Expedition Spitsbergen 2007
New update June 2009 with video's, Scroll down.
4 Adventurous Dutch people went in the summer of 2007 to a special river on Spitsbergen during a
3 weeks expedition.
To get there, we have been walking/skiing for 5/6 days over glaciers with all our equipment.
Beside the "big river" also small glacier rivers has been paddled.(see the pictures of
the pre-inspection trip and the pictures of this expedition further down on this page).
A lot of outdoor activities came together in this trip.
Click here to go directly to other new amazing expeditions.
Exciting kayakpicture on a small glacierriver.
Riverboarding through a tunnel of ice.
This is probablely the only "big" river on Spitsbergen with these rapids.
Location of Spitsbergen on the world map.
Almost 2000 Norwegians and 900 Russians are living on Spitsbergen in their own settlements.
Most of the Norwegians (1700) are living in the main settlement Longyearbyen.
The only animals who are living on Spitsbergen (without many birds and fish) are rendeer, fox and
There are no trees on Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is situated between 76 and 80 degrees North.
60% of the land is covered with glaciers.
More information about Spitsbergen can be found at:
Most people arrive at Spitsbergen by plane on the airport in Longyearbyen
Spitsbergen map.The kayaktrip took place in the orange circle,
see the maps below.
The history about
In april/may 2005 I joined a long back country ski trip on Spitsbergen.
(For some nice pictures of that trip:
During that trip we passed Hoglandlake. That lake (160m. a.s.l.) was normally much bigger,
but during the summer
of 2004 the lake find an opening between the morains and the glacier and streamed almost empty.
Since then Hoglandlake has lost 80% of his size.
The area around Hoglandlake is now very special.
The big iceblocks, which were normally floating in the lake, are now standing on the ground.
Camping place on a iceblock in Hoglandlake, from here the "Big River" begins.
After 1 year I start asking around if someone could tell me some more about the river
which is streaming from Hoglandlake to the fjord.
I know that most rivers on Spitsbergen are flat, shallow and boring for white water kayaking.
But this river could be something else because it is starting from 160m. and streaming beside
one of the biggest glaciers of Spitsbergen.
No one could give me the right information about this river.
(the area is seldom visited in summertime)
So I decided to go to Spitsbergen and go out for a 10 days walkingtrip in august 2006 to see
the area around Hoglandvatnet and the river.
I went with the idea that if it was possible to paddle only 100 meter of that river,
I still should go for it the next year with my kayak.
But it became much more.
2 tents at the shoreline, 1 green tent on the big iceblock in the middle of Hogland lake.
After checking out the whole "big river" to its end at Wijde Fjorden
I knew that I could paddle many km of this river. But some parts were also impossible to paddle:
at some places the river disappeared under the glacier/moraines, sometimes big iceblocks in the river or the river
is heavely undercut by the glacier/moraines.
I looked at some places on the Mittag-Leffler
glacier and the Nordenskiold glacier to see how the summerconditions on these glaciers were.
I got even more enthousiatic when I saw that some glacierrivers, which were streaming on these
glaciers, were possible for kayaking/riverboarding. This should be something really special.
Time to go home and start with the preparation.
The preparation of this Kayak Expedition.
To get to this river we should take the boat from Longyearbyen to the Nordenskiold glacier.
This is a normal boat who takes tourist on a sightseeing daytrip to Pyramiden (an old
Russian coalmine settlement) and to the Nordenskiold glacier.
From there walk/ski up the Nordenskiold glacier and walk/ski down the Mittag-Leffler glacier
to the river (which starts from Hogland lake) and to Wijdefjorden. See the map below.
The route to get to the river.
The goal for the preparing job looks easy: Get on this boat with all the equipment.
But this was a very time consuming job. The remoteness, weather, landscape of Spitsbergen
and travelling with very much equipment over glaciers
ask special preparation especially when you also planning to do some white water kayaking in this
area. Arranging many things and getting the right
equipment which is necessary for this expedition tooks a lot of time but was very interesting.
Maybe more writing about the preparation/training for this expedition will be published later.
a Big train with all kind of outdoor equipment, skiing over the top of the Mittag Leffler glacier.
The Kayak/Riverboard Expedition.
After the drop of from the boat on the south side of the Nordenskiold glacier
we walked/skied up that glacier to 900 meters a.s.l. and then skied/walked down the Mittag-Leffler glacier
to Hoglandvatnet and further to Wijde Fjorden. See the orange line on the map below.
This distance is about 50 km. We crossed several glacierrivers. Some of them were suitable for kayaking
Detailed map of the route followed during this expedition.
As expected we did get all kind of weather: rain, wind, fog, snow, icerain and whiteouts
but we were lucky to get also lots of nice weather! The information from the pre-inspection trip in august 2006
was very usefull in finding the right way on the glaciers and in finding the get in and get out points on the rivers.
We used 15 different campsites. We followed another route back, the blue line on the map.
Time to put under our ski's, Gizehfjellet with Tarantellen in the background.
