Snowshoeing Spitsbergen

This snowshoeing adventure is elegant in its simplicity. Discover what it was like to be an arctic explorer enjoying winter walks in one of the most remarkable and unspoilt areas in the world, lands where few people venture. Here we will find a surpising variety of flora and fauna including Polar Bears, arctic foxes and seals plus glaciers, ice floes and stunning views. From basecamps at Fredheim and Von Post Glacier, this snowshoeing trip is a chance to fully immerse yourself in a silent, magical, winter wonderland and to discover the thrills of winter in the far north.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Evening flight to Longyearbyen

    Evening flight to Longyearbyen Welcome to Longyearbyen, we will greet you at the airport and escort you to your accommodation in the city.

    Transport: Private vehicle and aeroplane
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 2 The adventure begins

    The adventure begins Your guide will join you at your accommodation this morning for an official briefing - this morning is a chance to meet the group, prepare for our adventure and deal with logistics like equipment, the weather forecast and safety procedures. We should also have time to explore Longyearbyen before our afternoon departure by tank to the spectacular area of Tempelfjorden. Tonight we will set up our first basecamp in this second to none location near Fredheims trapper cabin.

    Activities: Explore Longyearbyen & trip prep
    Transport: Transfer by army tank
    Accommodation: Camping, Fredheim basecamp

  • Day 3 Exploring Fredheim

    Exploring Fredheim Today we strap on our snowshoes and venture out onto the frozen sea in search of ringed seals basking in the sun. We can cross the bay to the enormous cliffs where Arctic birds nest and perhaps we will even see artic foxes.

    Activities: Snowshoeing
    Accommodation: Camping, Fredheim basecamp

  • Day 4 To Von Post Glacier

    To Von Post Glacier Today we take all of our equipment with and journey along the huge cliff of Fjordnibbe with our pulks to Von Post Glacier front. Here we will set up a new camp, where a huge wall of bluish ice, over 100 feet high (+30m) meets the ice aburptly - a most striking sight!

    Activities: Snowshoeing to Von Post Glacier
    Accommodation: Camping, Von Post Basecamp

  • Day 5 Exploring Von Post

    Exploring Von Post Today we can explore the other side of the fjord. Here, with a little luck, we will be able to find fresh traces of bears on the ice. On this shore, there is an old oil rig lost in the middle of the ice and we can explore old trapper huts at the foot of the cliffs, an impressive, cathedral-like sight.

    Activities: Snowshoeing/winter walking
    Accommodation: Camping, Von Post Basecamp

  • Day 6 Von Post to Fredheim

    Von Post to Fredheim Today we strap on our pulks and head back towards our first camp and Fredheim hut. Todays route features imposing cliffs, Tempelfjord Bay and an incredible view of the white and sparkling ice floes we previously crossed.

    Activities: Snowshoeing/winter walking
    Accommodation: Camping, Fredheim basecamp

  • Day 7 Fjornibbe - Longyearbyen

    Fjornibbe - Longyearbyen This afternoon we head back to Longyearbyen but not before a final adventure in this frozen wonderland. Perhaps this morning we will summit Fjornibbe (450m) for a final, beautiful panorama of the Arctic wilderness that has become our home.

    Activities: Snowshoeing/winter walking
    Transport: Back to Longyearbyen in army tanks
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 8 Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen A day to relax and explore Longyearbyen with its edge-of-the-world atmosphere. We recommend visiting Svalbard museum and you can choose from a variety of optional activities like snowmobiling or dog-sledding... Please note that today also acts of a 'safety day' in case of delays in our itinerary.

    Activities: Various optional activities
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 9 Return Flights

    Return Flights Farewell Spitsbergen, transfer to the airport for your flights home

    Transport: Private vehicle and aeroplane

Please note that this itinerary, including walking distances and times, is indicative. Our guides aim to provide the adventure that is best suited to the weather, your interests and the demands of the group. Please be aware that in order to achieve this, changes to the programme may be made.


Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: ENSPH1A

Included

  • Airport transfers
  • Three nights guesthouse accommodation in Longyearbyen
  • Full supervision by an experienced professional guideFull board except for a last evening meal in Longyearbyen
  • All technical equipment - please see 'trip details' for more information about the high quality equipment we provide on this trip ('practical info' / 'equipment')

Not included

  • Registration fee: €18 per person (free for under 12s)
  • Flights
  • Evening meal on day 8 in Longyearbyen (kitchen facilities/restaurant options available)

Additional Activities

Please let us know if you would like to reserve any of the following optional activities:
  • Meal in a local restaurant: from €30
  • Svalbard museum: from €9
  • Half day dog-sledding excursion: from €130
  • A snowmobiling adventure: from €200 (for 3 hours)
  • Exploring the ice caves: from €90 (for 3 hours)

Notes

Comfort 1/5: Camping

This trip involves winter camping and includes three nights in warm guesthouse accommodation at the beginning and end of the trip. Normally we provide a 3 man dome tent per 2 people for maximum space and comfort. For our basecamps we usually set up a fully equipped mess tent for meal times, including a table and stools. We are proud of our high quality camping equipment and take care to monitor and store everything correctly.

Level 2/5: Moderate

In general no previous experience in the specific activity is required but you should be in good physical shape and prepared to participate in 4-6 hours of activity per day. You should have a sense of adventure and a positive attitude. Please note that our difficulty levels may vary depending on the weather and ice conditions.

Terms and conditions

Please see our terms and conditions and information for insurances by clicking the following link: svalbard.altaibasecamp.com/en/terms

Practical info

Staff

You will be welcomed at the airport by a representative from our friendly team and accompanied for the duration of your holiday. Armed with an abundance of experience and a wealth of knowledge our professional Svalbard team are experts in polar environments. All activities are lead by our qualified guides who are all English speaking outdoor practitioners with a passion for everything arctic. Please note that this adventure takes place in an isolated, polar environment where around 2500 Polar Bears live - your guide will explain safety rules which must be followed.

Food

Besides one evening meal in Longyearbyen  this trip includes full board. For your evening meal on the final day there are shops and kitchen facilities available or local restaurants for you to sample - we have lots of recommendations!

During our expedition, each person is responsible for their own equipment, including food, and will carry everything on pulks therefore light and easy to cook meals are favoured. In spite of this, plus the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the artic regions, we are proud of the varied, and frankly delicious food we provide even when camping. You will have the opportunity to try local products and several local delicacies. Each day will start with a hearty breakfast accompanied by plenty of tea and coffee or hot chocolate. You will carry a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks for the day and evening meals will include three courses, soup, a hot main dish and a dessert.

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you book the trip and we will work with you to cater for your needs. Please be aware that this is a participatory trip, your help cooking and setting up camp is expected. We want you to be a member of our team; not a sheep!

Accommodation

Longyearbyen: warm guesthouse accommodation, double rooms or dormitories of 2,3 or 4 beds, hot showers and heating plus shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Camping adventure: normally we provide a 3 man dome tent per 2 people, for our expeditions we use light equipment which is suitable appropriate for Svalbards winter conditions. We will also provide a spacious mess tent for meal times, fully equipped with kitchen equipment including a table and stools. Please be aware that we expect all clients participate when setting up and packing down our camps.

Transportation

This trip involves transfer by Swedish Army tanks

Budget & exchange

The currency in Svalbard (and Oslo) is the Norweigian Krone, NOK
Please budget for:
  • Any additional activities
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • One evening meal in Longyearbyen, kitchen facilities, shops and restaurants available*
  • Food and perhaps accommodation during your transfer in Oslo
*We recommend a budget starting from €30 / 290NOK for a traditional meal in a local restaurant

Supplied equipment

We will provide you with all of the technical equipment you will need for this adventure. We are proud of the range of high quality equipment we are able to supply which is suitable for Spitsbergens unpredictable winter climate.

