Spitsbergen spring skiing expedition at 78° North. 10 days


A High Arctic wilderness adventure.
This 10 days expedition program will give you some of the biggest highlights of Spitsbergen;

    • Un touched and un spoiled high arctic wilderness
    • Camping in polar bear territory
    • Ski trekking on sea ice
    • Sea rafting across fjords
    • Glaciers
    • Mountains and mountain passes
    • The remote mining town of Longyearbyen

      You do not need to be an experienced cross country skier to be a part of this adventure. First time skiers with the right mind set will have no problem with completing the tour. However,
      a reasonable level of fitness is required and some outdoor and camping experience is helpful.

Svalbard and Spitsbergen, names that smell of adventure! This is the wilderness where great men like Nansen, Amundsen, Nobile and Andreé spent time and effort in their quest for being the first to reach the North Pole. The archipelago was discovered at the end of the 16th century by Dutch navigator and explorer Wilhelm Barentsz. He named it Spitzbergen on account of the pointy peaks on the west coast of the island. The name Svalbard comes from the Icelandic saga´s and means Cold coasts. Today Svalbard is the name used for the entire high arctic archipelago, whereas Spitsbergen refers to the main island of the archipeago.

There is no other way of putting it: This is a full-on skiing expedition! In terms of nature and wilderness it is almost an all inclusive tour.

The program starts in Longyearbyen where final preparations are made before we leave. Our first stage of the expedition is to get from Longyearbyen across Isfjorden by fast open boats. They will take us as far as they can, at which point they will leave us on the sea ice and our expedition really begins. From there on we are alone. We ski across the rest of the fjord on the sea ice. After we reach land we start skiing up one of the many glaciers in the area. During the following days we will be skiing among glaciers and mountain tops that can be seen protruding out of the glaciers. Maybe we will even summit one of the mountain tops. Camps will be chosen based on weather, progress, or certain wishes from the expedition members. Our focus will be on making this a stress free adventure with comfortable camps and good “expedition food”. Your highly experienced guide will make sure safety is a priorotiy at all times.

We will be cross-country skiing the whole way and we will transport everything we need in pulks (sleds) and backpacks. Dogs will help us pull some of the equipment. These happy, social and hardworking Alaska Huskies give the trip an added social dimension. Your guide will show you how to handle the dogs in the best way possible. Our daily skiing distance is between 10 and 20 kilometers. Total distance is approx. 100 km.

The terrain is wide, flat and easy to ski across. The weather is normally good with cold nights and "mild" sunny days. The Arctic environment, however, can sometimes present some challenges. But do not worry. Your guide(s) are highly professional and have years of experience in this environment, he/she will make sure you are well taken care of in any situation.

The departure date is set late in spring, this means that we will have full midnight sun on the entire trip. This means that we can leave our timepieces at home, and hike, eat and sleep when we feel like it. This is real freedom. The late spring departure also ensures we will have fairly mild temperatures and more stable weather conditions compared to an earlier spring departure. Temperatures are often around -5°c in the daytime and a bit lower at night, but high on the plateau we can also experience -20°c. We are always careful about putting up camp because even at this time of the year, Svalbard weather can change very fast. One day can be windy and overcast and the next can be calm with a full sun beating down on us. As a guest on this trip (as with all Turgleder trips) you are considered a member of an expedition and you will be asked to help out when it comes to putting up a good and comfortable winter campsite. Your guides will, of course, teach you everything you need to know, from the basics to their very own “secret” tricks-of-the-trade.

The trip starts out in the same way the old explorers started their expeditions. With transport in small boats. These will take us to the fast ice in the fjords and straight into the wilderness. The boats will leave us there and as soon as the noise disappears, we are alone. Very few people travel to this area every year and for the next week the only sounds you can expect are the ones made by us or the sounds that come from nature itself. On this trip we will hike from the sea ice in the Ymer bay, where we hope to spot Ringed and Bearded seals sunbathing on the ice and maybe even the king of the arctic, the Polar bear. We will work our way up The Esmark glacier, to the glacier plateau of Trollheimen. This is where the pointy peaks of the mountains stick straight out of the glacier as massive nunataks.

During the trip, your guides will manage the daily routines in such a way that everyone gets into the proper expedition rhythm. When this is established everyone will know what to do and how we can help each other. In this way the expedition can really turn into the trip of a lifetime. Due to the fact that this trip mainly consists of cross country skiing on different forms of ice, your guides will use different techniques to ensure safe travel and equipment for travel in areas with crevasses is part of the standard equipment. Equipment for dealing with an unlikely polar bear encounter is also part of the standard equipment. You will also have a lot of time to learn new tricks (or sharpen up old ones) from your guides, who all have long and extensive experience guiding trips in the high Arctic.

