world of Polar expeditions. Our condolences to his family and friends. Visit Dansercoer’s guiding account below to see images from the Greenland trip.