Crossing Spitsbergen will, for many, be the ultimate way to experience the magnificent Svalbard nature and be an introduction to the expedition life in the Arctic. With ice-covered fjords, snow-covered mountains and exciting wildlife, this is a fantastic trip that just has to be experienced!
Note: This is a trip popular with Norwegians, so the main language on the trip is Norwegian, but the guide will speak English, so you are welcome to join as an English speaker.
We will meet in Longyearbyen in the afternoon for an information meeting and planning the last details. We pack our own pulks together and thus get a nice introduction to how such expeditions are planned and implemented. Have we remembered enough dryfood? And chocolate? We plan to eat dinner and go to bed early and excited - ready for the next day's challenges and experiences.
Early the next day we head east by snowcat or scooter. The transport takes a few hours, but it will be the last hours of sitting still for a week. Outside the Bay of Agardh we collect the equipment, and depending on the weather, we start skiing the same day, or we camp up and enjoy being in the middle of the polar bear realm. We plan for daily stages of between 15 and 25 kilometers and set up camps every night. Most of the day is spent skiing, but we have a leisurely pace and take breaks along the way. We set up the route in relation to the weather, and the path of least resistance is no bad way - we want to get the best out of the trip, and the route can be adjusted several times along the way. Upon arrival the campsite everyone helps to set up camp, dig walls and cold pits. Being together, reflecting and exchanging experiences is our main focus for the trip.
If there is a need, we sit polar bear guard at night. This is typically one or two hours every other night and does not significantly affect the night's sleep. After a week of traveling it is fantastic to arrive in Barentsburg where a boat is waiting for us and takes us back to Longyearbyen for a shower and enjoy dinner together.
Physical level and risk
So that you can have a good experience, it is important that you choose a trip that suits your ability level. The scales for physical requirements and risk are general. Therefore, it is important that you read more about the difficulty of the specific trip under “Details”. This will help you to gain an understanding of the level required and the risks involved for each specific trip.
Read more about physical requirements and risk here.
To participate on a level 4 trip with us, you must prepare well and be ready for a real challenge! The trips are often longer than at lower levels, and the accommodation is often of a simple standard. Along the way, it will be both physically and mentally demanding, and it presupposes that you are prepared for this. You should do targeted training well in advance of departure. If the trip includes technical elements such as kayaking, cycling, climbing, glacier, skiing / summit hiking, you should have good skills in the relevant activity. Read more about the grading on our trips here
Activities / trips with some risk. Some incidents may occur, and they may be of such a nature that they require professional help. Read more about the grading on our trips here
- We sleep in tents
- All meals as described in the program
- All local transport as described in the day to day program
See more of what's included under the "details" tab
Questions about the trip? Don't hesitate to contact our project leader below, or contact our office here.
Level 4 out of 6. Please read more about our difficulty levels here. You need to have experience skiing off of groomed trails on mountain skis. You don't need expedition experience but you need to have experience with sleeping outside in the winter, and be prepared to camp. On this trip, you will use a pulk (sled) and we recommend specific training for this skill set. The pulk will weigh about 30-40 kilos.
If you are uncertain you have the proper experience for this trip, please contact us. We also have a Winter Course that you can join to get the necessary experience.
We stay in tents during the trip. The first and last night in Longyearbyen are not included.
What to bring?
Have a look at the full equipment list by clicking "Equipment list" in the menu above.
We require that you pack a duffel bag to have on the pulk. Pack everything inside your bag in waterproof bags.
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Norrøna Hvitserk Adventure is not responsible for any trip delays, injury, illness, loss of belongings, family emergencies, natural events or other unforeseen issues that may hinder your ability to complete a trip with us. Norrøna Hvitserk Adventure is an adventure holiday company, and with an active holiday, there is always a risk of something as simple as a twisted ankle to keep you from your vacation. With trip insurance, your flights, hotels and travel costs can be covered if an unforeseen emergency hinders you from joining our tour, as well as coverage to fly home if necessary. By purchasing travel insurance ahead of time, you can protect your trip and yourself from issues that prevent you from traveling, and rest easy to enjoy your vacation.
Safety is always the number one consideration on a trip with Norrøna Hvitserk Adventure. If there is an emergency on tour with us, help will be able to reach you relatively quickly. We have a 24-hour emergency hotline within our office and the guide will always have the ability to contact help. Norway has excellent search and rescue operations throughout the country with evacuations available via helicopter or red cross emergency teams.
Our guides have first aid training and have a selection of medicines and first aid equipment for the necessary treatment in the mountains. Hvitserk also has a partnership with Turlegen.no (Trip Doctor) who can be contacted if needed for medical advice.
If you are on prescribed medication, have known allergies or similar, you must always bring your personal medication.
Hvitserk plans the trip days based on the weather, conditions and the group. Our focus is to take care of each other and work together in one team. The guide will have the ability to make safety decisions for the group, although the decision-making process will be transparent and involve guests in the process.
We plan our trips so that we do not expose ourselves to unwanted risk. On this tour, we will always be close to each other, and if an unforeseen situation occurs - the guide will be present quickly to handle it.
This is a trip popular with Norwegians, so the main language on the trip is Norwegian, but the guide will speak English, so you are welcome to join as an English speaker.
Changes may occur
We reserve the right to make changes to the program, and the price. The day to day program is indicative, and changes may occur. Please have a look at our terms and conditions.
Number of participants
Minimum: 6 people; Maximum: 12 people.
- Experienced guides
- Transport from day 2 to day 8
- Communal equipment
- Meals as described in the itinerary
- Search and rescue insurance
Not included in the price
- Transport to/from Longyearbyen
- Drinks and snacks
- Accommodation in Longyearbyen, first and last night
If it is close to departure, please contact us. Maybe you will be able to join anyway.
