BSES HQ receives expedition field updates weekly so check back every Monday to see what has happened in the week gone by.

Saturday, April 18

Adventure & Igloos

Isbjørn have a late start. Half stay in camp and write up the science whilst Richard and four YEs set off mountaineering at 1400, returning at 2100. Tonight is a first, another female on the radio schedule beside Jackie, must be because most of the guys went up the mountain with Richard! Polarrev have a mountain training day locally, whilst Rype build an igloo (see below for the proud photo - Edwin (a local who has helped us grealy in previous years) isn't around to mark it this year but thre's bound to be room for improvements!. Clear, still, -18ºc.

Friday, April 17

Finishing Up

Isbjørn finish mapping and snow pit digging on the Foxbreen, whilst Polarrev begin pulking back to Base Camp 1 stopping below the Tellbreen. Rype continue with the reindeer feeding pit survey and reindeer survey, this time at the mouth of Foxdalen - another day that felt really cold!

A strange sight, in the low evening light 2030hrs - 2 hot air balloons and a parapente coming up Adventadalen from Longyearbyen. They seemed to be struggling to gain altitude! Clear, still, -20ºc.

Thursday, April 16

Snow Retreat

Isbjørn gave themselves a deserved day off and went exploring - ice climbing on a frozen waterfall and built snow holes around Foxdalen. Polarrev had a leisurely start and then skied towards the sea down DeGeerdalen.

Both Fires express concern about the amount of bare ground on the mountain tops and sides, there is still snow in the valleys. The concern is the lack of snow will shorten the amount of time we are able to drag our kit in the pulks and bring forward the time when we have to start carrying everything in rucksacks. None of the YEs are looking forward to that (neither are the leaders!). Although the temperatures are low now, the wind scours the snow and the bare patches absorb the sun heat and the brown areas get larger every day, the areas of ice on the mountain sides shine in the sun, where last week there was snow.

Rype continue with the reindeer feeding pit survey and reindeer survey, this time on Janssonhaugen. We are not to disturb the reindeer as we survey them as this is a critical time of year for them. After surviving mostly on fat through the winter they need to eat the very sparse vegetation available to keep alive and also the hinds to prepare for birthing. 5 reindeer walk right up to us as we ski across to Janssonhaugan, have a good look and wander away. I don’t think they mind us, they just can’t work out what we are as we don’t ski like the locals do! 1 of the reindeer is a local as she has been caught on camera on previous days. It would be good to print out their photos and see how many of them we are seeing on a daily basis. Clear, still, -20ºc.

Wednesday, April 15


Isbjørn complete 4 more snow pits on the Foxbreen. Polarrev do similar work on the Blackbreen - reporting they have completed the science on the Blackbreen, they plan to ‘enjoy themselves’ tomorrow! Rype have a serious day of science reading due to it being bitterly cold in Base Camp. Clear, windy, -20ºc.

Tuesday, April 14

On with the job...

Isbjørn dig more snow pits on the Foxbreen and also start the RTK DGPS survey of the Foxbreen. Polarrev practice their mountain and skiing skills by revising ice axe arrests and going up onto a ridge to take in the views in preparation for going onto the Blackbreen glacier tomorrow. Rype continue with reindeer feeding pits and reindeer count. Clear, strong breeze, -18ºc.

Monday, April 13

Pits and all

Isbjørn start their science work by digging ten snow pits on the Foxbreen, the deepest was dug by Ash (2.5m deep through the snow to the glacier surface).

Isbjørn report evidence of the melt in their valley with pools and ice bulges forming in the valley. Polarrev dig snow pits (only 3 and only 30 cm deep)in Tobredalen and also set up the weather station.

Charlie’s ‘taxi’- skidoo, driver and trailer is late and causes a little concern but Charlie is wrapped up, off back to Longyearbyen and then London. Rype start investigating reindeer feeding pits and carry out a reindeer survey in Janssondalen. Clear, strong breeze, -16ºc.

Sunday, April 12

Happy Easter

All were very glad that the Easter Rabbit found them last week with Easter eggs (I’ll have to get a professor to explain rabbits and eggs - thought it was birds who had eggs). The temperatures given are the average daytime ones i.e. the night of the 19th April the minimum overnight temperature was – 26 degrees. It has been there or there abouts most nights.

Working hard

Isbjørn go up the Foxbreen glacier terminal moraine and investigate the rocks with Fay explaining the different rock types and their formation. They then headed up the moraines to dig a trial snow pit – the first of many.

Polarrev continue to Tobredalen negotiating Kreklingpasset and set up their camp from which they will do their science. Their temperature reading at radio schedule is -22. Rype ski to Isbjørn’s camp in Foxdalen to pick up Charlie are informed that the tents are large enough for James (just) and then ski back with Charlie to Base Camp 1. Clear, breeze, -16ºc.