Day 1        Arrival in Longyearbyen, supper, briefing about the details of the trip and checking your personal equipment. Lodging at guesthouse/hotel.
Day 2       Packing the equipment. Last minute shopping. Lodging at guesthouse/hotel.
Day 3-9    Boat trip out and start on our skiing expedition. Sleeping in tents.
Day 9       Boat trip back to Longyearbyen. Dinner and lodging at guesthouse/hotel.
Day 10     Breakfast and journey home.

Day 1
Arrival in Longyearbyen. Your guide will meet you at a local guesthouse, where you will stay the first two nights. You will meet the rest of the group and be served dinner. Your guide will go through the program for the trip and the skiing route.

Your guide will also go through your personal outdoor equipment with you to make sure you have everything you need for the trip and that the equipment meets the standards that the Arctic environment requires.

Day 2
After breakfast we will do the last preparations and pack all our equipment for the trip. You will be teamed up with 1 or 2 other expedition members with whom you will work together and share a tent on the trip. You will also be shown how to put up your tent and how to use some of the equipment that you will be using on the trip. There will also be time to make your final personal preparations and adjustments before the journey starts. Your guide will also go through safety routines, skiing routines and how to handle the dogs in the best way possible.

There will be time for some last minute shopping and some time to look around in Longyearbyen.

Day 3
After breakfast the trip starts. You will get the first introduction to our four-legged friends who will accompany us on the trip. We will be transported by a fast open boat  across the Isfjorden towards Ymerbukten. This scenic fjord on the northern side of the great Isfjorden is our gateway into the real Arctic wilderness. When we arrive in the Ymerbukten fjord, the boatman will put us safely onto the fast ice in front of the glacier. From here we will work our way towards land and up onto the glacier. On the way up the glacier, the dogs will help us pull some of the equipment. You will be surprised to see how much these dogs love to work. This evening will be the first night in tents.

Day 4
When we wake up, it will be to the stunning view from the glacier over Ymerbukta and the surrounding mountains. Most of this day will be in an easy up hill, until we reach the plateau at about 500 meters above sea level.

Day 5 to 7
3 full days on the glacier plateau.
We will make our way across this vast and flat glacier landscape. Up here, the winter is still strong, we can get hard winds and low temperatures, or we can get fabulous mild and sunny days. No matter what kind of weather, this great landscape will give us a real taste of how big and impressive Arctic nature can be. We hope to spend 2 nights in the same camp. This will give us the opportunity to do a daytrip without the pulks. Depending on the weather, skiing conditions and the group, we have several different possibilities for daytrips - getting high onto a mountain top or swooping down into the St. Jons fjorde to explore the sea ice and the wildlife associated with it.

Day 8
The Nansen pass and the Bore glacier.
This day we start on the way down from the glacier, we camp close to The Nansen pass, the mountain pass that separates the Nansen glacier and the Bore glacier. When we are down from the pass we come out onto the mighty Bore glacier where we once again get the spectacular view over Isfjorden and we can even spot the mountains around Longyearbyen 50km away. We make our last camp above the glacier front.

Day 9      
Last day on the ice. We pack up our camp as usual and start our way down the glacier front, through the moraine landscapes and onto the sea ice of Borebukta. Around lunch time the boat will be back to pick us up and we travel back to Longyearbyen. After arriving at the port we will all be transported back to the guest house for a hot shower and a good dinner.

Day 10
Breakfast and journey home. 

The weather can vary during the day, and with respect to the safety of our guests, we reserve the right to make any necessary changes to our trip.

Wind proof jacket (and preferably also waterproof e.g. GoreTex, BreTex or similar membrane fabric)1
Windproof pants (Like the jacket)1
Thick insulated jacket to put over your wind proof jacket during breaks1
Thick woollen sweater or fleece jacket1
T-shirts, thin woollen shirts or other technical underwear2
Warm underwear (longjons and top with full length arms). Preferably wool or woollen terry2 sets (minimum)
Warm and wind proof hat that also protects your ears in the wind1
Warm and wind proof mittens. Preferably wool or down mittens with wind proof over mittens + Thin gloves1 pair + 1 pair
Thin hiking socks (2 pair) + Thick woollen socks (2 pair)4 pairs
Scarf and/or balaclava1
Climbing harness1* (NOK 200)
Gaiters/leggings (not needed if you rent ski/skiboots from us)1 pair
Ski boots, skis, skins and ski poles1 sett* (NOK 2500)

Back pack (40 liter +/- 20 liters)

1

Sleeping mat / roll mat.

