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Jan Mayen Expedition

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Expedition Jan Mayen

  • We – Auro­ra Expe­di­tions and Rolf Stange – have done four expe­di­tions to Jan Mayen from 2014 to 2017. In three out of these four expe­di­tions, groups have been able to reach the peak of Beeren­berg. After these alto­geth­er very suc­cess­ful trips, we have decid­ed that the project Jan Mayen is cur­rent­ly fin­ished for us, so we do at the moment not plan any future trips. We are open for group requests and of course we may at some stage decide to return (con­tact) – a life with­out Jan Mayen is pos­si­ble, but does it make sense ..?

Arctic blog: Jan Mayen

  • Arc­tic blog: Jan Mayen
    Join voy­ages to Jan Mayen and Spits­ber­gen from the sofa! Espe­cial­ly if you con­sid­er join­ing us on Jan Mayen, I strong­ly rec­om­mend that you read my trav­el blog about the expe­di­tions in 2014 and fol­low­ing years to get a real­is­tic impres­sion of what can hap­pen. Click these links for the blog 2014, the blog 2015 and blog Jan Mayen 2016 and then scroll down to June and July.

Some thoughts and reflec­tions on Jan Mayen expe­di­tions and Beeren­berg that crossed my mind dur­ing the 2014 expedition.

If you have ascend­ed 1600 metres on a moun­tain 2277 metres high, should you then be glad to have the views that you have got, pret­ty high up on the north­ern­most vol­ca­noe above sea lev­el on Earth, with a free view to the crater top, glac­i­ers and the hills of south­ern Jan Mayen? Or is it nat­ur­al to be dis­ap­point­ed because you haven’t been all the way up? Does the top count or the view? Ever­body will find a dif­fer­ent answer to this ques­tion, which is not a mat­ter of ratio. Climb­ing moun­tains gen­er­al­ly isn’t, as a mat­ter of fact.

Beeren­berg is already exert­ing its draw­ing pow­ers upon future expe­di­tion mem­bers, so I’d like to add a few points which I find impor­tant, all already men­tioned else­where in rel­e­vant places easy to find for those who should be interested.

