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News and Insights on Dutch expeditions and alpine climbs


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06-05 Goose flight and tracks

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The next morning we decided to explore the direct surroundings of Goose Camp One. After a small descent from a nearby ridge we found a way to reach the ridge overlooking our camp, the sea and fjord. After taking in this beautiful view and Han planting his pole on the very top (628m) we left our signatures in the soft snow all the way down to the camp.

The second part of the day was completely taken by the preparations of getting Arthur to the air in his mechanized power kite. We kept wondering why man wants to fly, certainly if only with a large propellent on the back. But first, it were the engineering concerns of getting the propeller running. At subzero temperatures all sorts of funny things happen to lubricants and mechanics. It took the a mechanical and an aerospace engineer all their craftsmanship to get the propeller working while Amon and Bas were paving an airstrip with the skidoos. Yes, we are an airport now!

After the track and engine were ready all we needed was a little wind to get the kite in the air. And then the wind dropped… Arthur could now only kick start the kite by running in reverse direction with the propeller on his back revving up. No small deal in the snow with heavy boots and a 25 kg engine on the back. It looked like a mission impossible, but such was the urge to fly that Arthur managed to get it up. And off he went. Quickly Goose Camp One and the rest of us were reduced to the size of mice with Arthur getting the complete panorama. Even the short stalling of the engine did not put him off. Goose Flight One was a fact!

In the evening Maarten and Han checked out two other hills in view of the camp.The first slope was too dangerous and during the second slope decent a loud ‘Whumm’ sound was heard, propagating through the full hang. Yes, we are at avalanche risk level 3!

Bas, Arthur and Amon practiced their marksman skills on a life size snow and ice version of a polar bear.

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05-05 GOOSE CAMP

The day started with packing the three skidoo’s with trailers. Quite a challenge to fit all the loose bags and equipment. Next time we need to bring baggage netting! After topping up all jerrycans at the gas station we were finally set for our departure. The first part of our route was along the skidoo highway to Barentzburg, taking in the larger landscape for the first time.

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The little town of Barentzburg is in sharp contrast with the splendid environment of Spitsbergen. There dark smoke rises from the chimney of the power station. Rust is everywhere and the crunched inhabitants stroll through tracks blackened by coal. Therefore we stepped on the gas and quickly came to our first challenge: a steep hill where two of our skidoo’s capsized. Only Arthur was able to get the skidoo’s over the gradient. The rest of us could only watch and follow on foot after Arthur had brought the last one at the top. From there we descended again and followed the waterline until the end of the fjord. After a 300 meter climb we arrived in the saddle we picked on the map. It turned out to be the ideal location to explore the surroundings for the coming days, Goose Camp One was set.

 

We started our routine with the polar bears, adding a local taste to our watch system and decided on a 2 hour shift. We were advised to let one of us outside all the time and have the rifles on standby. We put up tripwires, but not to arm them until necessary (poor visibility). Each flash costing around 80 euros, we spared many rounds on the first day getting used to the system. We could have a big party at the Sval bar, if we would count all the times the wire was accidentally set off…. 


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The team traveled to Svalbard. We have not heard from them yet. So the full store will follow soon..

Reisinfo Spitsbergen0

If all is well the team is currently in Bunsow land. Top right of this picture.

Team 2013 Pionieren.Org is planning to get to these area's

Team 2013 Pionieren.Org is planning to get to these area’s

We hope to inform you on more in depth stories once they can reach us ( webmaster )


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2013 Svalbard ski-mountaineering expedition: 04-05 First tracks!

ImageAfter arranging the last details, we go into the direction of Skolten. This mountain is one of the highest in the Longyearbyen area and looks like a good ski-mountain on the map. Snow conditions were poor: hard windpacked snow with many zastrugis. We needed to tune into the scale of these polar mountains: everything seems smaller. The last ridge part was so steep and hard, we needed crampons/harscheisen. On the 1128m high summit we had a marvelous view of all surrounding mountains, with a low cloud filling the valleys. The descent was notvery special due to snow conditions, but we managed a few nice turns, avoiding several caribous. Maarten set a new record: wrecking his skipoles, this time in 4 days.

In the evening Bas and Amon arrived. So now, the team is complete!


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2013 Svalbard ski-mountaineering expedition: 03-05 Starting up

2013 Svalbard ski-mountaineering expedition startup ship

It is organising day:

Snow scooters, rifles, flare gun, shopping, fuel and some other things that we need in the field. After a short rifle practice it is time to test the scooters. Destination Tempelfjorden. Earlier today, a mother polar bear with 2 cubs was spotted there. Enjoying the ride on the powerful scooters, we saw caribou, seals and some tracks of polar bears. We heard from the hospitable crew of the ship “Noorderlicht” that earlier that morning the mother and cubs past the boat at 80m. We did a short tour of the fjord to look for the bears. Better luck next time…


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2013 Svalbard ski-mountaineering expedition: Departure

2013 Svalbard ski-mountaineering expedition DEPARTURE

2013 Svalbard ski-mountaineering expedition DEPARTURE

Schiphol airport with a bit too much luggage. Some stressful repacking later, we have 4 bags each. Checking in is ok. Next stop is Copenhagen, then on to Oslo. After a great burger, we move on to the flight to Longyearbyen. Some trouble with our luggage on boarding, but after a short wait, everything is ok.

23.30u: arrival at Longyearbyen after an impressive flyby of many snow covered peaks. All luggage has arrived! Short walk of Longyearbyen to cool down and then it is time for some sleep.