Sun April 27 – Wed May 7 from Longyearbyen, Norway, return
11 days, 9 days of dog sled travel and camping, 2 days in Longyearbyen.
Renowned for its soaring mountains, glaciers, alpine valleys and polar bear, Svalbard Island (also known as Spitzbergen) is an adventurer’s paradise. In recent years, it has also become a staging area for North Pole expeditions, including our own. We enjoyed our recent pioneering adventures on Svalbard so much that we're returning to traverse the island from coast to coast on another 8-day dog sled and ski adventure. The area we'll be traveling through is a protected wildlife refuge, home to polar bears, Svalbard reindeer, arctic fox and, along the coast, various sea mammals; walrus, ring seal, bearded seal, Greenland seal, hooded seal, white-nosed dolphin, narwhal and killer whales. Svalbard boasts the high Arctic's greatest variation in nature and fauna, more than arctic Canada, Siberia and Greenland. Svalbard lies half way between mainland Norway and the North Pole (and is the northernmost place in the world that you can visit on regularly scheduled flights).
Although it has no indigenous culture, dogsledding has been a tradition on Svalbard among trappers, traders and explorers for hundreds of years. We'll be traveling and camping with local mushers and dog teams on our expedition and we’ll enjoy a variety of mountain, tundra, glacier and coastal scenery - all in 'round the clock sunlight! And you'll be traveling on M17077's custom-built arctic freight sleds. These have a platform on the back on which 2 people can stand to drive the sled, which means that everyone can travel by dog team - skiing will be strictly optional but we'll have skis along for those who’d like to try it.
Day 1: Late evening group welcoming dinner and trip orientation meeting (flight from Oslo arrives 8:45 pm) at hotel in the village of Longyearbyen on Svalbard Island. The northernmost town in the world, it has 2,000 residents and can be reached by daily air service from Oslo on SAS. It boasts a university, hip shopping mall with boutiques and delis, a theater complex and several great restaurants serving local fair, including seal and whale!
Day 2: Following breakfast, we'll do a personal gear check with everyone, pack up our gear for the trail, take a short village tour and then, following lunch, head out to the dog sled kennel on the edge of town to launch our trip.
Days 3-9: Travel by dog sled and ski for from the west coast along the south wall of a glacier-lined valley through the center of Svalbard Island to reach Inglefield Bay on the east coast, base camp at the Vagabond (a wintering ship involved in global warming research) and meet the researchers working their and explore the coastline for wildlife, continue up and over the Wolf Mountain ice cap and circle back by dog sled and ski along Advent Valley to return towards Longyearbyen.
Day 10: Arrive back at village, r&r, “Arctic Evening” celebration dinner and party, hotel lodging.
Day 11: Breakfast wrap-up, visit to Arctic Museum, art galleries, university and village shops, head for home (flight for Oslo departs 14:55).
Gear: All camping gear and sleeping bags will be provided. You just need to bring appropriate personal clothing (loaner anoraks and boots available at no charge).
Wildlife: We're likely to see Svalbard reindeer, arctic fox, seal, and various Arctic birds. And if we're lucky we may also see polar bear. But with all our sled dogs around they're unlikely to come anywhere near us. In any case, we'll take all appropriate measures to ensure there's no confrontation.
Guides: Paul Schurke and other of our staff and a Svalbard musher.
Weather: We'll enjoy round-the-clock sunlight and transitional weather which could be either winterly or spring like. Below-zero temps are possible but unlikely. More likely we’ll see some thawing temps - spring may be in the air!
Group Size: 8 plus guides. 2 participants will drive each of the 4 sleds/dog teams we'll be using on this trek. Spots are available (at a reduced price) for a few others who wish to ski or ski-jour along rather than driving a sled (as the guides will be doing) while still stowing their gear on sleds.
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Europe Norway Outdoor: Land Rambler Dogsledding Multi-activity
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