This sticky post is here to briefly inform you about what is going on at the moment. See posts below for recent updates!
I am a member in the Ultima Thule 2011 expedition led by arctic veteran Kari “Vaiska” Vainio. Starting on Thursday April 7th I am at Svalbard on a three-week long arctic skiing expeditions and I will return back to Finland on April 29th.
Ultima Thule 2011 expedition in a nut shell:
The Ultima Thule 2011 expedition consists of 12 people with different backgrounds but with a shared interest in the Arctic and in challenging expeditions. We will spent three weeks on the arctic wilderness of Spitsbergen covering some 300 kilometers on our skis unassisted and unsupported. The main goals of the expedition are to:
1) to cross 79 degrees Nothern latitude,
2) to climb on top of the highest fells in Svalbard the Newtontoppen (1713 m) and the Perriertoppen (1712 m),
3) see a polar bear in its natural environment from a safe distance,
4) …and have a good time.
On April 7th we will fly from Helsinki to Oslo and from there to Longyearbyen in Svalbard. There we will do the last preparations and in the morning of April 8th we will take a bandvagn ride along Adventdalen to our starting point at Fredheim. From there we will start the skiing (hopefully) by crossing the frozen Tempelfjorden fjord and climbing over 1000 meters to the Lomonosovfonna ice plateau. Then we will continue to North to Newtontoppen and Perriertoppen, descent to Austfjorden fjord, ski from there to the abandoned Russian city of Pyramiden and cross the frozen Billefjord back to our starting point. There are many variables and plans may change but that is the plan and it is quite certain that we will return to Finland on April 29th.
The map is courtesy of the Czech Centre for Polar Ecology. Click to open a bigger version!
To get an idea about the expected conditions see my previous post about The average day in the arctic. For additional background information there is also a bunch of expedition related posts in my blog under the category Ultima thule 2011.
Follow the expedition!
We will carry a satellite phone and a laptop powered with solar panel, so we are able to send daily updates about our progress. The official expedition blog is in Finnish but I intent to sent few dispatches a week to my blog in English. You can subscribe to the blog to get the updates or follow me on Twitter to get notification about new updates from the ice or just visit occasionally to check how we are doing. Unfortunately I am not able to read blog comments or answer them during the trip. See links below for more information!
- The official expedition homepage (in Finnish and in English).
- The official expedition blog (in Finnish only). This would be the recommended read for April for those who are initiated to the dark secrets of the Finnish language.
- My blog. Yes, the very site you are reading at the moment. This would be the recommended read for April for those who prefer English.
- The weather in Svalbard by yr.no. This is the weather forecast we will be watching while out there.