Group Equipment

We will provide the group with...
  • A 'Tepee' style mess tent with table, stools and cooking equipment
  • 'Ortlieb' water belts
  • A Sarsat beason
  • A VHF radio
  • A heavy caliber rifle
  • An alarm gun
  • Mini-flares and penjectors for each group member
  • A copy of Spitsbergens animal records
  • A first aid kit
  • Books about local flora and fauna

Individual Equipment

We will supply you with...
  • A large warm down jacket for when you are not participating in activities
  • A suitable tent per two people (a 3 man dome tent for maximum space and comfort)
  • A self-inflating sleeping mat
  • A suitable synthetic sleeping bag ( -25°C)
  • Cooking stove
  • A thermos flask
Snowshoeing Equipment
  • Snowshoes
  • Suitable walking poles
  • Warm snow boots for walking around camp (Sorel)
  • Pulks (mini sledges for carrying your gear)

Vital equipment

Please remember that your clothes will be redistributed into waterproof bags with limited capacity and carried on your pulks - try not to over-pack!
  • Waterproof jacket (with a hood)
  • Waterproof trousers/salopettes
  • At least two pairs of good gloves
  • Sunglasses (UV 400)
  • A ski mask 
  • A balaclava (fleece)
  • Appropriate warm neck wear
  • A warm hat (wool)
  • A warm jacket (synthetic down)
  • Several sets of warm thermal underwear (long johns & long sleeved tops)
  • Thin socks and 3 or 4 pairs of thick socks
  • Sun cream and protective lipsal (not water-based - water freezes)
  • Any personal medication
  • Mini toiletary kit and toilet roll
  • A thermos flask
  • Head torch & spare batteries

Material

We prefer that you do not wear cotton clothing, including underwear, when participating in activities. When cotton gets wet from water or sweat it ceases to insulate and it does not dry fast. The best materials for outdoor activities are fast drying materials like polyester or materials which are warm when wet like wool.

The most powerful materials against the wind and rain are 'breathable' materials like Gore-Tex or Nikwax.

Our advice for keeping warm

It can be humid and cold in Spitsbergen, please think carefully about what clothes you pack especially for our winter trips. We will provide warm outer layers but the layers you wear next to your skin can make the biggest difference. We recommend:
  • No cotton
  • Bring dry spares of everything, including underwear and gloves
  • Wear multiple layers including:
  1. A warm breathable base layer
  2. A second thermal layer
  3. Wind and waterproof protective out layers

Helpful equipment

You may also consider packing
  • Your camera (with suitable protective case)
  • Binoculars
  • A comfortable evening outfit for Longyearbyen
  • A small inflatable pillow
  • Insect repellant
  • A knife
  • A notepad and pencil
  • Plastic bags for wet/dirty clothing

Luggage

You may bring a hold bag (up to 20kg) as well as a cabin bag.

For you hold luggage please bring a soft bag like a ruckack rather than a hard cased suitcase because it is more practical when loading local buses and trailers. We also recommend that you pack your clothes in plastic bags inside your rucksack so that they stay dry in the event of bad weather.

Don't forget to bring a small rucksack to use as a day bag. You can bring this as hand luggage on the plane. You will carry your lunch, water, spare layers and any personal medication with you each day in this bag.

Medicine

Your guide is a trained first-aider and will carry a full first aid kit at all times during the trip. Please bring with you any personal medication that you may need such as inhalers, plasters and painkillers.

Healthcare in Norway can be extremely expensive, we strongly advice all of our clients to invest in insurance before travelling.

Passport

You will need a passport that is valid for at least three months after your return date.

Visa

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is a visa-free zone

Mandatory vaccines

There are no specific health risks

Health information & recommendations

Please be aware that your guide will be carrying a gun along with other safety equipment to alarm/repel any Polar Bears.

Healthcare in Norway can be extremely expensive, we strongly advice all of our clients to invest in insurance before travelling.

