SVALBARD, HIGH ARCTIC
The Expedition took place in the Norwegian High Arctic on the archipelago of Svalbard.
Svalbard is home to the northernmost settlement on Earth, Longyearbyen, and to 3000 or so polar bears! The archipelago is covered at 60% by glaciers and is pretty mountainous with the highest peak reaching 1713 m.
Joining the dots
In Svalbard, there are no trails or paths as soon as you leave Longyearbyen. We let the Science we want to do dictate the route, while keeping in mind logistics and safety.
We have decided that "joining the dots" between the different research stations scattered on the archipelago would be very useful. Such a transect had never been done on skis, which guaranteed clean sampling, and the preservation of the environment.
Here is a map of the route we ended up doing last April. Heavy sea ice conditions prevented us to be pick up in Hornsund, we therefore decided to avoid going there and ended our journey at Calypsobyen.
Click below to have access to the original plan we had made:
Ny Alesund to Pyramiden
Into the wild. This first leg should take us between 8 to 10 days. We will take it slow, after all these will be our first days back in the field and it is crucial that we take it slow to get into a good rhythm.
Ny Alesund is an international research "village" operated by Kingsbay. It is located in North West Svalbard and is surrounded by incredibly huge tidewater glaciers. It is also one of the very few places where black carbon has been studied for many decades, a natural starting point for us!
2021 update: the leg took us 11 days, we experience the worst possible weather but made it eventually!
Pyramiden to Sveagruva
After crossing some large glaciers and deep fjords, Pyramiden will be the first "pit stop" of our expedition. A great opportunity to check our bodies, our equipment and regroup.
We will get rid of our first samples there, and have them sent back to a freezer in Longyearbyen. But our pulkas won't get any lighter as we will trade them with our first food resupply.
It should take us another 8-10 days to ski south towards the former mining town of SveaGruva and have another quick pit-stop there!
2021 update: it did take us 10 days to reach Svea, luckily the weather ended up improving.
Sveagruva to Horsund
The last leg of our expedition will be the most technical and wildest one. We will be highly dependent on sea ice, and vulnerable to highly crevassed glaciers. We aim to spend another 8-10 days on this leg, collecting our last samples along the way.
At the end of this leg, the polish station of Hornsund located in one of the most alpine looking fjords of the archipelago.
All along this expedition, you will be able to track our progress and read our daily "blog" from the field.
2021 update: sadly the sea ice conditions around Horsund would have prevented us from being picked up for days, we decided to stop our journey at the southernmost spot we could be picked up: Calypsobyen.