Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hike to Smutthullet

Last weekend (sun-mon); me, Hrafnhildur (Iceland), Jochem (Netherlands) and Gauti (Iceland) went to the cabin Smutthullet in Bjørndalen. This is a cabin owned by UNIS and which is open for students (althought you should register prehand at UNIS).

Smutthullet with Isfjorden in the background. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

At first, we were  supposed to be a large group, but due to british planning (which sort of sucks IMO), it ended up being just the four of us. We also had a false start on saturday, when none of the others came, something which made me sort of cranky for the rest of the evening.

Me and Gauti. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
Sunday however, turned out to be a great day for walking; blue sky, sun, little wind and temperatures above 10 Celsius.

Hrafnhildur, Jochem, Gauti and me. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
After having some difficulties crossing the river just outside our house, we went up towards Longyearbreen. On the west side of the Longyearvalley there's a gully which leads up to Platåfjellet. There we saw a herd of 10-12 reindeer as well as the little forest of 16 radars belonging to the Svalsat project.

On our way up to Platåfjellet. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
Panorama from Platåfjellet. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Jochem and Hrafnhildur. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Checking the rifle. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
From Platåfjellet we went southwest towards Nordenskiöldfjellet (1050 moh.) which is the highest mountain on the map (BLAD C9 Adventdalen 1:100 000). Up there we found a small weatherstation and fresh snow without a single track. Here we ate some food and signed the Topptrim - Svalbard book before we continued south along the ridge towards Håbergnuten (1025moh).

Fresh snow and fun. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Weatherstation on Nordenskiöldfjellet. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Gauti, Hrafnhildur and Jochem. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Panorama from Nordenskiöldfjellet. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
 On the way, Jochem decided he wanted to write something in the snow for the airplanes to see. Story short, he mispelled "Marry me" and any Mary on the passing planes are probably wondering/scared/confused

Jochem playing in the snow. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
At Håbergnuten there was no bok to sign, but the view was great, and also here there were a small cabin with a lot of equipment for communications. We also took like a million pictures up here.'
Finally at Håbergnuten. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Inside the shack. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Group-picture (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Group-picture. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Ridge up to Håbergnuten. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

We then proceeded west-northwest towards the beginning of Bjørndalen. We were a bit worried that it would be difficult to get down, but we ended up, sledging down on our butt on the remanins of an old dead glacier.

Hrafnhildur and Jochem on their way down to Bjørndalen. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Me on the way. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

At the valley floor we took a short break and everyone besides me fell to sleep in the terrain and the snorring probably scared away any polar bears roaming arround in the vicinity.

It is hard to be an arctic explorer. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

The last part of the trip was north, through Bjørndalen. We spotted a pink-footed goose that refused to fly and like a million reindeer. Crossing the river was less problematic than expected and we arrived at the cabin around 8pm.

Small canyon through Bjørndalen. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
The cabin was really nice and there were plenty of coal, which we used instead of firewood. For dinner, me and Jochem had Real Turmat while Hrafnhiludr and Gauti (Aka. the noodle-people) had noodles. In the evening, we talked, played the guitar and made a song called "Where oh where is the polar bear":

Valley of bears
We were out on a hike,
in the Björndalen.
Couldn’t find the statue
of the one who hates Stalin.

We followed our nose,
went straight ahead.
Saw a heard of reindeer,
tried to feed them some bread.

We couldn’t stop –
so we swered to the right.
Suddenly got lost –
although it was bright.

Legs got tired,
so went down og our ass.
We lost our way,
our grass, that’s trash.

Oh where oh where,
is the polarstar.
Please lord, tell me
night is not too far.
We have to find it
cos we’re totally lost.
To help us find the cabin
sometime, before frost.

How lucky where we,
wearing jackets of down.
They kept us quite warm,
when wandering around.

Twenty four hours,
still light in our eyes.
Then we realized,
there won’t be no night.

In a panic attack,
one looked up and said.
Hold me darling,
just a little while.

We held her close,
calmed her down with a kiss.
Don’t fear the bears,
cause our snipers won’t miss.

We walked through the mud,
there we saw the print.
With fear in our eyes,
the only choice, was to sprint.

Oh where, oh where,
is the polar bear?
Please lord, keeping him
away from here.
Oh shit! they’re eleven,
and soon we’ll be food.
Oh crap! They’re getting closer,
we will sure – taste good.

Ahhh!!! oooaaaoooaaahhhhh!!!
Ahhh!!! oooaaahhh ooooaaahhh!!!

and so on...

Oh where, oh where,
are the polar bears?
Thanks lorf for keeping them
away from here.
We found an awesome shelter
and now we are safe.
Safe inside a cabin,
wrote this song, and felt brave.

A romantic Realturmat meal. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

The noodlepeople. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Me playing the blues. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Making songs about polar bears. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Sleeping. Notice the light outside. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Coal-bin. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Hrafnhildur and Jochem. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Emptying the toilet. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

In the morning we had a short walk down to the beach and looked at the bird cliff and Isfjorden. Back to Nybyen we walked along the coast via Longyearbyen, a walk that took 2-3 hours (but dreadfully boring).

Birdcliff.  (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

View from the cabin. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Towards isfjorden. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Annoyingly I learned afterwards that there was actually a Topptrim book to be signed just above the cabin.  wll have to go back and get that signed.

For more pictures, see

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