Svalbard Expedition Live

Day 5

A night of listening to the fresh snow gently falling onto the tent with the periodic whooshing of it slipping off, set the scene for today…knee deep fresh powder!

A downhill skier’s dream but a sled-dragger’s nightmare!

Pulling 90kg sleds uphill in powder snow was incredibly difficult.

Luckily the cloud quickly descended onto the ice and the total white-out distracted us from the burning in our legs.  This was gifted with the incredibly challenging navigation across the featureless Filchner Fonna ice dome!

Many hours spent staring at compasses and GPS see us at the end of a very challenging day but we’re warm and cosy in our tent with a cuppa soup in our hands.

We’re looking forward to the view when the cloud finally lifts.


Suunto Stats

Average speed  skiing  1.7kph
Distance 11.12 km
Average Heart Rate Rich 108bpm  Gareth 111bpm
Height gained 162 m
Calories Rich 4128   Gareth  4207
Bears 0

Day 4

We woke to driving snow and a white out, terrible conditions for navigating but Rich did an outstanding job.  He threaded our route expertly between two Nunatuks and we emerged into an icy amphitheatre just as the cloud lifted.

We found ourselves surrounded on all sides by snowy peaks and to our west a view of the sea.

Our route then took us up the Phillipbreen glacier and we spent a tough afternoon slogging uphill in deep snow.  Our distances are shorter than we had hoped, only 15km today but route finding and the conditions are slowing us down.  

We’re going well and so happy to be exploring this incredible place.

Major bonus this afternoon too!

We bumped into a team on skidoos and they gave us a chocolate bar each.  I think they felt sorry for us!


Suunto Stats

Duration skiing  hours
Distance 15 km
Average Heart Rate Rich 111bpm  Gareth 114bpm
Height gained 400 m
Calories Rich 4328   Gareth  4216
Bears 0

Day 3

A stormy night with the wind rattling our tent but woke to an eerie calm and a stunning clear blue sky.

A really tough pull up the Rabotbreen Glacier in soft snow with the temperature dropping as we climbed higher.

Totally worth the work as we were treated to panoramic views of steep mountains and deep valleys all around.

Camped atop a glacier tonight hoping the clear weather holds for tomorrow.

Suunto Stats

Duration skiing 6.5 hours
Distance 11.45 km
Average Heart Rate Rich 115bpm  Gareth 116bpm
Calories Rich 4598   Gareth  4654
Bears 0

Day 2

Great progress today, we said goodbye to  Eric and his team and headed off into the wild on our own.

Strong winds last night set off our perimeter bear alarm which gave everyone a fright! Proper polar winds this evening for our first camp on our own, great to test our skills.

Safely in our tent now, looking forward to tomorrow.

Suunto Stats

Duration skiing 0
Distance 0 km
Average Heart Rate  0 bpm
Calories 0
Bears 0

Day 1

Here’s a great first day on our skis. -10 degrees, clear skies, great to be back on our skis. Feeling really good at the start of the expedition. In camp now, looking forward to tomorrow.


Suunto Stats

Duration skiing 8 hours 12 seconds
Distance 17.12km
Average Heart Rate 110 bpm
Calories 3033
Bears 0

Svalbard Expedition 2022 Finally Begins

We are all ready to leave Longyearbyen today.

Our sleds are packed, all our fantastic gear has been checked and our route has been mapped.

We will head off in the Hagglunds over snow for a 1.5 hour drive to our start point.

We will be joining Eric Phillips anIceTrek Expeditions for a couple of days for some invaluable training and knowledge from very experienced polar guides before we head off on our own for close to three weeks. 

Our first night on the ice and we were very cosy in our Hilleberg tent, this model is the Keron 4 GT.

All bear safety equipment is working well, and the camp was set up very efficiently.


Arriving in Svalbard and Preparations in Full Swing

Arriving in Svalbard

We’ve finally made it after two and half years of planningLongyearbyen is the world’s northernmost settlement (with population greater than 1,000) and largest inhabited area of SvalbardNorway.


Preparations in full swing, one day to go! 

 Prepare, pack, sort…. repeat.

Our Svalbard expedition is 21 days,we must have everything we could possibly need packed in our sled and ready to go.

Can you imagine what the preparation will be like for a 110-day crossing of Antarctica?

A big thank you tFirepot foods, all these yellow packages are our meals for the next 21 days made in the UK and shipped to Svalbard.

John froFirepot foods has been an absolute legend and has teamed up with our amazing in house Dietitian Ash to make sure we have enough nutrition to sustain our energy expenditure and nutritional requirements throughout our expedition.


Explorers Gareth and Richard Re-United

After two years of endless zoom calls, strategy meetings and derailed plans The Last Great First explorers Gareth and Richard finally get to catch up and head off on their adventure together to Svalbard. 

Safe travels and a huge thank you to the entire team and sponsors that have worked relentlessly to get this expedition going.


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