Experience your first polar journey – A 3 day trip to reset, rewind and get a taste for polar expeditions.
A stunning introduction to the Norwegian wilderness and the largest arctic-alpine plateau in Europe.
For those who don’t have previous experience of a long and arduous polar journey, but have promised themselves to be part of one, one day, we’ve developed a teaser or ‘Micro-adventure’ in the form of a 3-day expedition. This is the trip you can join if you don’t feel like being away for too long but still want to get some time off to re-set and clear your head, evaluate your assumptions and to get the feeling of what is involved in a polar expedition.
Our training and play-ground will be the same as Nansen’s and Amundsen’s. The Hardangervidda plateau offers tough conditions and inclement weather to test your abilities, but also comes complete with the entire Northern experience: frozen lakes, the Northern Lights and remoteness.
We’ll use the same techniques and structures required for a more committing polar expedition:
Days will be challenging, with a journey to cover under winter conditions and two nights spent out in winter tents. By the end of the trip you’ll know what it’s like to be pulling and packing a pulk. You’ll be familiar with winter camp routines and walking in snowshoes or using skis, and with managing yourself in these conditions. You will have the opportunity to practice winter navigation, and snow- and avalanche skills. Our group is set up as a mixed snowshoe and ski team.
Above all, you will have spent two long days out in proper snow, doing something for both your body and soul.
Micro-Adventures: These trips are for those who want to get away and experience adventure, but only have a few days to spare. It’s the essence of adventure in a short and intense hit. The level of difficulty is pitched at the general ability and enthusiasm of the team. We can do a night-time ski or summit, or take it more leisurely. But all of the time, we aim to maximise the amount of time we have and, staying true to our spirit of seeking remoteness and niche experiences, get you as far away as possible from civilisation and into areas which lend themselves for exploration.
DAY 1 Friday: Flights to Oslo and train to Finse.
Early morning flight to Oslo. From the airport, you’ll transfer into Oslo Central train stations (Oslo S) where we meet for an afternoon briefing and to pick up any additional kit you require. From Oslo S, we take the last train out to Finse. We watch with anticipation as the suburbs and towns disappear and wide expanses of snowy landscapes, forests and mountains take their place. It’s a 4:30 hour ride which gives us plenty of time to get to know each other and get excited for what’s to come. When we finally arrive at Finse, a tiny settlement on the edges of the Hardangervidda plateau, it will be dark. Under the lights of our head torches we will make our final arrangements and sort our kit into the pulks before getting into our ski boots and snowshoes and setting out onto the plateau. A night-time ski/snowshoe is special – silence, solitude, and a chance to see the Northern Lights. How far we go depends on strength and enthusiasm of the team and we still need to find a suitable spot for putting up our tents. The routines are the same as they would be on a full polar expedition: Digging out the tent porch to create a cooking area, melting snow, getting a brew on and preparing the dry rations. Then we settle for the first night on the plateau.
DAY 2 Saturday: journey on the plateau.
Early morning rise to prepare breakfast. The temperatures will have dropped during the night and we are eager to warm up the tent with our stoves and busy ourselves. We break camp, storing everything in dry bags and re-loading the pulks. It will take some time to get efficient at this and work out the best strategies but we will share advise on this. Then we’re off for a long and activity-packed day on the plateau. We have a list of winter skills on the programme, but we’ll get moving first to warm up and to give ourselves a chance to appreciate the beauty of the plateau in the morning light. The route choice is flexible – we are aiming at taking in a variety of challenges and experiences such as crossing a frozen lake and skinning up a hill to reach higher ground, gain longer views over the plateau and a feel for moving with the pulks on uphill and downhill sections. Along the way we will teach techniques of pulk travel, for example roping systems for the downhill, and we will get more familiar with using skis or snowshoes. We’ll use waxes and skins for the skis and practice getting a good glide. Before we stop for lunch, we take the opportunity to get in some safety training, including digging an emergency shelter, snowpack analysis and using an avalanche transceiver. By the end of the day we will be able to feel the exercise in our legs and we are keen to set up camp to get into our sleeping bags for the night. If you aren’t completely exhausted, you can stay up and watch out for the Northern Lights.
DAY 3 Sunday – Finse to Oslo and flights back.
Today is a really early start (around 5 am). We break camp and head back to Finse to catch our train back to Oslo. Skiing in the early morning light is magical – the snow is cast in hues of hazy pink and everything is glittering from the morning frost. We’re sad to leave this place but know we’ve absolutely made the most of our time here. We grab some of the famed Norwegian hot dogs on the train and relax. Depending on when your flight is, you will have time for a brief visit of Oslo, if you are extending your stay in Norway, ask your guide/instructor about where to go – The Fram Museum (Nansen’s Ship) is not to be missed!