Group of young explorers cross Greenland ice cap

A group of explorers in Greenland.
A group of explorers in Greenland. Photo credit: Great Scott Communications

A group of four young Kiwis and Australians, all aged under 35, beat out hundreds of other applicants for the chance to cross an ice cap in Greenland.

The group of four were joined by New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust executive director Nigel Watson and Ousland Polar Exploration master polar guide Bengt Rotmo.

Dragging 60-kilogram sleds through a snow storm.
Dragging 60-kilogram sleds through a snow storm. Photo credit: Great Scott Communications

The journey was 560 kilometres long, and they were made to carry 60-kilogram supply sleds the entire way. Along the way they had to battle hurricane conditions, heavy snowfalls and illness, but finally made the finish line.

Mr Watson said the last day was a tough one that included a 21-hour-long ski.

"We set off at 10am. A possible polar bear sighting had us on edge, but it turned out to be an illusion! We continued to ski and eventually saw mountains. There was great excitement after seeing nothing but a flat, white horizon for weeks. We stopped for a hot meal at 1am before reaching the end of our journey at 7am. There were hugs and tears of relief."

A drone view of the group of explorers.
A drone view of the group of explorers. Photo credit: Great Scott Communications

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust selected four young explorers for the expedition from a pool of nearly 200 applicants.

One of the chosen applicants, Kiwi Brando Yelavich, also completed the first solo circumnavigation of New Zealand's coastline, but he said the journey wasn't an easy one.

"Physically my biggest challenge was my joints and my feet adjusting to the repetition and the pulling of the sled for 29 consecutive days. Mentally I was consumed by the repetition... the walking and the white were mind-numbing at times. It was a great mental challenge."

Wrapped up for warmth.
Wrapped up for warmth. Photo credit: Great Scott Communications

The team is now returning home to begin outreach programmes that will encourage other young people to go out and explore the amazing world we live in.

The expedition honoured Fridtjof Nansen, the renowned polar explorer and humanitarian who completed the first crossing of Greenland 130 years ago, in 1888.

Newshub.