Svalbard Ski Expedition 2017

Mar 18

Bitter cold

Published at 20:39
Dispatch created from email
Clouds departed overnight and we woke to a clear, still and very frosty morning. Flanked north and south by valley mountains we skied single file up Sassendalen towards Rabot Glacier. The temperature dropped steadily and eventually fell off the end of my thermometer which reads a minimum of -30c. It was bitter and we all felt the added challenge of an ever so slight wind that chipped at our morale. Breaks were a tortuous affair.

At 3.30pm we pulled up stumps as Sabine's core dropped to an unmanageable level. Tents were up as the light started to fade and we jumped in and lit our life-saving stoves. As ill-fortune would have it the stove she shares with Rebecca played up and despite some maintenance in their vedstibule I had to swap it for ours. I now hear the stove next door in their tent and I smile knowing they're snug and warm.

Svalbard is a desperately cold place in March and camping in these conditions presents a greater challenge than those experienced on my North and South Pole trips. The nightly disappearance of the sun is the big difference.


  • Name: Camp 2
  • Elevation: 27 m
  • Latitude: 78° 1520North
  • Longitude: 17° 4533East


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