Paddling In Ice


ISKGA Module

Paddling in Ice

Author: Martin Rickard

This module is a practical workshop to help prepare expedition members / leaders who are intending to explore Arctic regions where serious ice conditions will be encountered. (which is why you wanted to go there in the first place).

Geographical areas: Understanding and choosing your expedition area, how to find information. Transferable skills / knowledge. Getting yourself and equipment on site. Types of extended expedition kayak – pros and cons. Insurance and permits.

Detailed Map / chart Work: Anticipating and understanding local tidal streams, eddies, wind, swell and sea bed topography to predict ice movement and build up. Coastal drift and its effect on your local area.

The effect of tides and tidal range: Roll over’s, constrictions, pressure points, explosions’ – Glacier fronts and what makes calving ice.

Types of ice / conditions: 

The effect of winter sea ice, ice bergs, pan ice, pack ice. Moving ice, its consolidation and associated hazards.

Leads, shore breaks, ice edge, wind, tide, eddies and swell. Safety on water vs on the Ice in extreme circumstances .

Optimum Ice conditions vs Hazards from not enough ice

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Group / individual roles / responsibilities

Leading, following, supporting, pick pocket paddling and buddy system. Photography breaks. Safe rest stops. The Ice Magnet. Number of paddlers in the team, shared and agreed aims. Encountering wild life – whales..

Route finding

Seat of your pants navigation in moving ice, satellite navigation, ice observation. Escape routes.

Not getting lost and plan B and C

Ice landings and seal launches

Why, when, where, how – techniques.

Choosing a camp site

Minimal trace camping, finding water, camp fire, Fox and Bear hazards.

Specialist Equipment

Based on your initial research. Availability of, and the selection of suitable Guns for Polar Bear defence etc

My Top Tips

Learning from others and my mistakes.