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Jan Mayen Expedition

Iceland - Jan Mayen - Iceland

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. 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
Aver­age6,3~1015

 
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

Participants

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: 2021-01-10
copyright: Rolf Stange