The road through Norway, part IV: Svalbard

Being the last outpost before the North Pole, the backcountry of Svalbard is one that truly deserves to be called wilderness. On these desolate islands approximately 2500 people share the land with more than 3000 polar bears. The geography is striking: pointy mountains rising out of the sea, broad valleys crosscut by glacial rivers, ridgelines as sharp as the edge of a knife. 60% percent of the land is covered with ice.

Outside of the main settlements (and even inside of the smaller ones) carrying a rifle and a signal pistol are basic safety requirements. It’s a land of hunters and trappers, where sound instincts and a good intuition are necessary for survival, where us humans are not always on top of the food chain. I had seen Svalbard once before in summertime so a return to the islands while completely covered in a white, fluffy blanket was long overdue.

Continue reading “The road through Norway, part IV: Svalbard”

Winter Finally Arrived: Guiding in Extreme Temperatures

Ruosovoma

About one week ago temperatures started falling drastically, first from between -5°C and -10°C to -20°C, afterwards further down to -30°C and below. All activities are continuing just as before, so there is suddenly much more to think about and to care about on every trip. Once under -25°C and especially under -30°C the risk for frostbites strongly increases, especially when on a sled or snow scooter as the wind reinforces the cold effect. Being the guide has become much more challenging during past week and it takes much more effort to make people feel comfortable and safe on tour.  Continue reading “Winter Finally Arrived: Guiding in Extreme Temperatures”