1* (NOK 200)
Sleeping bag (minimum comfort temperature >/=-20Celsius)1* (NOK 600)
Liner for sleepping bag or thin sleepingbag1
Ski-gogles1
Sun glasses1
Thermos botle 1L + "Nalgene" drinking botle  1L (Thermos is for water only to use for lunch, bring one extra thermos or termo cup if you like one for hot drink during the day.)1 + 1
Compass (optional)1
Water prof duffel bag / waterprof bags for your equipment 
(Total 60-90 L)
1-2
Toilet articles, towel, sun cream and other private equipment 

- Items marked with * can be provided by Turgleder on request for free or at an additional cost. Any additional cost is given in parenthesis. Information about equipment you need must be conveyed to Turgleder minimum 1 month before the trip.

- Please note that this is the minimum required clothing and equipment for this holiday. You are of course welcome to bring other clothes and equipment in addition to this.

- You should pack your clothing in waterproof bags to avoid equipment from becoming wet during the tour.

- If you choose to bring your own sleeping bag, this needs to be a warm winter sleeping bag with minimum comfort temperature >/=-20Celsius.

- If you choose to bring your own sleeping mat, it must be suitable for camping on snow. A foam mat (roll mat) should be thick /insulated enough for use on snow (≈14mm). If you also have a inflatable mat you can bring that and combine it with the roll mat, that you can hire from us (this combination ensures extra comfort).

- You are of course welcome to bring your own skis on this trip. The skis must, however, be mountain/expedition skis (back country skis) or touring skis. Racing skis or other narrow and/or short skis will not do the job. The skis are vital on this trip and anything other than mountain/expedition skis or touring skis are not considered safe to use on this trip.

- Turgleder can provide a modern expedition ski package;
The package contains modern light weight expedition skis (Åsnes Amundsen) and poles (Åsnes Horgi/Vidda), skins and boots (Alfa Polar A/P/S or Alfa Quest A/P/S). The price for hiring the ski package is NOK 2500 for the whole trip.

-Please do not forget your camera with extra batteries and memory card(s)

Turgleder will provide:
- Tents
- Stoves, cutlery and cooking equipment
- Pulks (sledges for equipment transport)
- Other equipment necessary for this trip
- Safety equipment as weapons, flare gun, emergency beacon, first aid kit etc.

Equipment that you do not need on the expedition can be stored in Longyearbyen.

Dates 2019:

  • 29th April to 20th May - (A longer skiing expedition, new rute, only for privious guests who have joined us on the Finnmark Plateau or in Spitsbergen. Send us an email for more information)

  • 23rd May to 1st June - (Guide Kasper) Guaranteed departure.


Min. 2 and max 8 guests + guides
Private trips are available on request from 1st May to 25th June.

The price includes:
Guide, all meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 10 (exept lunch and dinner day 2), some equipment (see equipmentlist), lodging in Longyearbyen, search and rescue insurance.

Lodging:
Single rooms are available for an additional NOK 650 per day, total NOK 1950 for 3 nights.
The nights in tents, teams of 2 to 3 persons will share one tent.

The price does not include:
· Travel to/from Longyearbyen
· Extra activities in Longyearbyen
· Lunch and dinner day 2
· Personal equipment (please check the equipment list)
· Travel insurance
· Alcoholic beverages

We would like to encourage you to stay a few extra days in Longyearbyen to explore the town and the surroundings. We recommend that you stay one or more days after the trip also as a security for weather related delay coming back to Longyearbyen from the skiing trip.

If you need more information about this adventure before you make your reservation/booking, please feel free to contact us via mail@turgleder.com or call us on +47 90855556 (Liv).

When you are ready to book, please go to “booking” under the «general information» tab and fill in and submit the booking/registration form. When we receive your booking/registration form we will reserve a place for you and send you a booking confirmation also including some questions if necessary and a waiver/disclaimer of responsability. When all details regarding your participation are in place, we will send you an invoice. Your reservation is valid for 7 days after the invoice is sent. The waiver/discalimer of responsability must be signed to be accepted as a member on this expedition.
For more information, please see our booking terms and condition under the “general information” tab.

Please also give us feedback on following:

  • Any allergies/intolerances, food preferences (e.g. vegetarian)
  • Any medical conditions that we should know about
  • Any equipment you would like to borrow /rent from Turgleder

Note: If you do not receive a reply right away, please be patient with us. We might be out on other adventures without any internet connections. However, if you have not received a response within 3 days, let us know.

Film from our 2015 trip on Spitsbergen. Enjoy and welcome on our next trip.