Arctic Hiking, Spitsbergen

Join us on a unique hiking adventure in one of the most remote, untouched desintations in the world. Explore tundra valleys where reindeer roam, huge fjords where icebergs drift and enormous glaciers. Discover Pyramiden, the abandoned Russian mining city and immerse yourself in this wild region, a land of glaciers, mountains and ice where few humans venture... 

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Flight to Longyearbyen

    Flight to Longyearbyen Welcome to Longyearbyen, we will greet you at the airport and escort you to your accommodation in the city under the light of the midnight sun.

    Transport: Private vehicle and aeroplane
    Accommodation: Guesthouse or private apartment

  • Day 2 Longyearbyen and departure for Svea

    Longyearbyen and departure for Svea Get ready for a full Immersion in Longyearbyen: Take a quick tour of this typical Norwegian city of the Far North. We do a briefing of security measures before the big departure, by boat. Today, we get together to set up our main camp where we wil be staying on multiple days, with a view of the ice front of Svea that we will discover during our trip.

    Transport: Boat trip
    Accommodation: Camping

  • Day 3 Crest of Svea

    Crest of Svea Today we will hike to one of the most spectacular hikes that you can do in Spitsbergen.
    We warm up a few kilometers in the tundra before gradually taking the height to the ridges that overlook the Svea glacier.
    The view of this stretch of ice as far as the eye can see makes us aware of the immensity of this glacier. It stretches to King's Bay, 40 kilometers away.
    We seem tiny in the face of the immensity of this ice giant that inspires respect and humility within us.
    We then come back through the foothills of a canyon to the camp for a good dinner prepared together under the mess tent.

    Activities: around 7 hours of hiking
    Accommodation: Camping

  • Day 4 Svea Glacier

    Svea Glacier We approach the glacier of Svea before going back to its moraine which will give us a striking view on this huge glacier and its surroundings.
    We advance on this millennial ice on the dead and safe part of the glacier. The view of the seracs bluish, a few tens of meters, is striking.
    We photograph the glacier in all its glory before heading back to the camp.

    Activities: around 6 hours of hiking
    Accommodation: Camping

  • Day 5 Svea - Ekman by the ridges: change of camp

    Svea - Ekman by the ridges: change of camp This morning we dismount the camp and leave it as a "deposit" on the beach.
    After crossing the Lappelva river from the melting glacier, we start to climb the neighboring summit: the Lundbohmfjelet.
    From the summit, we overlook the bay of Svea and its glacier, but also the Ekman fjord and its ocher cliffs with the evocative names of Kolosseum and Kapitol. We take advantage of this spectacle by crossing the ridges of the mountain before descending to the Ekman fjord. We then arrive at the edge of the fjord, where a boat brings us the material that we left in Svea this morning so that we can set up a new camp, which will be our second base camp.
    This new location allows us to discover a changing Spitsbergen, the stratified cliffs that surround us are tinted with multiple colors, the landscapes are more mineral but also looks more beautiful than at the beginning of the week.

    * Variation: If the conditions do not allow the crossing on foot the change of camp can be made using the boat "logistics".

    Activity: Around 15km, 8 hours of hiking
    Accommodation: Camping

  • Day 6 Ekmanfjellet

    Ekmanfjellet We are leaving today for a real climb from our camp. We first head near a beautiful waterfall which is also our supply of drinking water.
    The slope is regular and the ground rather stable. We pass 4 successive peaks by a splendid line of ridges, until the summit of Ekman which overhangs our camp to 539m of height. The panorama is incredible. To the east, an ice cap that seems endless, to the north, the Sefström glacier literally flows into the ocean. In front of us, cliffs carved in a millenary rock and worked by erosion giving the impression of being in front of a temple. Below us, the island of Coraholmen, sits in the middle of the Fjord. Its characteristic red hue brings a colorful contrast to this superb fjord.
    After all these magical moments, we head back to the camp.

    Activities: around 6 hours of hiking and 600m of difference in altitude
    Accommodation: Camping

  • Day 7 Back to Longyearbyen

    Back to Longyearbyen Dismount the camp and prepare departure for Longyearbyen . A boat picks us up in the late morning to take us back to Longyearbyen (2 to 3 hours of transfer).
    We find the pleasure of a hot shower with pleasure and we are preparing to enjoy a last evening in a friendly atmosphere in high latitudes.

    Activities: around 11km, 5 hours of hiking
    Accommodation: Camping

  • Day 8 Safety Day at Longyearbyen

    Safety Day at Longyearbyen Free day to visit the Svalbard Museum and the many points of interest of the city.

