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Monday, June 8

Looking Back (again) - Isbjorn Adventure 1

YE diaries by Emily McKie (17 - 28 May 2009)

The new Isbjørn were split into two groups – biology and adventure. The adventure trio (Joe, Ash and Emily) starting straight away with a night out alone at the base of Wimanbreen. It was a weird feeling having only 1 tent within the bear flares but we made it very homely with a luxury seat, table and even a garage that Joe built for our pulks!

Isbjørn adventure building on their snow and ice skills Photo L. Dickinson

We crammed a lot of mountains into the week, starting with a small peak, Knerton (585m) on which we practised mountaineering skills, such as cutting steps and ice axe arrests. These started tamely enough, but we were soon throwing ourselves down an icy slope headfirst backwards. We slid back to camp, where the new Chicken and vegetable pasta meal awaited us, on our backs, the Gore-tex material allowing us to reach unnerving speeds.

We also climbed Wimanfjellet (985m), involving walking along a really cool corniced horseshoe shaped ridge, Knorringfjellet (948m) which was covered in cloud and Konusen (987m) the highest in the area. Whenever the cloud cleared the views were spectacular, particularly the way the sun broke through to light up patches on the never ending snowy mountains. We could also see the divide between the sea and melting sea ice. The coolest climb was Telgefjellet. Although only 918m it was a harder climb. A compass error meant we got lost at the top and walked along a knife sharp ridge, the steep sides either side of us swimming in and out of view as the clouds moved.

On the first day of poorer weather we built an igloo. An ice saw was used to cut massive blocks in the ‘block factory’ which were then transported to the igloo building site on a pulk board. After 3 ½ hours the ‘ugloo’ was completed – it wasn’t picture perfect and was shaped more like a beehive but was massive, even allowing for standing room.

Emily, Ash and Joe with their ‘ugloo’. Photo L. Dickinson

We spent the evening making a cake for Richard’s birthday, concocted of digestive biscuits, jelly, crème choc chip desert and sprinkles. We surprised him with it at breakfast, then spent the rest of the day chilling, doing a treasure hunt and building a ‘snowhenge’, praying to the sun gods for the sun. After a week we joined the biologists and re-climbed Knorringfjellet but this time were able to see the spectacular view from the top. We bivvied out that night, only getting snowed on a little.

Isbjørn reunited and on top of Knorringfjellet, last’adventure’ before starting the glacier science work. Photo L. Dickinson

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