Monday, 4 June 2012

Svalbard/ Spitzbergen - the dogsled expedition to the east coast


so we´re back. safe...
we went to Svalbard again- the land of the polar bears - but this time we chose not to do strenous hikes with 30 kg backpacks on our backs hiking up and down glaciers, moraines and fantastic mountains like we did in 2009 and 2010 but to do it the easy way- on dogsleds.

It was may 2012 - a time when the sun already shines 24/7 but summer is still far away with  temperatures below zero and a good breeze and moderate snowfall every now and then. The perfect setting for some winter camping :-)

It didn´t take us long to realize that calling it the "easy way" wasn´t quite appropiate :-)

We went with Sebastian, a 22 yrs. old danish musher from greendog.no (www.greendog.no), a Huskie kennel that has about 120 dog (about 80 running) and in our team was Hans Andersen, a swedish Adventurer (http://aktivaaventyr.wordpress.com/) who has been to the north pole on skis in 2008.

It was a 5 day trip, we did a good 170 km through the fantastic white valleys of this beautiful island, we were a team of 4 sleds- each pulled by 6 strong and good Alaskan Huskies and Greenland dogs who wanted nothing more than run, run, run! No matter how deep the snow, no matter how steep the hill, no matter how cold the wind...





It took us 3 days to get to the east coast, where the pack ice touches the land and where the king of the arctic- the polar bear lives.
We did not see him, but I guess 24 barking dogs is nothing a polar bears really feels very attracted too...
We had a great time and even made a first ascent of the trehoggdalen - a meltwater canal system that had eaten a path into the mountain and looked quite passable on the map but turned out to be a real pain in the x to go up there on dog sleds- both for the dogs and us, having to help the strong guys pulling, pushing the sleds up the hills...





The last night we spent outside, sleeping in bivouacs in the snow - safe from the wind , close to the dogs and in total harmony with ourselfs and the surrounding nature