Ski / Kayak / Riverboard Expedition Newtontoppen 2008

In 2006 I got the idea that it should be very interesting to bring up a kayak in wintertime to the highest mountaintop on Spitsbergen: Newtontoppen (1715m.), and pitch a tent on the top. From the top descend down the first part with a riverboard and the lower part with a kayak over the snow. In good weather Newtontoppen is a relative "easy" mountain, in bad weather Newtontoppen is an impossible mountain.
So I started this trip at April 15th 2008 with enough food/fuel with me to wait, if needed, 7 days at the start of the climb to the top for the right weather.

April and May are the best months for wintertrips on Spitsbergen.
I went out on this trip alone, but it was nice to have the mascot "Harry the Polarbear" with me. I was very lucky to get some very nice weather at the right moments, which made it possible to stay 3 nights on the top of Newtontoppen, which was very amazing!!

Midnight picture from Newtontoppen.

The weather was not always paradise, during this 30 days trip I stayed 5 days in my tent. The first week was very cold (strong winds) and during the last week there was much snowfall which make ski-walking with heavy loaded pulks (sledges) very exhausting.
I started this trip at sea-level (Skotte-hytte in Billefjorden) and ended at the Glacier front at the Nordenskiold Glacier. It was special to see the changing in the landscape skiing up/down from/to the fjord. I knew that I had to ski up the heavy loaded pulks (I used 2 pulks on this expedition) one by one until I reached the top of the Lomonosov Glacier at 1250 m.
A map of my route will be placed at the end of the year 2009.

Being very happy after the save descend from Newtontoppen.
Newtontoppen above the tent. Picture taken from the Kvitglacier (1050 m.)

I used all my winter outdoor experience (many years of back country skiing, mostly in Norway) on this expedition. Many things to do on trips like this, also during the 5 days staying in the tent there where not many moments for resting/relaxing.

Looking back (this expedition ended at May 15th 2008) this trip has been very successful for me:
- I managed to reach the top of Newtontoppen and sleep there for 3 nights,
  One night in a tent and two nights in a very big snowcave/igloo,
  built directly on the top.
  This igloo will probable survive the summer.
- I did some snowkayaking directly from the top, and also kayaking down
  the lower part of the mountain.
- The descend with the riverboard directly from the top to the col between
  Newtontoppen and Makarovtoppen (north-north east face of Newtontoppen was
  Going down almost 400 m. in 60/90 seconds, which results in a walk up for
  one hour back to the top.
- Beside Newtontoppen I visited 2 other mountainpeaks.
- In the days before my start for this trip (April 15th) I managed to arrange
  permission to drop my kayak and 2 pulks, on the snowscooter drive back
  from the Nordenskiold Glacier to Longyearbyen (on May 15th) at a place
  where I could start another special Kayak Expedition this summer.
      * Click here for more information about this Kayak Expedition.

- I was aware that I was alone on this trip and that I have to act very carefully.
   Things never got out of control for me, which was very important.

The end of this expedition: 2 pulks (sledges) and a kayak, in ski down position, at the Nordenskiold Glacier front.

During this trip I took 1700 pictures (allready reduced to 1300 now), Every evening speaking the day story into a voice recorder. This will be used for writing a very interesting book with very special pictures. It is not often that one person is enjoying 30 days alone in the Spitsbergen mountains on ski's with a kayak and a funny Polarbear as mascot. Title of this book: 45 days alone on Spitsbergen with a polarbear. (30 days on the winter trip and 15 days during the summer trip)
Subtitle: 2 amazing expeditions in winter and summer with a white water kayak.

It should be interesting to read how this trip was done, which equipment I had used. The sometimes quick changing weather on Spitsbergen can totally change your day planning.
A nice day skiing on the Lomonosov Glacier did changed really quick in making a very creative emergency shelter after the wind changed in 30 minutes from a gently breeze to almost a full storm with no chance to pitch your tent.
At the end of this trip I got the luck to spot 2 polarbears on a save distance.

Spitsbergen is a very special place for very adventurous mountain trips!!
I am looking forwards to get back in July for my 2nd White Water Expedition on Spitsbergen.

    * Click here for some amazing training/testing the equipment pictures for this special expedition.

Update September 27th  2008:
I allready wrote that the weather in the first week of this expedition was very cold due to a very cold wind.
I heared this summer from people in Longyearbyen that during this week some groups, who were out on their expeditions, turned back to Longyearbyen and that one group was picked-up.
I didn't make much progress during the first week, I stayed 2 days in my tent, waiting for better weather.
I probable never should have reach Newtontoppen if the weather did not change.
But lucky for me, the weather during week 2 and 3 was mostly good.

Update October 14th  2008:
From preceding trips I knew a little bit how much food I should consume on a trip like this.
Today I have been counting my food consuming during this expedition. My average food consumption during these 30 days was 4500 kcal/day (including the 5 days when I stayed in my tent).
I knew that my food consumption in week 3 & 4 was much higher than in week 1 & 2.
I did lose some body weight during this trip.
This seems to be a normal value for food consuming during a long wintertrip in the Northern arctic.

    * Click here to go to other amazing expeditions.

Last change on October 14th 2008

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