  • The voy­age to Jan Mayen def­i­nite­ly has expe­di­tion charak­ter and is not at all a cruise. You can not com­pare it to an expe­di­tion style cruise on a small ship, such as the Antigua or one of the Ocean­wide Expe­di­tions ves­sels, in Spits­ber­gen or Antarc­ti­ca. The expe­di­tion to Jan Mayen is far more demand­ing in terms of sportive abil­i­ty and gen­er­al lack of com­fort. We have to expect sea­sick­ness dur­ing the cross­ings. Sleep­ing in tents in strong wind, rain and sand is not a camp­ing hol­i­day. Bad weath­er may require spend­ing long, uncom­fort­able wait­ing hours or even days in wet, noisy tents. There is no cook. When you are hun­gry, you will most­ly go your­self and get some­thing out, both on the boat and in the camp (some­times, Sig­gi is prepar­ing one of his famous soups, though).
  • Get­ting up on Beeren­berg must not be the only moti­va­tion for your par­tic­i­pa­tion. Oth­er­wise, dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion are too like­ly, which will not only influ­ence your expe­ri­ence, but also the whole group. The whole island of Jan Mayen has its inter­est and beau­ty. If you don’t want to leave with­out the peak, then don’t join us, but orga­nize your own expe­di­tion (yes, that is pos­si­ble, although obvi­ous­ly not too easy).
  • If you want to get up to Beeren­berg, you have to be real­ly fit. Not just rea­son­ably fit, but real­ly well trained and sportive. Beerenberg’s 2277 metres of alti­tude are some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than the same alti­tude in the Alps, fol­low­ing estab­lished paths. The hike from Kval­ross­buk­ta to Beeren­berg already takes some ener­gy, and the open air bivac will not nec­es­sar­i­ly give a lot of rest. All that fol­lows a 2-3 day cross­ing of open sea, which is like­ly to bring sea­sick­ness and lack of sleep. You won’t be as fit as you have been at home before you left. If you are not cer­tain you can make it, then you shouldn’t try! You can still join and come to Jan Mayen. There are plen­ty of oth­er things to do.
  • Of course we reserve the right to excludes par­tic­i­pants who appear to be not fit for the ascent. But this is always dif­fi­cult. A real­is­tic judge­ment of your abil­i­ties by your­self is of vital importance.
  • Every­one should have gone with a rope on a glac­i­er before and should essen­tial­ly know how to use cram­pons and ice axe.
  • No mat­ter how fit and expe­ri­enced we all are: to say there is no guar­an­tee that we will reach Beeren­berg is still an under­state­ment. It will only be pos­si­ble under opti­mum con­di­tions, and these are rare on Jan Mayen. We won’t go up in strong winds or poor vis­i­bil­i­ty. The deci­sion is up to the guide, every­body else has to accept this deci­sion. If you want to take the deci­sion your­self, then you have to set up your own expedition.
  • The weath­er fore­cast is far from pre­cise enough to give us exact infor­ma­tion about pos­si­ble weath­er win­dows. This time, a good fore­cast might have helped us up to the peak; we would have start­ed ear­li­er, even though it was rain­ing. But there is no good fore­cast. It remains a gam­ble to the last moment, and you have to take the result with some humour, whether you loose or win.
  • If the peak is so impor­tant to you that not get­ting there will make you dis­ap­point­ed and frus­trat­ed, then please don’t join us. Set up your own expedition.
  • Of course, we hope on great hikes, not just in con­nec­tion to Beeren­berg. But also on these hikes, you have to con­sid­er some­thing like 20 kilo­me­tres to reach many inter­est­ing places over uneven and some­times demand­ing ter­rain. There is the pos­si­bil­i­ty to do hikes almost indi­vid­u­al­ly, in small groups, and this will even be nec­es­sary at times when part of the group and the guides are on Beeren­berg. This requires that you take the ini­tia­tive and take off to do some­thing on your own, with­in a cer­tain frame­work to make sure it’s safe. Some ini­tia­tive and a GPS are def­i­nite­ly helpful.

Expe­di­tions to Beeren­berg by sta­tion mem­bers start usu­al­ly also from Ekerold­dalen, quite exact­ly from the site of our bivac. The fol­low­ing table gives the hours need­ed in some exam­ples by sta­tion mem­bers. We need­ed 8,5 hours to Nunatakken. The prin­ci­pal dif­fer­ences are obvous: the sta­tion mem­bers can wait for the best weath­er of the sea­son and then dri­ve by car out to Ekerold­dalen. Once we are there, we will already have a long, exhaus­tive hike behind us, fol­lowed by some hours rest in a bivouac. That is a dif­fer­ence! Some exam­ples of the time spent on Beeren­berg by expe­di­tions from sta­tion members:

DateHours to Nunatakken (our turn­around point)To topCom­plete­ly
15th July 1992?916
17th July 1998 6.510?
20th May 2007 5.59.514
18th March 2008? 1117
?? 812.5
26th Feb­ru­ary 2006? 913
10th March 2014? 1217.5
16th March 200971115.5

Jan Mayen: Beerenberg

Mount Beeren­berg is tow­er­ing 2277 metres high above the waves of the north Atlantic. The glac­i­ers require care and cor­rect use of safe­ty equip­ment, but all in all Mount Beeren­berg is tech­ni­cal­ly not very demand­ing. The key require­ment is good sta­mi­na and the main prob­lem is get­ting there in the first place.
But in good weath­er, you can almost see Green­land and Ice­land from the top… 😉

Jan Mayen – 71°N 8°30’W

Expedition 2014!

What is this about?

We want to have the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to get in-depth expe­ri­ence of the fas­ci­nat­ing island of Jan Mayen, includ­ing pos­si­bly climb­ing its high­est moun­tain, Mount Beeren­berg, and exten­sive excur­sions over parts of the island. Mount Beeren­berg is the north­ern­most active vol­cano above sea lev­el, its glaciat­ed peak is 2277 metres high.

