Korpijaakko

– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Post 5: Summer has arrived!

22.04.2011 – 19th day on skis

We left the town of Pyramiden (and the bar…) in the morning of Saturday 23rd. Sun was shining and temperature was clearly rising. We saw several seals on the sea ice but no polar bears. Some seals lety us ski very close before diving to the safety of the thick ice. After four legs of skiing we arrived at the shore near the fractured edge of the Nordenskjöldbreen. From there we started over 500 meter ascent along snowmobile track – with snowmobiles passing by often. The peace of the arctic wilderness was gone but for some reason it didn’t matter. During the sweaty climb we scored a new temperature record for the expedition when the thermometer rise to +15 Celsius in the sun! And no wind at all! We pitched the camp on a high pass and had a birthday party with some chocolate cake and Minttu kaakao (hot chocolate with peppermint liquor – veeery good!). A group of eight Spanyards arrived late in the evening and camped next to us.

The Sunday 24th started with great descent: almost 500 meters of downhill! The circle closed when we arrived at our old tracks (Well, they were nto visible anymore but we had been there two weeks earlier…) in the Gipsdalen. The descent was nice but the following climb wasn’t. Mister Boulton has probably been a pretty nasty guy if the glacier that we climbed is named accordingly! =D Once again some 500 vertical meters of sweaty pulka hauling in warm weather and after that we pitched the camp again to a high pass after seven legs of skiing. The wisdom for high camps is avoiding bear guard duty during the night. In the evening we had Finnish Easter delicacy mämmi (if you don’t know what it is, try Google picture search) for dessert, and boy it was good!

Monday morning started with another great downhill section when we skied back to the sea ice of Tempelfjorden that we had crossed over two weeks earlier. The sea water edge was now very close to our route and the route that we skied in the beginning would have been impossible now. The snow mobile track was occasionally slushy and all snow was wet and you could almost see it melt. During the day we passed a Basecamp boat and cottage in Freheim that are used as a restaurangs by local tour operators but unfortunately both were closed. We made a camp far enough from the the sea to avoid bear guard. We didn’t see any polar bears at Tempelfjorden so that was likely it: no bears to be seen on this trip. It’s quite a dissapointment…

We are now advancing slowly to arriev in schedule to Longyarbyen. OUr plan included one rest day for storms that hasn’t been used and now we ski short days to spent that extra day. Because of this we started Tuesday one hour later than usually, this meant one hour of extra sleep! I haven’t been able to sleep the planned eight hours at most (or any) of the nights as there is alwasy something interesting to do, so the extra hour is welcome. We spent the day skiing along the snowmobile track in great sunny weather and no wind with thermoter peaking at +16 Celsius in the sun! Some of us, me included, skied without shirts as it was very, very warm. We had an extra long lunch break (70 minutes) to kill some time and we slept and rested in the sun. In the camp we brought sleeping mats and stoves outside and cooked and ate together in the sun. The evenign was spent with the miniature Mölkku game that I had brought and we popped the rest of our popcorns. THe weather has been incredibly and unusually warm and mild. This has caused some problems (too hot sleeping bags, sports drink powder being on rationing, badly burned and sore nose dispite SPF 50 sun screen) but mostly it has been very nice but not that arctic…

Tomorrow we will ski six legs the the outskirts of Longyearbyen and on Thursday morning we will get to th town and start gear maintenance and packing, get to a shover for the first time in three weeks, do some shopping, go to a restaurang, etc. The flight back will leave aroun 04:00 on Friday night so next updates will be from Finland.

Thanks or following! There will be still updates reated to this expedition at least thru the whole May and I have over 64 Gt of pictures and video to sort out…

All well for the expedition.

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One response to “Post 5: Summer has arrived!

  1. Pingback: Ultima Thule 2011 trip report – in pictures! « Korpijaakko

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