Louis' Svalbard Adventure

Day 4

The Long Trek Across a Frozen Fjord

By the time we reached the highest point of the glacier we were looking forward to the prospect of skiing down the other side, but quickly realised that skiing downhill with a 70kg pulk is not much fun. After I was poleaxed by my flailing pulk on a particularly steep section, I started wishing for a return to the uphill slog of the day before.

The long trek across a frozen fjord

Eventually we finished the descent - miraculously everyone was still in one piece despite the number of tumbles - and skied onto a huge frozen fjord. An ice breaker had recently ploughed through, so naturally we were concerned that the ice might not have frozen over again. We carefully plotted a route, always following each other's tracks. Ronan, a bubbly Irishman, was tasked with carrying the rope which would be used to rescue any unlucky soul who fell through the ice. As we skied along, we saw docile, chubby seals dotted along the landscape. It was no surprise then that it wasn't long before we came across paw prints, a reminder that we were back in polar bear territory. We kept scanning the landscape for signs of the Arctic's apex predator.

Crunching skis

We had been used to the sound of our skis gliding though fluffy snow, but that was now replaced by a violent crunching. Every time I planted my poles into the ice they made a different noise, depending on the force of my pole thrust and the thickness of the ice. The sounds were like musical notes, I passed the hours trying to string together a song. I often turned to look back at the glacier, reluctant to leave the beautiful white mountains, but soon found a rhythm and settled in for a long trek across the frozen fjord.

Discover the Kit

OutdoorGB have teamed up with suppliers such as Berghaus, Salomon, Suunto, Exped, Sealskinz and Helly Hansen to provide Louis with cutting edge, high performance equipment.