Summit Camp – Greenland - Atlas Obscura

Summit Camp

This remote research station sits amid the second-largest ice sheet on the planet. 


Situated at the highest point of the Greenland ice sheet, the second-largest body of ice on Earth, Summit Camp is one of the most remote research stations in the world. It sits amid an enormous ice cap that covers about 80 percent of the surface of Greenland—a giant frozen mass that would cause sea levels to rise some 24 feet if it were all to melt. 

The station at its apex is also one of the most challenging to access, inhabited by just a handful of people in the wintertime. The nearest town, Ittoqqortoormiit, is 285 miles (460 km) away.

The summit is at an altitude of over 10,000 feet (3,200 meters) and usually experiences temperatures between -58˚F to 14˚F (-50°C to -10°C).

It’s open year-round, used by scientists to monitor various aspects of this extreme Arctic climate, such as air-snow interactions, and measure greenhouse gas, among other research.

The two main permanent structures at the camp are called the Big House and the Green House. The former serves as the main building, with offices, the kitchen, a full bathroom, and laundry facilities. The Green House contains a science laboratory, an emergency kitchen, communications, and other amenities, and it is connected to the main living quarters. A generator supplies the station with electric energy, and the heat produced is also used to power a snow melter that provides water to this far-flung facility. 

Know Before You Go

Permits from the Danish Polar Center and the Home Rule of Greenland are required to visit the station. Access is provided via the Kangerlussuaq Airport, but during winter visits are infrequent.

The exact coordinates of the station vary because of the constantly shifting ice.

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