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Training for the Greenland expedition: Why this man has been pulling car tires through Greifenstein for months |

Marco Plass has been preparing for a daring expedition for months by dragging two car tires through his hometown in the Westerwald. The adventurer soon wants to ski 600 kilometers in Greenland and pull a sleigh.

At first the locals thought he was crazy. What is this wiry man in sports clothes doing, puffing and pulling two huge car tires through Greifenstein (Lahn-Dill) with ski poles in his hand? And always the same route, several times a week.

Marco Plass’s unusual training sessions initially caused people to shake their heads in his hometown, but people here are now used to it. And we also know why he does it: The 44-year-old father wants to cross Greenland on skis and sleds.

Sometimes Plass is now even accompanied and cheered on by cyclists. “Go for it!” they then shout after him.

Cross the largest island in the world once

Plass is actually a management trainer and head of a so-called wilderness school in the rustic Westerwald. Together with his wife, he organizes survival training, trekking tours and parent-child camps.

But this time it’s about him and his very own borderline experiences: the ski tour across the Greenland ice cap lasts around 600 kilometers, from west to east. Plass says: Ideally it will take him 26 to 28 days. The trip is scheduled to start on Sunday.

Plass has to pull a 60-pound sled

The tour is “unsupported,” he explains. This means: There is no support team. So he has to carry everything that Plass needs along the way behind him on a sleigh: tent, food, equipment. Around 60 kilograms.

Equipment items

That’s why Plass came up with tire training, for which he took two particularly large SUV tires. “They’re still not quite as heavy as the sled, but when I run on asphalt, they simulate the sled perfectly.”

The white loneliness

Plass already has some experience with the “white loneliness,” as he describes what awaits him. In recent years he has been traveling for weeks in Patagonia and Scandinavia – but never for so many days and never for such a long distance in one go.

Most of the time he organizes his trips himself and travels alone. “But because you’re not allowed to walk alone on the ice in Greenland, this time I joined a guided group of experienced expedition participants organized by a mountain school.” With all the equipment, he estimates he will spend around 20,000 euros.

Piteraqs: Dangerous downdrafts

Plass knows: these will be tough days. Nine to ten hours on skis, with a ten-minute break once an hour. It is important not to sweat, he explains. “That’s the killer in the cold.”

He’s not afraid, but he does have a “healthy respect,” says Plass: The icy temperatures average minus 20 degrees, there can be dangerous crevasses, and even encounters with polar bears are possible.

A polar bear by the water

But Plass considers the so-called Piteraqs to be the most dangerous. This is what the residents of Greenland call sudden ice-cold storms that can reach speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour. “If someone like that catches you, you’ll be out of the window and you won’t be able to put up a tent anymore.” The expedition participants are therefore in daily contact with the weather service.

“The brain has to cope with this monotony first.”

The tour will not only be a physical challenge, but also a mental one. “Apart from the glacier, you have no reference points – everything is white,” he explains. “The brain first has to cope with this monotony.”

You are also confronted with yourself and being alone, says Plass. You can’t talk to each other while running. “At some point your inner voice will ask you: What are you doing here?”

Why all this?

Good question: Yes, why? “There is no real, sensible reason – except that I want it,” says Plass. “And that I want to grow with the challenge.”

He believes that anyone who has achieved something like this will inevitably come out stronger. And professionally it is also quite interesting for him to see how self-management and group dynamics work in such extreme situations.

Man pulling car tires

He also wants to collect donations with his expedition. They should go to the elementary school in the Beilstein district, which his children also attend. In this context he wants to give a lecture after the trip.

Feels well prepared

Plass says: Overall, he feels well prepared. He has been pulling tires three times a week since September. In order to train for the monotony, he always took the same route through Greifenstein. He also feels well positioned mentally.

His wife will take him to the train with the children on Sunday. Nadine Plass says: She will probably have a somewhat uneasy feeling. But the family is used to it now. “I married him like that and knew beforehand that he needed it.” Without that he would be unhappy, she says. And the children? At most they would worry about the polar bears.

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