Svalbard in our hearts forever

15 days in the breath-taking Svalbard nature moving along with the wind is an insane experience. Spitsbergen island has been one of the most perfect places we’ve experienced as kiters. We made a primar blueprint of coordinates planning this trip moving from south to north, with the intention of mapping the possible areas to kite. Challenging our own planned route, it turned out perfect when we allow ourselfs to follow the natures plan. When we decided to follow the wind, and not go against it, we could kite every day. Moving through valleys and spectacular glaciers we collected memories for life.

Svalbard has the most beautiful nature in the world, and using the force of the wind as transport while discovering this breathtaking landscape, just blew us away. No noise, just silence moving along with the wind in this crazy place. We had beautiful sunny mornings with no wind just enjoying out breakfast and the ever changing scenery surrounding us. Around midday, the wind started blowing. We rigged our kites and got them up in the air, and kept going until the wind dropped. Just in time to make camp and get some much needed rest for the next day’s adventures.

Moving from the Rabot glacier to Longyearbyen took us three days traveling with the wind. The plan was to use longer time, but the wind suddenly got stronger and made us move a lot faster.

 

It was a special feeling when we finally spotted the city in the horizon again and kited into Longyearbyen after 15 days out in the field. Hurtigruten Svalbard wished us a warm welcome when we came kiting into the city.

After that we had some really nice food and the best shower ever. A much needed shower after all these days. We didn’t exactly smell like flowers. 🙂 We were so happy to be back in the civilization, but at the same time it was a bit sad that this awesome adventure was over. This has been an unforgettable adventure. An experience for life. We have fallen completely in love with this nature. Svalbard is in our hearts forever and we will definitely be back for new adventures.

Thanks to all the people that has follow the trip and to Lone Helle that has updated our blog and media. Also a big tanks to all the sponsors that made our dream come true. We have now a lot of material that we will fore sure share with you guys and we also have new exited plans 🙂

More will come

Day 13: Gone with the wind

The weather has been awesome on this trip, but the wind has not been on our side. After a longer stop at Rabotbreen/Rabot glacier, we have now decided to change our planned route.

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We are going to follow the wind and team up with the forces of nature to get back home. We are heading for Longyearbyen with the wind. We hope to arrive in Longyearbyen before this weekend. It all depends on the wind, but we expect it to take somewhere between one and three days. If we get good wind tomorrow we can get there in one day, but with no wind it will take us up to three days to walk.

The weather forecast for the next week shows light head wind, which makes crossing the glacier risky, and it increases the possibility of falling into crevasses. We don’t want that to happen.  And that is why we are heading back. We work with the forces of nature, not against them.

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Right now we are in Sassendalen/Sassen Valley. Today has been totally awesome. The best on the whole trip. We have kited 20 kilometres in only 1,5 hour. Finally we are playing on the same team as the wind. Not to forget – powder snow and beautiful weather. Today has been worth the whole trip alone. This is what we came here for. To kite! Today Svalbard was the coolest place on earth to kite.

We have loads of great pictures and film from kiting, camping, glaciers and spectacular nature – and we can’t wait to show you all of it. ❤

The atmosphere is the team is great, but we have to admitt that we are really looking forward to take a long shower now. Shower, shave, spa and some fresh underwear. We stink. Haha. 😀

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PS! We have still not seen any polar bears, except from Kari – who keeps seeing them everywhere. 🙂

All photos in this post are from last weekend and photographed by: Francisco Mattos

Day 11-12: We have reached a new glacier

Lately we have had some wind. We have kited more and had some really good days, but we have mainly had headwind. Svalbard is stunning, but the wind has been a bit difficult for us. From 0 to 20 m/s. It has also been really cold with minus 23 Celsius degrees.

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Photos above: Francisco Mattos

Now we are at Rabotbreen / Rabot Glacier. The ice is so beautiful. Crazy blue, and incredibly beautiful. We have kited here and had a closer look at the glacier.

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The weather forecast reports worse weather for the next days. We are hoping for wind and perfect conditions of course.

Here are some snapshots from the last few days. Enjoy! 🙂

Day 8 – 10: Breath-taking scenery and a small fire

Thursday 
Thursday started refreshingly with wind and limited visibility. We rigged our kites and kited for about a kilometre. Then the wind suddenly died. The day has been sunny, but no wind for the rest of the day.

We walked from “Agaardbukta” and up to “Jøkulvannet”. That is where they say all the polar bears are, as it is the place people go to look for polar bears. We had to camp there because we had no wind, but we had polar bear watch all the time. The campsite was amazing with a perfect view to Agaardbukta and the sea ice.

We got to kite up a valley this evening with wind straight in the face. We have also been kiting next to a glacier. So blue and icy. That was really cool.

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It has been a very cold night, but we have very hot sleeping bags. Minus 25 degrees is making polar bear watch painful, but it helps with a spectacular view. 🙂

We have had an accident with one of the camping stoves today. We assume it had a defect – which resulted in a small explosion. One of the tents caught fire, but luckily, no one was injured. Only the fly sheet/outer tent. All the other equipment is fine and so are we. We have gotten rid of the broken camping stove: it was a good thing that we had an extra one with us.