At 3 pm you will meet your guide at our warehouse in Longyearbyen center for packing equipment and reviewing the last details before our trip starts the next day. Bring all the equipment to the venue. You can leave personal belongings, but limit how much you bring. There will be opportunities to take a tour of the city's sports shops to get the necessary tour equipment. If you want to bring a map with you on the trip, we recommend buying this at the museum at university, or in the city's grocery store. The packing may take a few hours, so bring some food and drink for this session.
Dinner and accommodation are arranged on an individual basis, but we recommended Stationen as an informal place with good food.
We meet early in Longyearbyen for a final brief. After that, we head towards the East Coast with a weasel or snowmobile. The starting point for the tour is near the Bay of Agardh. The snowmobiles are transported back to Longyearbyen and our guides now decide whether the weather allows us to start skiing already or whether we need to set up camp for the night.
Up the first icefall
We start the day with coffee and breakfast after an exciting night, where you may have been a polar bear watch for the first time? This is the day we aim to climb the first glacier on the trip. The glacier has a "nice" climb, so it's a soft start to the expedition. We must still be aware of dangerous cracks. Along the way, we eat the daily expedition lunch, adjust the pace to the group, and spend the time we need to reconnaissance and scout the terrain. The goal for the day is to set up camp in Lundstrømdalen.
Not all days are the same when you are on a long ski trip. Maybe we have skied 25 kilometers yesterday, sometimes the snow is heavier and we settle for 20. We continue on into Reindalen. Here we really get to experience one of the classic big wide valleys on Svalbard. Just like yesterday, all day we will be skiing in an area that is prohibited for scooter traffic, so here we get to go in peace.
Towards small valleys and continue west
It will be oatmeal again for breakfast, and now you have realized that it is tough to drag your own pulk, you are definitely not saying no to an extra slice of porridge. We continue west into Reindalen and eventually take in one of the smaller side valleys. Now the terrain is changing. The mountains are getting closer. A little climb up the Bromalen before we descend the Medalen and out into the Skiferdalen. Maybe we will take a camp in Skiferdalen before continuing on into Istrjørndalen and up the Passfjellbreen glacier. When we arrive, we do the camp routines that we have gradually become so used to.
Enjoy the last days!
At the top of the Passfjell Glacier, we can see the west coast in the distance. Today's stage continues down towards the Hollenderdalen and outwards towards the Isfjorden and the west coast. As we approach the shore, the destination of the trip, Barentsburg is just a short ridge away. But we will still have the last camp for ourselves in the Arctic wilderness. So we find ourselves a nice campsite for ourselves, overlooking the sea and the mountains around us.
Time to take shower?
After more than a week out in the arctic nature, we move on in the direction of Barentsburg. In Barentsburg we go on the boat that takes us back to Longyearbyen. This tour takes approx. 4 hours. Well back in Longyearbyen, it's time for a shower before we meet at 9 pm for a goodbye dinner. Afterwards, a good night's sleep awaits in a soft bed.
Travel back home or spend an extra day in Longyearbyen
Today it is time to go home unless you want to stay longer in Svalbard. There is a lot of fun things to do in Longyearbyen and we are happy to help you find activities to do if you wish.
* On the departure which starts on 14-22 April, it is possible to catch the plane that departs the evening/night of 22 April.
Take a good look at this list, and make sure you bring everything you need. We encourage you to use what you have for this trip and purchase items if you're missing something important on the list below.
Go through the equipment list carefully. It is intended as a guideline so that we have what we need for the trip, and at the same time, we must think about the weight. It is also not intended that you should buy a lot of new equipment, you can probably use a lot of what you have before. Despite Svalbard's northern location, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to areas of the same latitude. In winter, the average temperature in Longyearbyen is -14 ° C. However, it is not uncommon for winter periods to have longer periods of temperatures between -20 and -35 degrees. If the wind is, in addition, the effective temperature is very low. But we also experience every winter that we get low pressure from the southwest that can give days of heat degrees and rain. The weather in Svalbard can change very quickly and the local variations can be great.
The periods of polar night and midnight sun vary depending on the latitude one is on. Longyearbyen has the midnight sun from April 19 to August 23, while in the period from late October to mid-February the sun is never over the horizon. The darkness lasts from mid-November to the end of January.
Layering is extremely important in a variable climate like Norway. This list will guide you through the essentials. Remember the Norwegian saying "There is no bad weather, only bad gear", and prepare appropriately for any weather. You can read about the weather where you're traveling here.
Special notes on equipment and clothing on the trip
- It is important that clothes and sleeping bags be packed in waterproof covers.
- The pulks will weigh 30 - 40 kg.
- Joint equipment will be distributed among the participants.
- Participants are divided into tent teams of two and two or three and three.
- Cooking and snow melting is done by the individual tent team.
We provide with equipment:
- Pulk (Paris Expedition), rope drag and harness for each participant
- Pulk bag for use in the pulk
- Signal gun
- Satellite phone
- First aid
- Map and compass
- Pots and cutlery
- Food and drink
- Glacier equipment
- Toilet paper
Food and drink:
Food is included and you pick what you want from the storage in Svalbard - porridge for breakfast, vacuum-packed freeze dried food for lunch and dinner, drinks (coffee/tea/juice), chocolate (100 grams per day), nuts, biscuits. If you would like more chocolate/snacks, please bring this yourself.
NB: If you are going to be on the first trip that starts in March, it is extra important that you bring warm clothes, as it can often be a bit colder at this time. You may want to bring extra warm wool socks and wool underwear.