9 days Prins Karls summer expedition: Hike on the west coast of Spitsbergen
with Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions
Along the central west coast of Spitsbergen, Prins Karls Forland forms an 86 km long and 11 km wide island, the westernmost place you can possibly reach on Svalbard. Waves directly from the Arctic Ocean break against the west coast of this island, and North Greenland is the next landfall to the west. This island holds a landscape of contrasts with its alpine summits, verdigris green grass plains and barren rock deserts side by side. We offer this fantastic landscape as a setting for an 8 days long hiking trip, in which we will wander carrying the tent on our backs and set a new camp every evening. Our experiences will include an amazingly rich nature and cultural monuments from former hunting and industrial activities on Svalbard. In the course of this trip, we will feel part of the vast wilderness and run a minimal risk of meeting other people in this part of Svalbard.
Day 1 :
Good planning, nice tour mates and careful preparations are half the trip! It is therefore important that all the participants are in place in Longyearbyen in the afternoon. The guide will pick you up at your choice of accommodation at 4 pm. During the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the other participants and to make sure you brought the necessary equipment. The guide will brief you on the planned route and give you an updated weather forecast. We will pack and prepare the rucksacks for the next day before we end the meeting. Those who have a need to supplement their equipment will have time to do so before the sporting goods stores close at 6 pm.
First night in hotel is not included.
Day 2 :
An early start of a long day. The guide will pick you up at your hotel/guesthouse and take you to the harbour where the boat that will bring us to Heemskerckneset on Prins Karls Forland awaits. We will arrive the northern end of Prins Karls Forland in the afternoon about 3-4 pm. Once ashore, we will hike a short distance of about 1 – 2 kilometres before we establish our first camp.
Day 3 :
Don’t be surprised if you wake up to the sound of seagulls. Prins Karls Forland is known for its rich bird life. After a sound breakfast, our crossing towards the West coast begins. The terrain is fairly easy, and we will walk through the MacKenzie valley to Blokkvatnet. The distance of this trip is 7-8 km in a relatively flat terrain.
Day 4 :
From Blokkvatnet, the journey continues through Sutordalen heading for the west coast. We will establish our camp in scenic surroundings, facing the sea and the wide horizon. The rest of the day, we will explore the surroundings. If the weather allows permits, we can spend the evening beside the bonfire with the ocean as background music. The distance of this journey is 4-5 km.
Day 5 :
Our journey will continue north following the coastline. During nesting season, we walk the inland road on some parts to avoid disturbing the nesting birds. The arctic fox will keep an eye on the nests and will not hesitate to steal an egg or chicken given the chance. Prins Karls Forland is the northernmost habitat in the world for the harbour seal, which is commonly observed here. In this area, there are also several remains from Norwegian trapping activities, and enormous whalebones from the nearly extinguished Bowhead whale can be found scattered on the beaches. We will pass the entrance of Strathbergdalen and prepare our camp for the next two nights. The length of this journey is 8-10 km.
Day 6 :
Today, we will embark on a fantastic tour during which we can leave our heavy rucksacks in the camp. We will follow the coastline right beneath the biggest bird cliff on Prins Karls Forland. We may experience the arctic fox in its search for food right beneath the nesting cliffs for the Brünnich’s guillemot. Between July and August, we will get a chance to see the dramatic Guillemot jump. The chickens are not fully fledged by the time they leave their nest, but they will try to glide trough the air to reach the water. For those who do not succeed this attempt, there are many threats. This is an important period for the Arctic Fox, who is collecting food supplies for the winter. We will also visit the remains of old trapper cabins after the Norwegian and Russian trapper period in the 17th century. The distance of this journey is 8-10 km (return trip camp – Fuglehuken).
Day 7 :
We will leave the lush West coast and start our walk towards the East coast. We will take a trip to the old trapping station at McVitiepynten. This day’s journey will take us through an area with barren rocky ground, a contrast to the lush areas of the West coast. The distance of this journey is 6-8 km.
Day 8 :
The trip continues further south along the coast. Today, we will walk along the coastline towards Hemskercknesset. We will get some impressive views of the tundra, glacier and drift timber, curious seals playing in the sea – who is looking at whom? Today’s goal is Hemskerckneset, where we will prepare our last camp. The distance of this journey is 6-8 km.
Day 9 :
We will take it easy while waiting for the boat to pick us up. The walruses find the sandy beach at Hemskercknesset suitable for resting, and we might catch a glimpse of these shapeless, yet charming animals. If the group agrees, there will be time for a longer walk towards the Taylor Mountain. In the afternoon, we will pack the camp and the boat will pick us up around 3 pm. After 7 days in the field, it is nice to experience some “civilisation” onboard. Maybe you will want to write down your experience or just watch the landscape pass by. We arrive Longyearbyen in the afternoon.
Be aware that the length per day, the trip and the activities may be changed due to weather conditions and the composition of the group. If time permits, we can make some hikes to the surrounding mountaintops.
Demands of participants:All participants will carry their own backpack. Weight 20 – 25 kg (personal- of camp equipment, and food for the entire day). We recommend that you read our suggestions of what to bring before departure. We will sleep in tents in pairs.
Included in price: Transport to/from your accommodation, food, tent, sleeping mat, experienced guide with necessary safety equipment. The price does not include sleeping bag.
Minimum 4 and maximum 11 participants.
Period: 19.07. – 27.07.2021
Days: 9 days
Time 16:00 preparing day 1 and 07:30 departure day 2
Price: NOK 29 900,-
Demanding Level 5 of 5