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So today is the day. I guess that all of us are qui­te exci­ted. I am cer­tain­ly loo­king for­ward to the pro­spect of get­ting up Bee­ren­berg, but I can’t deny that I have a lot of respect for this tour. The long hike yes­ter­day and the limi­ted rest in the bivac add up to it.

Here, in Ekerold­da­len, the­re is the last chan­ce to turn around indi­vi­du­al­ly. From now on it is all of us or no one. Just befo­re we start, we make this clear again, and then we fol­low the GPS up into the fog. Rocks and mos­ses, stone fiel­ds and snow patches.

After 2 hours, the fog is clea­ring. Wide moss fiel­ds around us, and the peak of Bee­ren­berg ahead! Cer­tain­ly a majes­tic view. Hard to belie­ve it is still several kilo­me­tres and more than 1700 metres of alti­tu­de to the top, it seems so near. But it isn’t.

A litt­le dripp­le of meltwa­ter is the last chan­ce to re-fill the bot­t­les. Water is important now, as we start to hike across the gent­ly slo­ping snow fiel­ds towards the top.

The sky is now beau­ti­ful­ly clear, the gla­cier-cove­r­ed cra­ter shi­ning white with a deep-blue back­ground. Just grand! A huge, impres­si­ve land­s­cape, seen by few from such a clo­se distance.

Kilo­met­re is fol­lowing upon kilo­met­re. Gud­jon, who is gui­ding groups in simi­lar ter­rain in Ice­land, is get­ting the rope out. A short intro­duc­tion – not ever­y­bo­dy has been on a gla­cier befo­re – and then we con­ti­nue as a rope team. Soon we see the first, small cracks, which are then get­ting wider, tur­ning into crev­as­sed ter­rain. Direct­ly next to us, Sør­breen is flowing down as a more hea­vi­ly crev­as­sed gla­cier, wide gaps yaw­ning not far away.

We are aiming at a small group of rocks cal­led Nunat­ak­ken. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, the wea­ther luck does not hold, and it beco­mes more and more clear that we won’t make it to the top today. The sky is tur­ning from blue to grey, and a cloud is sud­den­ly han­ging at the cra­ter rim, disap­pearing again only to come back lar­ger and thi­c­ker soon. The wind is also picking up, some of us are almost loo­sing their balan­ce for seconds. My opti­mism is for the peak going down.

Soon, Gud­jon stops the group, and I know what he wants to say. Alt­hough his rea­son is a dif­fe­rent one at this moment: one group mem­ber is exhaus­ted, the ascent is too long, he won’t con­ti­nue. It does not mat­ter, the result is the same, both rea­sons good enough: we have to turn around here, in an alti­tu­de of 1600 metres. It is only about 2 kilo­me­tres to the top as the crow flies, but it would take 4-5 hours. Mother natu­re is just clo­sing the door.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

This is, of cour­se, disap­poin­ting, and for a moment, the­re is ten­si­on and a dis­cus­sion which I don’t like, cer­tain­ly not here and now. It des­troys the impres­si­on this uni­que land­s­cape makes on me. After all the effort we have taken to get here, I would rather enjoy the view for the few minu­tes we spend here, than poin­ting out that we are not going up in poor visi­bi­li­ty and incre­a­sing wind for ano­t­her 4-5 hours through crev­as­sed ter­rain.

We turn around. After a rather quick descent, we reach our bivac in Ekerold­da­len after a total of just over 12 hours up and down.

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (3): Die Bären­in­sel und Jan May­en”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!



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last modification: 2014-07-14 · copyright: Rolf Stange