Return from Ellesmere Island

The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.
Norton Juster


I was warned. Warned that returning home from a long expedition is not something to be taken lightly. Luckily I half listened and have made it through the two months since we got off the ice without too much drama.


Toby exploring a side valley on Axel Heiberg Island

One cannot underestimate what a heavy toll a long expedition like this takes on you not only physically, but also mentally. We traveled over 1000km over 65 days in what was possibly the trip of a lifetime. It was a steep learning curve filming in a very harsh environment, always on the move and dealing with the added complication of wrangling our sled dogs during filming. The dogs favourite activity was running straight towards the cameraman who was often the only point of reference on the featureless sea ice.

Traveling north up Nansen Sound, Ellesmere Island

Traveling north up Nansen Sound, Ellesmere Island

Ellesmere Island delivered. Wow! Is all I can say. We had a polar bear coming by to check out our camp. We saw over 60 arctic wolves, who were very interested in our canine companions. Arctic hares were so tame you could walk right up to them. Shaggy herds of prehistoric looking Musk Oxen formed their defensive walls when we got too close.


Since returning to Norway Toby and I have been doing some talks about the expedition to school children and at a mountain music festival. We even appeared on national television on a ‘summertime’ talk show, which was quite an experience. My Norwegian is just about good enough to understand what people are saying to me, but for complex stuff I have to answer in English. So its a Norwegian interview where this strange guy answers everything in English! We are trying to track down the link for that and will post soon.


My body is just about back to normal, although I still can’t run without discomfort. Summer in Norway meant that I gained back lost weight almost instantly and any signs of frostbite on my face have healed completely.

I am currently wading through almost 70 hours of footage in preparation for our film which will air on TV2 in Norway around Christmas time. In the next few weeks I will write more gear specific posts about how it all held up at -40 as well as hard earned tips for filming in the cold.




About kyleodonoghue

Environmental and Adventure Filmmaker
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4 Responses to Return from Ellesmere Island

  1. Liam says:

    Sounds like you’re living life to the max buddy, good on ya!
    Loving hearing about it all.

    • Thanks Liam. It was quote a trip, will have to give you more details over a beer soon! I will be in SA from Sept to mid Nov, but unfortunately mostly in Cape Town and PE, working on the edit for this film. Will let you know if I can squeeze a trip in to see you guys. Say hi to the family!

  2. Kevin Brown says:

    Hi Kyle. Would it be possible for you to contact me? I’m interested in using one of your photos (the muskoxen) for a Fact Sheet that my organization (the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative) and would like to discuss whether it would be OK.

    • Hi Kevin, I don’t see why that would be a problem if it was only used for that publication and I am credited. As long as it is educational and not a commercial project then you can use it free of charge. Best, Kyle

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