Weather

  • The weather in the Svalbard archipelago is very changeable.
  • The average annual rainfall in Longyearbyen is only 200mm (7.87 inches), in London, England, the annual average is 594mm (23.4 inches) - Spitsbergen is a cold desert!
  • Average temperatures in Longyearbyen range from -16°C to -9°C (3.2°F - 15.8°F) in April and -3°C to -7°C (26.6°F - 19.4°F) in May.
  • Strong katabatic winds can occur here, particularly near to high glaciers but winds can generally be described as moderate and localised.
  • Dark polar nights occur from 14th November to 29th January, the full moon shines across the snow creating a beautiful gliterring winter landscape. Then, from 19th April to 23rd August, the sun shines constantly, uninterrupted, high in the sky.

Electricity

In Spitsbergen the standard Europlug socket with two round prongs is used, 230V with a frequency of 50hz

Local time

Svalbard uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 hour and Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed here.

Topography

  • The Norweigian Svalbard archipelago is the closest territory to the North Pole; Spitsbergen is the name of the largest island.
  • Svalbard covers an area of around 39146 square miles (63000km2) and two thirds of this polar world are constantly covered by ice.
  • The archipelago was deserted by human civilisation for a very long time but today has over 2600 inhabitants.
  • The archipelago has 3 National Parks, 3 Nature Reserves, 15 Ornithological Reserves (bird reserves) and 3 Botanical Reserves.

Sustainable tourism

As adventure and wilderness travel experts who run trips to some of the most remote parts of the world, we take responsible tourism very seriously. We respect the ‘Leave No Trace’ outdoor ethical code and try to explore this beautiful location whilst causing minimal environmental damage.

In the Polar Regions the ecological balance is delicate so we ask that you are particularly careful regarding the conservation of the sites we explore. We aim to leave our camping spots even cleaner than when we arrived and, as a company, we participate in the Clean Up Svalbard programme. We support the laws, advice and recommendations which aid the conservation and protection of this unique arctic paradise. This is reflected in our trips, for example, we do not visit Ornithological Reserves during nesting season and never remove historical remains or whales bones from the beaches. We hope that all of our clients will respect our philosophies and embrace these attitudes.

The Leave No Trace policy can be summarized in 7 simple steps which we hope you will follow during ourtrip...
1.    Be prepared
2.    Stick to trails and camp overnight right
3.    Stash your trash and pick up waste
4.    Leave it as you find it
5.    Be careful with fire
6.    Respect wildlife
7.    Be considerate of other visitors

Over the years we have built up good relations with our local suppliers and we are keen to support local businesses as much as possible. We are a small company and we pay our local partners and suppliers directly insuring fair rates.

Our small group sizes not only provide a more intimate adventure but also cause less impact on the environment and local communities.

We expect all who travel with us to support and uphold our Sustainable Tourism philosophies.
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Anuj

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Anuj

  • Outdoor activities enthusiast
  • Adventure travel expert
  • Loves the arctic world
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Region
Spitsbergen
Activity
Snowshoeing Svalbard in the Winter
Duration
9 days
Group
6 to 8 people
Code
ENSPH1A
Price
From €1,890
Level
2/5
Comfort
1/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

  • Explore Longyearbyen, Tempelfjorden and Von Post Glacier
  • Enjoy warm guesthouse accommodation and two basecamps in the heart of the Arctic wilderness
  • Discover frozen fjords, glaciers and ice floes; Arctic birds, foxes and seals
  • Our experienced professional guides and state of the art equipment will keep you safe and warm
  • Sled dogs will accompany us to protect us from polar bears and help carry our equipment 

Required level

No previous snowshoeing experience is required but you should be in fair health and come equipped with a sense of adventure and a positive attitude. This trip involves 4-6 hours of activity per day and two days where group members will be excpected to pull pulks with their equipment in. We plan to climb summits of up to+450m and traverse uneven icy terrain. The difficulty of this trip may vary according to the weather and snow conditions and please note that your help with tasks such as cooking and setting up camp is much appreciated and expected - we want you to become a part of our expedition team!
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