    Optional (210 €), possibility to take the boat to Pyramiden in the aftermath of the afternoon, mining town abandoned in the 80s whose visit remains a highlight because it is a place full of history frozen in time.

    In the evening, we enjoy a last meal in the restaurant to close together this beautiful adventure since we leave Spitsbergen tonight via a night flight.

    Activities: around 10km, 5 hours of hiking
    Accommodation: Camping

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.

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Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: ENSPT1A

Included

  • Airport transfers
  • Two nights guesthouse accommodation in Longyearbyen
  • All technical camping gear
  • Full supervision by an experienced professional guide
  • Visit of the abandoned Russian city of Pyramiden
  • Full board except a final evening meal in Longyearbyen (day 9)
  • Boat trips

Not included

  • Registration fee: €18 per person (free for under 12s)
  • Flights
  • Evening meal on day 9 in Longyearbyen (kitchen facilities/restaurant options available)

Additional Options

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

Notes

Comfort 1/5: Camping

This trip includes two nights in Guesthouse accommodation (the first and last nights) and all other nights camping. 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 ratings may vary depending on the weather.

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 day 9 there are shops and kitchen facilities available or local restaurants for you to sample - we have lots of recommendations!

Despite the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the artic regions we are proud of the varied, fresh and frankly delicious food we provide even when camping. Meals are based on a selection of local products and you will have the opportunity to try several local delicacies. Each  day will start with a cold breakfast accompanied by plenty of tea and coffee or hot chocolate. Then you will prepare your own picnic lunch ans snacks for the day from an array of options. Evening meals will include three courses, soup, a hot dish and a dessert- we try to offer fresh fruit and vegetables everyday but please be aware that this is not always possible in an isolated arctic environment.

Your help in the kitchen is expected and much appreciated, particularly in the evenings. We like when the whole group work as a team to cook dinner, it creates a pleasant atmosphere as we reflect on the days adventures together.

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you book the trip and we will work with you to cater for your needs.

Accommodation

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

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 sometimes changeable conditions. We will also provide a spacious mess tent for meal times, fully equipped with kitchen equipment including a table and stools.

Transportation

This trip includes transportation by local boat through Svalbards iconic iceberg filled waters.

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
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 - all you need to bring are your hiking boots.

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 tent per two people (a 3 man dome tent for maximum space and comfort)
  • A self-inflating sleeping mat
  • A suitable synthetic sleeping bag ( -6°C)
  • An aluminium thermos flask per 2 people

Vital equipment

  • A sleeping bag liner
  • Your walking boots
  • Waterproof, windproof jacket (with a hood)
  • Waterproof trousers (breathable)
  • Warm gloves and hat
  • Thermals - top & long johns
  • A fleece/jumper
  • Suitable underwear, t-shirts and walking trousers
  • Thin socks and thick socks (we recommend bringing 3-4 pairs of thick socks)
  • Sunhat and sun cream
  • Sunglasses (UV 400)
  • Toiletries and toilet roll
  • Any personal medication
  • A water bottle/flask
  • A small rucksack to use as a day bag
  • Head torch & spare batteries (although it is nearly always light in the summer months)  
  • Your swimming stuff (for the pool or sauna options)
  • Clothes for travelling in
  • A small towel and your personal toiletries

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 (and suitable protective case)
  • Binoculars
  • A comfortable evening outfit
  • A comfortable pair of shoes for the evenings
  • 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

My local agent
Anuj

  • Outdoor activities enthusiast
  • Adventure travel expert
  • Loves the arctic world
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Region
Spitsbergen
Activity
Hiking Svalbard in the Summer
Duration
8 days
Group
6 to 12 people
Code
ENSPT1A
Price
From €2,395
Level
2/5
Comfort
1/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

  • This adventure includes several boat trips through Svalbards iconic icy waters where you may observe whales, seals, walruses and Polar Bears
  • Hiking in a truly unique location - an adventure in the remote arctic wilderness
  • Our professional and passionate on-site team who will ensure you have an unforgettable stay in complete safety
  • Our sheltered basecamps at the foot of two different magnificant glaciers mean that this remote wilderness environment becomes your home and playground for the duration of the trip

Required level

This trip is accessible to anyone in fair health with a sense of adventure and a positive attitude. We will do around 5 hours of hiking per day, our hikes are not technically difficult but do venture off-trail and may include climbing some steep passages. This trip involves camping and please note that your help with tasks like cooking is much appreciated and expected - we want you to be a part of our team; not just a sheep!
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