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

Saturday, May 16

Local Exploration

Isbjørn explore the coast below Diabasodden and see a puffin. Polarrev ski into camp. Rype put up the Weatherhaven tent and take up residence before the wind and rain sets in. Leader meeting and then the Leaders carried out the YE reviews. Low cloud, wind building from the west, +4ºc.

Friday, May 15

Into BC3

Diary by Joe Jones

After a steep uphill and downhill pulk this morning Isbjørn arrived on the beach of Base Camp 3 (BC3) mid afternoon. The morning seemed to have flown by due to the distracting riddles passing round the Fire. Once at BC3 everyone seemed to be taken back by the beauty of their surroundings. We were camped right on the snowy beach looking out to the fjord and the many ice bergs bobbing up and down. The last stage of the expedition has started in style and having a couple of days extra in hand the Fire is looking forward to a rest tomorrow!

Effort all round

Isbjørn pulk into Base Camp 3 having had their best ski yet, all the way down from the col. Ash, Christian, Jaime, Joe and Steve have a concerted effort to excavate the cache from under the deep, wet snow. After radio schedule it is all dragged down and cached by the tents. Polarrev do some navigation training, beach art and bird spotting, returning to their camp. Rype carry out a wildlife survey of the cliffs below Diabasodden and the goose grazing below Marhøgda. Low cloud, westerly breeze, +2ºc.

Thursday, May 14

Up to Knerton

Diary by Joe Jones

This morning Jaime W and Emily were appointed day leader and science leader and were subsequently briefed on the day’s activities. Isbjørn were to climb Knerton without leaders to assess our ability to work with each other. Once packed up out of camp and on the ridgeline we stopped for a check of maps. Knerton seemed far bigger and steeper than it came across on the map. However it was a clear day and having been in touch with Lucy D via the UHF radios we all dicided to continue onwards and upwards. Jaime lead the Fire on the way after the approach and the last 30 or so metres kicking steps. We reached the top for photos and a stunning view down to Sassenfjorden.

Joe on the summit of Knerton

Once back in camp a few hours later we were given an hour to make a quick turnaround for the evening ice climb. This climb was not as big as the time before on Tunabreen, however seemed more challenging, in the fact that it was vertical all the way. The ice was also much softer as it was a frozen waterfall. Everyone agreed it was their favourite, everyone making it to the top may have influenced this! We eventually got back to camp around 2100hrs for a late supper and bed.

Digging for Food

Isbjørn and Polarrev join forces, with some climbing on Hyperittfossen and some ascending local peaks. Rype pulk to Base Camp 3 the hard snow on the Gronsteinfjellet slopes made it hard to control the pulks even walking down. They have a tedious six hours of searching for the food cache in the gully behind Base Camp 3. It is eventually found after much searching by avalanche probe and digging, around 3m under the surface snow. Still, cloud to sea level, +4ºc.

Wednesday, May 13

The Big Move

Diary By Joe Jones

Today marked the start of the move from Base Camp 2 (BC2) to Base Camp 3 (BC3) and the whole expedition was poised ready to find out if the sea ice would be adequate enough. Isbjørn made their move earlier than Polarrev as we planned to stop via the ice cave along the way. With the entrance found in quick fashion due to sizable cornices above, the Fire dropped down into a huge cavern. Supposedly more people have been to the top of Everest then inside this cave. We went about crawling, wriggling and walking 230m deep into the cave. Most importantly it was further than the previous group had gone! Once we had our moment with our head torches off in Fire headed back down, out of the cave and down to the bottom of the valley to find our pulks. The rest of the afternoon the Fire pulked across wet, slushy sea ice into the entrance of De Geerdalen. It was a huge relief that we wouldn’t have to be carrying our kit up and over the sea cliffs which put us 2 days ahead of schedule. Both Fires camped up in the same place and enjoyed supper in the warm evening sun.

The Melt is on!

Rype set off first towards Base Camp 3, followed by Isbjørn who go via the ice cave. Polarrev wait for the two skidoos and trailers to see the excess equipment and rubbish back to Longyearbyen, then follow on.

The plan was for the Fires to go to Vindodden with Rype recce onto Elveneset checking out the sea ice. As the Fires are all in Vindodden early they check with Rype that the sea ice is OK and then continue on to Elveneset by the evening. The melt has started with water lying in pools on top of the sea ice – rather disquieting. At Elveneset there is water in the stream beds and the bare ground is quite sodden. Just to end the day, James breaks through the thin ice into knee deep water. In the few hours between Rype and the rest of the expedition arriving there is more water running in the streams and the snow is soggier. The melt is on!

Isbjørn and Polarrev camp together on a shoulder below Skjørlokstupet which has retained its snow. Ade and Jackie camp on damp mud in Elveneset delta. A warm day Rype pulking in powerstretch leggings and thermal tops only. High cloud, breeze, temperature not recorded, clearing later.

Tuesday, May 12

Admin Central

The whole Expedition is in Base Camp 2. Leaders work on the YE mid term reviews whilst Base Camp crew prepare for the move, supplying YEs with repairs for skis and ski skins, collecting and boxing rubbish. The YEs have a brief at 1130, those without pen flares have a warming run around the camp as do those who have forgotten their pencil and paper!!

Ade does a brief about the Johari window, a feedback model. Sarah writes up the ice cave adventure the majority of the YEs form a work party to construct a fortress like toilet out of snow blocks. Late afternoon Richard takes some of the YEs to a local gully for some rope work. Herpreet and Jackie excavate the toilet tent which is snow and iced in. At 2000hrs Ash and Pippa manage the striking of the tentipi tents which involves almost the whole exped as these tents have also been up for almost 3 weeks. The Base Camp equipment and science kit is shared out which they will take in addition to their personal and share of the Fire kit. Ben volunteers to have the generator. The wind picks up in the evening and overnight depositing spindrift and snow. Cloud, breeze, +2ºc.

Monday, May 11

All Change

Isbjørn move back to Base Camp via a session playing in a local gully and Polarrev ski back from Deltadalen.

All the Fires make their tents good before erecting them, this involves changing broken or badly bent tent poles and sewing. Polarrev have a massive sew fest on one flysheet – I’m sure it could have been a sponsored event. The sewing took the latter part of the afternoon and all evening with the YEs taking shifts. Fires change back to how they were at the start of Base Camp 2 phase, which causes some confusion, to be ready for ‘the move’. Cloud, snow, easterly breeze, temperature not recorded.

See 'THE TEAM' page for the new fire lists!!!

Sunday, May 10

More snow!

After a wild night Rype dig out the tents once more and start to repair some of the damage. Cloudy, easterly breeze, 0ºc with some falling snow.