Eivind Rynning, a partner and co-owner of the Café Sol in Bristol Center, is also an experienced explorer who has led adventure trips to both polar caps as well as Alaska. On April 20th he was the featured speaker at a dinner meeting of the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club.
Eivind is from Norway and first came to the USA in 1967 on a Rotary scholarship. His father was a Rotarian and Eivind was a Rotarian in Norway. A chemical engineer, he first came to this area in 1998 with a corporate acquisition team dealing with the sale of Mobil Chemical. Eventually he would team up with local chef Julie Woloson as partner and co-owner of the Café Sol. The café opened in December 2013.
Eivind did not begin his exploration journeys until he reached age 60. It was something he wanted to do and he said to himself, “Go do it.” To engage in the type of strenuous activity required for those who wish to participate in polar expeditions a person has to be in top physical condition. At age 73 Eivind continues to practice a pattern of strenuous physical activity. He climbs Bristol Mountain daily dragging a tire behind him as he climbs.
The presentation included Eivind’s running commentary as he showed numerous slides of his trips to Greenland, the North Pole, the South Pole and Mount Denali in Alaska.
The first of his trips involved a 26 night trek across Greenland, known to the Inuit people as Kalaallit Nunaat. It is the world’s largest island and is the least densely populated territory in the world.
There were eight explorers in Eivind’s group. Seven came from Norway and one from the UK. He was inspired by an 1888 expedition led by Fridtjof Nansen who made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, traversing the island on cross-country skis. Nansen’s techniques of polar travel became an inspiration for future generations of Arctic and Antarctic explorers.
Unlike the conditions under which Nansen traveled, Eivind’s group had the assistance of GPS locators, computers and solar panels – but the physical aspect was equally strenuous.
A subsequent trip to climb Mount Denali – formerly known as Mt. McKinley – in Alaska was the second trip reviewed by Eivind. His group of nine explorers successfully climbed to the summit of North America’s highest peak – 20,310 feet.
In 2011 Eivind led an expedition to Antarctica. He noted that Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth. It has an annual snowfall of two inches. There is an issue with windblown snow but not falling snow. There is no animal life on the continent other than along the coast.
Having led a previous expedition to the North Pole, and then the South Pole, Eivind told the Rotarians that he considers himself to be “Bi-Polar.” He brought some of his ‘gear’ from his numerous trips including a sled, cross- country skis and arctic clothing.
Club President John Summers thanked him for a superb presentation.