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.
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:
|Date||Hours to Nunatakken (our turnaround point)||To top||Completely|
|15th July 1992||?||9||16|
|17th July 1998||6.5||10||?|
|20th May 2007||5.5||9.5||14|
|18th March 2008||?||11||17|
|26th February 2006||?||9||13|
|10th March 2014||?||12||17.5|
|16th March 2009||7||11||15.5|
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interested? If you want to know more about this rare and exciting voyage, please contact me.
Around 10 persons including guides.
If you want to know more about this rare and exciting voyage, please contact me.