ADVENTURE PHASE OVERVIEW

The Adventure Phase of the expedition was the period between 6th August, and the 2nd September. During this time, and idea was to have fun, climb lots of mountains, and do lots of Nordic Skiing. We did have two formal objectives, which were to climb Newtontoppen, and Perriertoppen. These two peaks are the two highest in Svalbard. Both have snow summits, and so their precise height varies from year to year. Newtontoppen is usually credited to be the higher of the two. They are both around 1716m (5630 feet) high.

We left Alandsvatnet at lunch time on the 6th August, to cross the Mittag-Lefflerbreen. We made a dump the remaining items of science equipment at Furystakken. We then continued to our food dump at the end of Aktivbreen, where we collected two days food, and started to use the sledges for the first time. We headed up the Formidablebreen to make an intermediate camp on dry glacier below Fairbairnbreen. The following day, we moved all the remaining food from the Aktivbreen dump to below Hutchinsfjellet - where Fantastiquebreen meets Formidablebreen. On the 8th we walked on past this dump, with our tents. We skied up Stormbreen, and across Harkerbreen. The weather was not good, and eventually it started blizzarding. This was in combination with very heavy loads; novice skiers with sledges; and having to pick our way through a crevasse field. We eagerly set up a camp at the first possible opportunity. This was by a small pool at the very southern tip of Bleigen.

We had four days food with us, so did not have to return to our food dump immediately. We took the first good weather day (the 11th) to climb Newtontoppen. This did mean that the day five of us returned for the food, was the sort of day that one likes to think one has the experience to cope with, but in fact is still extremely unpleasant. There was torrential rain and storm force winds. The remaining four members did not have it that much easier. They were moving camp 2km north to a site in deep snow, where we could dig the tents in to make such weather bearable.

We stayed at this camp, just a few hundred metres south of the 79th parallel for ten days. During this time, we undertook day trips on skis, to climb the local mountains. The weather was not always good, but towards the end, a high pressure ridge passed over, giving four reasonable days. It was judged suitable for a lightweight two-day bivi trip. The initial aim was Ceresfjellet. The party consisted of four (made up of the strongest skiers who were by that time the ones with the strongest skis!). After the first hour and a half, we realised that we were going sufficiently fast to make an attempt on Perriertoppen, which up until then had been judged too far away. The attempt was successful.

A summarised list of mountains climbed during this time is given below:

MOUNTAIN (route)

Newtontoppen (SW face)
Venusfjellet (SE face)
Marsfjellet (E ridge)
Tritonfjellet (E face)
Galileotoppen (SW ridge)
Perriertoppen (E face)
Bleigen (E face)
Wainfletefjellet (N ridge)
Astronomfjellet
Eddingtonryggen (E ridge)
HEIGHT

1717m
1500m
1400m
1300m
1637m
1717m
1510m
1465m
1487m
1548m
DATE of ASCENT

11 Aug
14 Aug
16 Aug
16 Aug
20 Aug
21 Aug
21 Aug
22 Aug
23 Aug
23 Aug
SUMMITEERS

SF, RP, WB, RH, DB, LLW, KP, JT, CK. (9)
SF, RP, WB, RH, DB, LLW, KP, JT. (8)
RH, KP, LL-W. (3)
SF, RP, WB, JT, DB. (5)
SF, RP, WB, RH, DB, LLW, KP. (7)
SF, RP, WB, DB. (4)
JT, RH, LLW. (3)
RH, LLW, KP. (3)
SF, DB. (2)
RP, RH. (2)

Note: Heights given to the 100m accuracy mean that there is no spot height shown on the map. eg. Marsfjellet's summit is above the 1400m contour, but below 1500m.

On 24th August, we left our camp, and returned to the head of the Formidablebreen, and a camp on the summit of a nunattak, commanding a view directly down the Formidablebreen. We spent three days there, and managed three more mountains:

MOUNTAIN (route)

Toreryggen
Bleikfjellet
Hutchinsfjellet
HEIGHT

1410m
1490m
1187m
DATE of ASCENT

26 Aug
27 Aug
27 Aug
SUMMITEERS

SF, RP, WB, RH, JT, DB, LL-W, KP. (8)
SF, WB, RP. (3)
RH, KP, JT, DB, LL-W. (5)

On the 28th August we began the walkout. This took us down the Formidablebreen, and across the Mittag-Lefflerbreen, to Heclastakken where we camped. Then we headed south, past Luxorfjellet, and down the Ragnarbreen, camping beyond the moraines at its snout. We had to do one more day on the glaciers, to collect the tent from the nunattak between Heclastakken, and Framstakken, which contained all our equipment, and rubbish from the science phase. We allowed one extra day, which most people took as a rest day, but three people braved the low cloud and snow to visit Tarantellen - a double arched pinnacle. On the 1st September, we transferred all our equipment 6km to Skottehytta, on the shore on Billefjorden, where we were collected one day early by the Lang°ysund, and returned to Longyearbyen via Pyramiden.


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