Rune Gjeldnes

Team Role: Polar Explorer and EOCA Ambassador
Rune Gjeldnes - EOCA Ambassador
Rune Gjeldnes - EOCA Ambassador
Rune Gjeldnes - Polar Explorer
Rune Gjeldnes - Polar Explorer
How did you become involved with EOCA: Bergans of Norway are one of my sponsors and asked if I would be interested in being an Ambassador for EOCA. It was easy to say yes to promote such a worthwhile organisation.

What else do you promote to support conservation: Throughout history mankind has lived mainly with and off what "Mother Nature" has been able to provide. The industrial revolution changed human life totally, in the main in a positive manner. But the signs of degradation are there for all to see and feel - backed by major scientific reports that scream: "It is time to act".

We all have to contribute, by thought out and implemented action. Some people are really good and some not so. I like to think I am in the middle, but if truth be known then I tip towards being one of the "bad guys". I am a traveller, flying all over the world; even guiding people to the North Pole and South Pole. I think about the consequences, but have not done enough about it. I have not been involved in a specific conservation project to date, except being good at recycling at home! I hope by working with EOCA I can help to make a difference.

Favourite wild place: Entering into and living in "The Great White." It is the polar regions that have attracted me - their vastness, their greatness - they are simply majestic. We humans are not meant to travel and live in the extreme climate of the polar regions, but with preparation, experience and a little bit of humility we can visit them. While there, we should remember that we are guests - and behave as such.

As a contrast I have done several jungle trips that have given me a wider insight into the fascinating world of nature. I was overwhelmed by the huge array of life there.
Favourite outdoor activity: Having been brought up on a farm, I have always been attracted to the variety of activities the outdoors offers. It is a menu, from which one can choose, depending on the season and place.

It is the polar regions that I have explored the most. My most important expedition so far was when Torry Larsen and I, in 1996, did the first and only unsupported south to north ski trip of Greenland. Yes, lengthways! The "long way"; not horizontally as normal crossings of Greenland do.

Why was it important? We were young, just 24, it had never been done, and we experienced all the elements: water, air and land. We parachuted (air) onto the ice cap from an American C-130, we descended and then kayaked (water) 180 km down towards Cape Farwell, and had a great 2940 km long ski trip (land) up to the northern tip of Greenland, Cape Morris Jesup.

Corny as it may seem, the key element was the friendship that grew, the joy of travelling together through uncharted territory, the learning process, experiencing our own strengths and weaknesses. In terms of personal importance, it opened up a new world - and hatched the idea to cross the Arctic Ocean. We started from Siberia in mid February 2000, and after 109
days and 1940 km we reached Cape Discovery in Canada. The result being the first and only unsupported crossing of the Arctic Ocean.

In 2005 - 2006 I did the first and only crossing of both Poles without resupplies. A solo crossing of Antarctica, 4804km, resulting in the world's longest ski trip - again unsupported, pulling all my own fuel, rations and equipment.

I can’t say which is most important, they are all interconnected, all part of life's jigsaw puzzle - as is a ski trip with friends and family.

Perfect day: Together with a good friend or several, ascending on skis towards a distant mountain top; and maybe summiting! Followed by a fun ride on perfect virgin snow all set against a clear blue sky. Or canoeing a white water river - first drops and swirling pools to be followed by peaceful stretches - listening to the sounds, whilst being in total silence oneself. Some adrenalin is good to have along; as is the peace - great views – shared experiences.

Both days can end with a camp. The first in a tent or a snow hole, preparing dinner while lying in your sleeping bag, where outside a full moon lights the landscape. The other by the riverside, a wood fire, good food, a beer - telling stories of past and present - and sharing dreams of the future. This may sound a bit slushy-poetic, but it's a good warm feeling.

Keep up to date with what Rune is up to by visiting his own website HERE 

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"It was a great experience to receive the funding with the support of the people through an exciting voting contest. With the funding we managed to ensure preservation of another 10,000 hectares of wilderness in Küre Mountains National Park in Turkey providing safe haven for endangered species such as wolves and bears. We contributed to saving the last remaining priceless untouched natural areas in Europe so that future generations can also enjoy them."
Zoltán Kun, Executive Director, PAN Parks Foundation