Due to the many different outdoor activities (walking over blue glaciers with or without
heavy pulks, rivercrossings,
skiing up and down over snow covered glaciers with the pulks, kayaking, riverboarding,
waterskiing/walks over wet glaciers, sometimes walking/skiing roped up),
changing in the weather and the changing in the landscape, was every day completely different.
This kayak/riverboard expedition has been succesfull and was, as expected, one big adventure.
The preparation for this expedition was good, we did have the right equipment which is/was very essential.
For safety reasons we did take care to avoid tricky situations. Spitsbergen is not a place to improve your skills.
Maybe more writing about this expedition will be published later.
Enjoy the pictures (see below this page).
Some highlights about this Kayak/Riverboard Expedition
First, special thanks to Oceanwide Expeditions for their help making this kayak-expedition possible.
During summertime several expedition vessels of Oceanwide Expeditions take tourist around Spitsbergen.
A beautifull way to see a lot about Spitsbergen and the animal life around and on Spitsbergen.
to visit the website of Oceanwide Expedition.
Getting the fjellpulks (and "Harry the Polarbear") over a glacierriver.
In September 2006 I did meet the perfect "mascot" for the Kayak Expedition: Harry the Polarbear.
He joined me with all my training/preparation/testing activities in South Norway. See the pictures.
His job during the kayak-expedition was staying on the top of the tents, when we were sleeping,
and chase away all the other Polar Bears. We didn't meet any other Polar Bear. Harry did do his job
very well, so we did handle Harry with care when we transported him.
The sledges on transport over Hoglandlake.
We were very happy that we used sledges from Fjellpulken to transport all our equipment.
The sledges were heavely used, especially on the blue glaciers parts with many bumps,
but they did keep doing their job.
It was also very handy that the sledges were floatable on the water.
We crossed many glacier rivers with the sledges and.........I paddle the sledges (with the equipment
inside) behind my kayak over Hoglandlake to our basecamp.... which saved us many walks around that lake.
Sometimes the dry-suit did get very dirty on this
expedition (my kayakshoes are normally red)
The 100% dry-suit (also the feets) from Palm, made from heavy duty materials, was essential to wear
during kayaking and riverboarding. Allthough sometimes the dry-suit was getting very dirty from the
"famous" muddy area's around Hoglandlake, the dry-suit remained waterproof.
All this necessary equipment has been walked up to the
starting point at the glacier.
13 Walks where needed, which was more then a day job.
I am using the Bergans Powerframe backpack for many years now for walking/skiing trips with heavy loads.
This was also the backpack which we were using for this expedition (also one Bergans Viking lady backpack).
It is very easy to connect a kayak/sledge or other big equipment on a solid way on the powerframe
backpack and walk away with this load. These Bergans backpacks have also comfortable hipbelts
with connections on it for pulling sledges.
Skiing over the wet snow area's on the glaciers.
The Asnes ski's with their half skin systems did work perfectly on this trip. As expected, the skins
keep doing their job in the wet area's!!
The other teammembers, making there dinner in the Vaude Mark 5 "hotel" tent.
We used Vaude K2 tents on this Expedition. On earlier trips this tent has proved to me to be
extremely wind proof. We used also another tent: the Vaude Mark 5, this tent is very easy to pitch and
has inside a lot of space. This tent was almost a "hotel" for us.
Harry behind the zodiac after the drop off from MS
Special thanks to Henningen Transport and Guiding for taking care of my equipment on Longyearbyen
and for the special drop off at Nordenskiold glacier. Harry did like the surfing behind the zodiac after
the zodiac was speeding up. See the pictures from Harry on Spitsbergen.
I also want to thanks Svalbard Reiser (
www.svalbardreiser.com ) and Ingenior G. Paulsen (
www.igp.no ) for their
help and information during 2006 and 2007.
And last but not least: Venke for reading my stories/questions and trying to find answers.
More White Water rivers on Spitsbergen?
All the equipment is still on Spitsbergen, waiting for more adventurous trips, which will take place for sure.
Maybe their are more interesting rivers and glacier rivers to paddle.
If you have seen such rivers on your fieldtrips somewhere on Spitsbergen, please let me know by sending
an email to:
Other comments/information are also welcome.
Click here to go to other amazing expeditions.
This special mountain Tarantellen (750 meter a.s.l.) can be seen from Hoglandlake.
I am standing in the left opening, my tent (special campsite!!!) is placed under the right tower.
With 5 camera's we took about 2000 very interesting pictures!! during the kayak expedition.
Some of them are placed in the picture presentations here below.
Since June 2009 many pictures of this expedition are used in picture-video's, scroll down to
see these video's.
When you visited this site for the first time it is recommended to start with the pictures of the
pre-inspection trip 2006.
Don't forget to look to the funny pictures from Harry's adventures in South Norway and in
Enjoy the pictures!
The Adventures of Harry the Polarbear during the Kayak Expedition on Spitsbergen
Some pictures of the pre-inspection trip from summer 2006.
Training activities for this expedition
Winter Adventures of Harry the Polarbear in South Norway
Go to other active summer/winter pictures in Norway