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

Saturday, June 6

Bivvying Out

Isbjørn climb Telgefjellet and then make a bivouac on the mountain. Polarrev finish the Blackbreen RTK GPS survey and snow pits as well as complete the slush surveys. The biologists carry out the beach survey, snowpack survey and join Rype to complete the cliff walk below Diabasodden and see the local arctic fox twice. Low cloud, northerly breeze, 0ºc.

Friday, June 5

River Crossings wet???

Isbjørn complete the Staket horseshoe and expect to collect Helen at 2200hrs at a rendezvous on the Blackbreen. Polarev complete a ski mountaineering tour of Ottofjellet. Lucy B afterwards heads down De Geerdalen to meet up with Helen and take her back to Tobredalen.

Lucy B has 1 wet river crossing on the way out and 2 with Helen on the way back, slowing their progress so they arrive back at Tobredalen science camp around 2000hrs, too late for the planned delivery of Helen by Pat and Lucy B to Richard on the glacier. Lucy D delivers Helen to the meet up with Lucy B in De Geerdalen, collecting rubbish, poo and redundant science kit to bring back to Base Camp 3. The Isbjørn biologists return at lunchtime from the goose count, the numbers are going down. Rype return to Base Camp 3. Light easterly, clear going cloudy, 0ºc.

Thursday, June 4

Sauna Day

Isbjørn ascend the Brandtbreen to the Brandtbreen col and Polarrev make an RTK GPS survey of the Tobredalen river as well as a sediment survey. Isbjørn biology continue working from Base Camp and in the afternoon construct a tepee and have a sauna, enjoying the heat and the cooling wash in the river afterwards. Steve and Fay then head off in the afternoon for another evening and morning of goose counting. Rype start heading back, stopping when they get to Deltadalen. Northerly breeze, some cloud, temperature not recorded.

Teepee sauna on the beach at Base Camp 3 Photo L. Dickinson

Wednesday, June 3

Alpine Starts

Isbjørn move their camp up Hanaskogdalen and then summit on Hiorthfjellet. Lucy D accompanies James into De Geerdalen. They have to carry their kit to the Wimanelva, then walk up to the Grnøsteinfjellet col pulling the pulks and carry the pulks over bare patches of ground on the col. Pat picks up James from DeGeerdalen and Polarrev celebrate Emily’s birthday. Isbjørn biology, Steve and Fay, return from the hide midday and continue the projects from Base Camp. Rype continue with alpine starts and manage a safe passage into Louisdalen and then continue along the north shore of Adventfjorden to Hiorthhamn. Strange to see trucks and cars driving along the roads on the otherside of Adventfjorden, in Longyearbyen.

Tuesday, June 2

Geese surveying

Isbjørn continue down Hanaskogdalen to the coast whilst Polarrev write up science. Isbjørn biology walk under the bird cliffs of Diabasodden and learn to identify the different bird species and continue monitoring the snow patch. Steve and Fay then spend the night in the hide counting the geese from 1900 to 2300 and 0700 to 1100 on 3.6.09. Rype have an alpine start to try to find a safe way round the north of Forkastningsfjellet, with no success. Northerly breeze,
clear, +2ºc.

Rype on recce for the route for expedition walk back to Hiortthamn. The col separating Carolindalen and Louisdalen in the background has a maximum slope of 50 degrees. It is manageable with an expedition sack, just won’t be much fun! Photo Rype

Monday, June 1

Surges to Recces

Isbjørn move down to the bottom of Hanaskogdalen whilst Polarrev dig two more snow pits and continue to monitor surge activity. Lucy, Helen, Steve, Fay and James come back down to Base Camp 3 (Isbjørn biology) and Rype start their reconnaissance of the route home and get as far as Carolinedalen. Still, some cloud, +7ºc.

Looking Back

YE Diaries - Joe Jones (4-11 May 2009)

For this part of the expedition we headed towards the east of the island. The environment is much harsher and colder as it does not benefit from the warmth of the Gulf Stream. Despite this it is still much warmer compared to the start of the expedition, when we were dealing with -25º c and below as compared to a more comfortable -15º to -10º c. This has allowed for easier socialising which in turn has opened up the possibility for poker and many other fun activities such as survival bagging down snow slopes.

As for the actual expedition itself we did lots of ski touring, exploring the local area around Vendomdalen (Martin Conway’s ‘turn around valley’ on his exploratory journey to find the east coast), as well as mountaineering. The highlight of the trip was climbing Trehøgdene and walking along the ridge, which at its highest point was 682m.

Polarrev on Trehøgdene 7.5.09 Photo J. Jones

View of Vendomdalen from Trehøgdene 7.5.09 Photo J. Jones

Sunday, May 31


Isbjørn come down to meet up with Helen and one at the igloo that Isbjørn adventure built, at the head of Wimandalen. Polarrev continue working on the Blackbreen survey and slush pits. Rype are awoken by beluga feeding in their bay and spend from 0230 to0400 watching and photographing them. What a fantastic couple of hours in the low sunlight with hardly a breeze, a shame the Fires aren’t in but hopefully the belugas will return in their circuit when more people are in Base Camp.

Beluga just off Base Camp 3 0308hrs 31/5/09. Photo - Rype

The top of the snow hardened over night and the wind changes to an easterly blowing sea ice back into the bay. The Wimanelva (stream) today flows as a full stream, as far back as the Gronstein col, for the first time. Rype prepare for an extended reconnaissance of the route to Hiorthhamn, as conditions this year are rather different. Some thin cloud, easterly breeze, +3ºc.