Dark and cold. In wintertime in northern Greenland there's not so much as a single ray of sunlight for more than three months. The average temperature is 25° below zero F. The wind is brutal.
Jesper was equipped for the climate, just as he was prepared for the unruly dogs and the overloaded sled and the rugged terrain and the thin cross-country skis. He was even ready to fall. What Jesper hadn't anticipated was that as he tumbled down the sheer, rock-strewn slope, his knife would dislodge from the leather sheath on his waist and rotate in a perfectly unlucky way. Jesper landed on it. The blade pierced his right thigh.
His partner, Rasmus Jørgensen, did not see the accident. Rasmus had traveled a little ahead, his headlamp cutting a wedge in the darkness amid the black monolithic peaks and pale shoreline. Before losing his balance, Jesper had been positioned behind the heavy sled and 13 dogs, grasping onto the guide ropes, trying to control the team's descent. Now he lay sprawled on the ice-encased tundra, a gash in his ski pants and blood seeping down his leg.