Cross the high plateau of the Hardangervidda on this remote, committing trip. Experience the enticing challenge of being completely self-supported as we pull pulks through snow fields and set up camp in winter tents.
The Hardangervidda plateau has attracted great polar travellers such as Amundsen, who was the first to try to cross it, but failed many times. For a long time, the Hardangervidda was believed to be impossible to conquer.
Our Hardangervidda crossing expedition takes on the challenge of crossing the plateau, which, for some 8 months is a windswept wilderness, covered in deep snow. The crossing can be completed on either skis or snowshoes. This is a very committing, remote expedition; for 6 days we will be completely self-supported, pulling pulks with all the equipment and supplies we will need for the week and setting up camp in polar-proof tents. Distance to be covered is about 150km.
The landscape we encounter is a convincing approximation of the Polar regions, with the hiss of drift and the wind-shaped furrows, ridges and waves of snow. We will focus on teaching navigation, camp routines and safety for winter conditions. The skills and experience you have gained on this expedition will be a great preparation for more extreme adventures, taking you to the poles or up to Svalbard.
Fitness requirements and experience:
Due to an average elevation of 1,100 meters on this wide-open plateau, the climate can at times be challenging. Extreme winds and whiteouts can make it difficult to gain ground, and we need to be prepared for all eventualities. Experience of managing yourself in challenging conditions will be important.
A good level of personal fitness and endurance is required to complete this expedition. It is a strenuous trip – we will be skiing/snowshoeing 8-9 hours a day including breaks, pulling an approximately 25kg heavy sled. Prior to the trip we will run a Training Course, where you will learn managing your kit in winter conditions, as well as using all of the equipment needed.
‘Starting as virtual strangers the team met up in Scotland at the end of January for a weekend of training, trying kit and getting to know earth other. An excellent ( essential?) idea to hold this weekend to allow Jamie and Mark (leaders) to see people in action, help the team get to grips with kit and find out more about the trip but also start bonding. With the help of a what’s app group, by the time we met in Norway there was already a team atmosphere. The exped team genuinely want to make sure you are taking on the right challenge and are going to be up to it and enjoy the experience.’ (Jennie)
DAY 0 Flight to Oslo
Fly to Oslo and stay overnight in a hostel in the centre of town. Our meeting time will be arranged depending on flight times.
DAY 1 Train to Finse and first night on the plateau.
Early start by taking the train to Finse, which, at 1,222m, is the highest railway station in Norway and lies at the foot of Hadangerjokulen, the largest glacier in the country. Once arrived, we will organise last bits of equipment. From here we can get on our trail straight away and make our way onto the Hardangervidda plateau. We establish our first camp for the night.
DAY 2-7 Crossing of the plateau, covering 20-25km per day and polar training along the way.
These days will be spent making our way across the plateau in a south-easterly direction. Along the way, weather, group experience and snow conditions will determine our exact route. We aim to avoid all major trails, and camp in remote and wild places. Route-setting will be decided on collectively as a team. 6-10 hour days, depending on routes and conditions.
During your journey across the plateau, you will get the opportunity to build snow shelters, learn winter navigation skills using poles, snowshoes and compass bearings as a combination.
At the end of your expedition, you will be experienced in managing yourself in remote multi-day winter conditions, winter camp-craft, and moving in snowshoes/skis with a pulk.
DAY 8 Descent into Rjukan and finish of our expedition.
Today, we complete our crossing of the Hardangervidda plateau, descending steeply down into Rjukan to our accommodation. We celebrate our successful crossing with a hearty meal and drinks.
DAY 9 Flight back to the UK.
Early morning transfer back into Oslo for your flight back home.