– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Post 6: From the arctic to the Southern spring

30.4.2011 – The 1st full day at home for a while

Somewhere along Lomonosovfonna

I am now back from my three-week expedition to the cold shores and jagged peaks of Svalbard. Ultima Thule 2011 is over but the aftermath has barely started.

Tent after a blizzard. Spot the pulka on the left!

On Thursday we skied a tad over one leg to the warehouse where we mended and dried our gear. We took an early start at 07:00 and had enough time to do some shopping and eat lunch in cafeteria before receiving our rooms at the hostel. We didn’t sleep much during the day but instead mostly bought souveniers, packed gear for return trip, had a long dinner in restaurant and many drinks in the bar.

Expedition closing to its end. Longyerby in the horizon.

Taxis came to pick us up at the Friday night around 01:30 and we went to airport for the lat big gear hassle. It was a nice hassle trying to squeeze 23 kilo of gear to our bags, 12 kilo to our carry on packages and as little gear as possible to our sleds (they are quite expensive to fly around). At the end the airport stuff just surrendered and put the stickers on all the packs, most un-weighted, and everything was okay. A short nap at the airport floor and the sleepy flight to Oslo, a quick change at the Oslo airport and a bit less sleepy flight to Helsinki. We where back in Helsinki around 11:00 local time and were amazed by the warmth and green grass.

An arctic fox seen from the bar window. Svalbard is wild country.

Preliminary summary

And inspired by Joe’s old post, here is a short summary in numbers:

20 continuous night in a tent in a sleeping bag, personal record
300+ kilometers of skiing, personal record
1712 meters, the peak of Perriertoppen, the highest point of the expedition
100000 calories eaten
2-3 kilo of weight loss (less than anticipated)
1 full day spent storm bound
2 day spent partially storm bound
0 the day when tents were needed as a shelter for lunch break
1 badly burned nose now covered with salve
64 GB of pictures and video shot
+ 16 Celsius, the warmest temperature in the thermometer during the trip
– 25 Celsius, the coldest temperature during the trip

79 degrees Northern latitude crossed!

What next?

Last night I had a nice 11 hours sleep in a proper bed, for the first time for over three weeks. Most of the gear is sorted out and waiting to be washed. I have almost 64 GB of pictures and video to be processed so it will take some time. There are some randomly picked teasers in this post but most of the pictures are still waiting to be uploaded on the computer. And unfortunately I have also three weeks od undone work waiting for me, starting on Monday.

The pass between Galleribreen and Tryggvebreen. Snowy slopes of Perriertoppen on the right.

Despite the minor obstacles I plan to write a punch of post-trip posts and get a nice set of pictures online. But it will take some time.

At the moment I am planning:
– an in-depth post covering my personal views on the expedition in general
– a post about the food which was plenty and worked well
– a post covering major observations on gear
– two sets of pictures (set for those with more time and a very selected batch for those with less time or interest)
– some kind of video built from all the short clips along the way, but this one will take time as I have to first learn how to edit the stuff smoothly together

If there are some things that you are especially interested and would like to know more, please leave a comment and I will try to cover the topics in the following posts!

And it seems to be almost summer here in Southern Finland so I have to put skis and winter gear in the storage and search my summer gear. Before leaving to Svalbard I already bought a neoprene wetsuit (can’t afford a proper dry suit) so there are trips being planned and when there is something coming up, I’ll let you know!


12 responses to “Post 6: From the arctic to the Southern spring

  1. Hendrik 30/04/2011 at 16:57

    Welcome back, and looking forward to the posts and photos and videos. For the latter, iMovie is the way to go, easy, fast, great UI.

  2. -maria- 01/05/2011 at 08:13

    Welcome back home, Jaakko! Yes, it’s spring here now. Good to hear your expedition went well, looking forward to your future posts.

  3. tyy 02/05/2011 at 14:55

    Welcome back!

    I hope you can write a story to Outa, if possible.

  4. Outsider/Yeti 02/05/2011 at 16:30

    I’m very much looking forward to the coming posts about the expedition.

  5. korpijaakko 02/05/2011 at 18:30

    Thank you all for your comments! Apparently there are no related topics that would need special attention?

    I will concider writing to Outa but there is also another project going on and I’ll have to see how things go.

  6. Tomas 05/05/2011 at 14:05

    Great pics! 64 GB of data! It’s going to be a lot of work to get that all sorted out 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing how your gear held up, especially the tents. Good to see everyone made it back in one piece!

  7. korpijaakko 05/05/2011 at 19:09

    Hi Tomas! Nice to see you visiting. I’ve just finished watching all the video I took. A lot of it. But unfortunately most is not nearly as good as I wished. I would have needed a professional video tripod and head – weighting a metric ton or so… Tents held out perfectly despite the quite spectacular winds caught also on video… I think that the only damage for tents was small holes in two tents caused by crampon spikes and some bending in the poles but that is somewhat normal.

  8. Maz 10/05/2011 at 22:55

    Deeply depressing, yet oddly liberating, when you get home from something like that. Looks like an epic trip of the sort that writing about will never quite capture the emotion. I look forward to reading it and remember, the best thing to help you re-live a trip like that is planning the next one! If anything, I am interested in how you coped with the hard times (I am assuming you did have some) and how you got on with others.

  9. korpijaakko 12/05/2011 at 23:48

    Thanks for comment, Maz. Something like that but preferably I would have kept skiing instead of ending the trip. There was surprisingly little hard times. Maybe I was well prepared or had a different attitude than some but I’m afraid my stories wont be that dramatic. It was just a good trip that ended a bit too soon… as they often do. 😉

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

  11. markswalkingblog 07/06/2011 at 11:04

    Jaakho, I came across your blog after you posted on my blog. Can I say that you have an excellent blog, I have really enjoyed your trip to Svalbard, the photos were excellent of a truly awe inspiring landscape.
    I have added you to my blog roll and have subscribed to your blog.
    I look forward to more 🙂

  12. korpijaakko 07/06/2011 at 16:59

    Thanks Mark! It’s always nice to have new readers and hear kind words. After all, that’s why we write about things: to share them. As great as the Svalbard expedition was, I hope that it’s not a “trip of a life time” but more like “trip to start with”. 😉 The landscape there is incredible! I think that it’s more beautiful in the winter than in the summer as it’s mostly barren black rock with hard constant sun light. But I hope that at some point I can visit Svalbard in the summer too.

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