Arctic Skitouring

After a really great time skiing and touring up at bell2 lodge and burnie glacier chalet with a group of friends we spent a good time on Haida Gwaii for  seakayaking. We weren`t really lucky with fishing but we caught some crabs and were hunting mussels and clams.  For me it was the first time to see the Pacific coastal rainforest. And i was really impressed. As i am working as an Arborist in summertime i have seen and climbed lots of big trees around Europe, but these Cedars and Sitkas are really breathtaking.

After 3 great week it was time to head north east. My brother organizes ski trips to Svalbard/Spitsbergen and we guided a group of snowboarders for the pleasure snowboardmagazine. For me it was the first time in the Arctic. The day we arrived it was pretty warm and heavy snowfall started. Two days later we had perfect snowconditions. So we packed tents, sleeping bags, pots and food for 4 days,  started our stinky and noisy skidoos and went our into the arctic wilderness. Soon we left the skidoo tracked main roots and placed our camp on a pass in a really hidden valley. Far enough away from the coast to avoid polar bear contact. There are 2800 habitants on svalbard and 3000 polar bears. So you have to watch for them and be careful. An old gun from WW2 was our trusty buddy on all trips. Around the camp we installed a fence which blows out some signals in case of bear contact.

We felt pretty save after a shooting contest, the installed fence and a meeting with a local hunter. He told us that the polar bears are quite friendly right now because a lot of reindeers are starving and dieing because of a thick icelayer above the ground. The reindeers can not break this layer and cannot find food.

All the bowls were filled with light powder, even after some days with winds. There were so many possibilities for skiing that even the 24 hour daylight was not enough to ski all the good stuff. for the photo crew it was great to have sun set light nearly all day. and for us it was great to be able to skin up a mountain as soon as it got too cold. The rythm got a bit different. sleep long, ski from 3 p.m to 11 p.m. have a short break for food, get out again at 1 a.m and ski until 5 or 6 a.m . So we avoided the coldest temperatures (-28 °C) hanging around in the camp but  skiing around beautiful sceneries. One day, we made a trip to Pyramiden, a former russian settlement where they exploited brown cole. Just 4 men are living there at the moment, and i don`t want to know what they did wrong to end up here. For the snoboarders it was a great scenery for their jibbing and we had some beers in the pub (wich was the only open building in Paramiden).

After 4 days we returned to Longyearbyen, the main village on Svalbard and main starting point for some North Pole Expeditions. Eventually, we heard about the volcano in Iceland and the world wide chaos he caused. For me it is pretty exciting to see all the globalized society and economy going down because of a single volcano. And not a single man on earth, even with all money can stop this. This meant for us that we were not able to get off the island the next days. Finally, we caught a plane to Tromso, the next Airport in northern Norway. From here we had to take a bus for 30 hours to Oslo and from there another bus to Munich, Germany for another 24 hours. Europe can be pretty big as well.

Thanks, Eyjafjalla for the lesson.

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