Post 4: Perriertoppen and Pyramiden
22.04.2011 – 15th day on skis
Once again the time and solar power available for personal blog hasn’t met in the best possible way…
On Monday 18th we woke up seeing the summit of Perriertoppen thru a veil of clouds. We postponed the start towards the summit for two hours to let the clouds break away. First we climbed hill with skis and then changed to crampons. The next two hours was spent on 45 degree snow slope with strap crampons falling occasionally off and being taped and strapped back on their place to keep us on the steep slope. After five hundred vertical meters of ascent in white-out like conditions we reached the summit ridge and were soon on the summit! Clouds broke away and the view was spectacular! Descent with crampons was slow and careful with one minor slip leading to a broken ski stick. The desent on skis was fun with nice slope and powder snow. It was over seven hours trip with no food breaks so we ate and hit our sleeping bags. During the evening the temperature dropped to -25 Celsius. No wonder that it felt cold!
Tuesday 19th meant a turning point for our trip. We turned our skis towars South and home. Well, to be precise we started to ski towards West and Austfjorden. After a good day of skiing with great views we camped on the shore of the fjord and started the usual bear guard duty (two hours shifts rolling from tent to tent). Unfortunately no bears were seen but several birds instead.
During the night a storm broke and the start for Wednesday was postponed until afternoon. In the afternoon the wather got better and actually very good and we skied under sunny skies on the Mittagleflerbreen. It was, once again, a good day of skiing and we got so high up to the glacier that there was no need for bear guard during the night.
Thursday 21st started with a nice sunny weather and after admiring an old empty glacial lake we found ourselves sweating in a steep uphill with some 400 meteres ascent. But after every ascent cconmes a descent and we had an enjoyable ride down to the shores of Petuniabukta where we pitched our camp. We spent the evening sitting outside in a great wheather and the night was spent in a bear guard duty.
Friday 22nd started in a milklike mist with poor visibility but we started the ski towards the abandoned Russian town of Pyramiden. On the way we saw some seals on the ice but no polar bears. The city is wierd, great and maybe a bit spooky but it wasn’t abandoned. According to a Norwegian we met there are 4-10 people keeping the place together and what really surprised us… They keep a bar! There is a hotel and a bar in the old abandoned mining town! And in addition to sightseeing we really, really had to have beers in the bar. Arctic skiing expedition are like the life itself: full of surprices. =)
Less than a week left and we are back to Longyearbyen. Today is the time to change socks and underwear.
All well for the expedition.
PS. Sorry for the typos, I’m in a hurry writing this before the battery dies!