Friday
We walked up to Passbreen. It was so heavy to walk up with the sled. It is rigged and packed for kiting, not for pulling it while walking … But the view was super beautiful.

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Kari finally saw a real (chocolate) polar bear. We had to give her a real one since she keeps imagining them everywhere all the time. Ha ha. And Cecilie and Lars got a new tent to, so everything is good. Super nice actually!

Saturday
It has been a very cold night, but now the sun is coming up. We slept a little longer than the other days today. Felt like we needed it to charge our batteries a bit. Today we are setting course towards “Sassendalen” and “Rabotbreen”. If we don’t get any wind, we’ll just to keep walking with heavy loaded sleds.

Weather report says no wind today, but clear sky and still freezing cold. It is supposed to be a change in weather tonight.

It has been an incredible experience so far. We are so small in such great nature. Sometimes it is good to have a reminder that we are only humans, small decimals in the big picture. We are moving in a landscape that have existed long before humans walked the earth and will continue to exist when humans no longer walk the earth. We are guests in a nature we only have on loan. An away ground we humans never can tame or truly own. We can only humbly pay a visit – as we are doing on this expedition. We are really enjoying this adventure.

All photos: Francisco Mattos

Day 7: We feel so lucky to be here

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We have now left Kjellstrømdalen and walked over the mountain to Passbreen glacier. No wind, but the weather is still amazing. We have walked far and worked hard. The dynamic in the group is good. We are working very well together and have good routines and awesome equipment.

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After walking the whole day and pulled all the weight we have to say that we are very pleased with «Norpulken» sled. It is a very good sled.


We are now camping at Passbreen glacier not far from Ågårdbukta/Agard Bay. The view is magic. ❤ ❤ ❤


The food is really good to. Last night we had butter fried «fenalår», salted dried leg of lamp, as a starter. Yum! And easter candy. So happy we brought some chocolate and marcipan with us. It is Easter after all – and we have nothing to complain about. We feel like the luckiest people in the world right now.

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Day 5: Perfect conditions

What a day! Sunshine and wind. Perfect conditions. We have been kiting all day since we left Svea.


Crazy beautiful day. Can you believe it? ❤

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Now we have set up our camp in the middle of Kjellstrøms valley (Kjellstrømsdalen) not very far from Lundstrøm valley (Lundstrømdalen). Sleeping here tonight.

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Still no polar bears in sight – but Truls is keeping us company.

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Good night! 🙂

Expedition day 2-4: All sorts of weather – and an involuntary ice bath


Today we have arrived at Svea. Four days into the expedition, we have had all kinds of weather. White out, snow blizzard, bright blue sky, sun, wind and calm. Plus degrees, sub-zero temperatures and freezing. In only 12 hours it went from minus 25 Celsius degrees to plus 2 Celsius degrees. Crazy! Right now it’s minus 6 degrees and snowing. We have skied some of the way and we’ve kited some of the way. Also, Cecilie had an involuntary ice bath – in surface water on the sea ice.

Around 8 pm Saturday evening, on day 3, Cecilie ended up in the freezing cold surface water with sled, skis and kite. Fortunately, it went really well and we never felt that there was any danger. We have practiced on rescue in loads of different situations, and here we got a good confirmation that what we have learned actually worked really well in a real situation. Everyone did his or her part in the rescue. Cecilie took it with a smile and gave orders about what we should do from the water. We got her up very fast. She was fine, but both she and all the equipment was soaking wet. We set up an emergency camp out on the ice to get Cecilie warmed up again. Fortunately, we have very warm wool from Devold and excellent sleeping bags from Helsport. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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We have camped at three different locations so far. Last night was out on the sea ice. The weather was not the best, with zero visibility and snowstorm, but we were ok. It is not the best place to camp out on the sea ice since that is where the polar bears hunt for seals. We have had a polar bear watch every night, but we haven’t seen any bears yet. Except from Kari. Ha ha. She is constantly spotting polar bears. The closest we have come is the cuddle polar bear Kari has on her backpack. He’s the expedition mascot and his name is Truls. In addition, there is a stuffed one here at Svea.

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Tonight we are camping at Svea. The plan is to dry all our clothes and equipment properly. The weather forecast is reporting colder weather again the next days. Hopefully we get lots of wind so we can get out of “polar bear land” which we are still in. We can also report about loads of snow, very few mosquitoes and crazy beautiful mountains. The boys are sun burned. Ha ha.

Here is the planned route for tomorrow. We are really enjoying our adventure so far and we look forward to the journey ahead.

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Expedition Day 1: The adventure has started

Finally – the adventure has started! We left Longyearbyen around 9 am and started our journey towards the South of Svalbard. Everything is going great so far.

Our first campsite is by the Morsjnevbreen glacier. This will be our starting point in the South due to the conditions on the glacier. We are listening to the experts and are taking no risks.

It’s so crazy being out here. It really feels like we are on the moon.

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The conditions today have been great with good visibility. We are really looking forward to continue tomorrow.

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Whooopy,
Kari

All photos: Francisco Mattos