Some pic­tures from Sigurdur’s last ascent of Beerenberg:

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlarged ver­sion of the spe­cif­ic photo.

jan mayen (gallery):

One group of well-trained hik­ers will attempt to reach the top of Mount Beeren­berg dur­ing part of the week ashore (weath­er per­mit­ting, obvi­ous­ly). Those who do not want to make this attempt, will have more time for excur­sions and hikes clos­er to sea lev­el. We will be com­plete­ly iso­lat­ed and on our own. Once we are on Jan Mayen, we will estab­lish a base­camp with expe­di­tion tents in Kval­ross­buk­ta. There, we will make our prepa­ra­tions to sum­mit Mount Beeren­berg and do a num­ber of hikes: of course climb­ing Mount Beeren­berg will be an impor­tant goal for some mem­bers, but not the only one. We want use the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to see as much as pos­si­ble of Jan Mayen.

Beerenberg, Jan Mayen
Beerenberg, Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen, Nor­way – 71°N 8°30’W
A moun­taineer­ing and hik­ing expe­di­tion to Jan Mayen

Infor­ma­tion and require­ments – Moun­taineer­ing This is a tech­ni­cal and more stren­u­ous expe­di­tion for moun­taineers who wish to walk beyond the shore radius in order to reach high­er ground and view­points. Moun­taineers walk in rope par­ties under the lead­er­ship of a cer­ti­fied moun­tain guide most­ly across glaciat­ed envi­ron­ment. Moun­taineer­ing knowl­edge is prefer­able, but not required. Phys­i­cal fit­ness is essen­tial. The max­i­mum num­ber is lim­it­ed to 6 moun­taineers per rope par­ty. Spe­cial glac­i­er equip­ment will be pro­vid­ed: ropes and cara­bin­ers, har­ness­es, hel­mets, ice axes and cram­pons. Par­tic­i­pants will bring their per­son­al pro­tec­tive out­door clothes and boots suit­able for using cram­pons. A qual­i­fied moun­tain guide will super­vise and guide the ascent.

Jan Mayen: the moun­taineers will car­ry their per­son­al and shared equip­ment (food, stoves, fuel) in moun­tain­ous ter­rain to estab­lish their base­camp ashore. This moun­taineer­ing expe­di­tion involves ele­ments of glac­i­er trav­el and camp­ing. In gen­er­al par­tic­i­pants must be phys­i­cal­ly con­di­tioned and expe­ri­enced in order to par­tic­i­pate in this stren­u­ous exer­cise in alpine envi­ron­ments fac­ing some­times extreme weath­er. The climbers will move through steep, deep snow-cov­ered, some­times dif­fi­cult, glaciat­ed, crevassed and poten­tial­ly haz­ardous alpine ter­rain. There is no real climb­ing on this trip, but the weath­er con­di­tions can make the moun­taineer­ing and camp­ing expe­di­tion a very chal­leng­ing under­tak­ing. There is a pos­si­bil­i­ty that due to stormy weath­er the expe­di­tion must remain in tents for sev­er­al days at a time. Good phys­i­cal con­di­tion and health are essen­tial for this polar expe­di­tion and must be backed up by a med­ical certificate.

Beerenberg, Jan Mayen

Equip­ment:Camp­ing equip­ment will be pro­vid­ed as far as need­ed. You bring your per­son­al gear includ­ing har­ness­es, cram­pons, ice axe etc. Par­tic­i­pants will get a detailed list.

Lan­guage: we expect an inter­na­tion­al­ly mixed, Eng­lish speak­ing group of expeditioners.

Beerenberg, Jan Mayen

Inter­est­ed? If you want to know more about this rare and excit­ing voy­age, please con­tact me.

Beerenberg, Jan Mayen


Around 10 per­sons includ­ing guides.

Beerenberg, Jan Mayen

If you want to know more about this rare and excit­ing voy­age, please con­tact me.

last modification: 2017-11-15
copyright: Rolf Stange