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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → New­ton­top­pen

New­ton­top­pen

The win­ter sea­son is now, in ear­ly May or actual­ly soon mid May, about to come to an end, but we are curr­ent­ly having beau­tiful days, after an April that was part­ly quite, well, mixed. Now we having tem­pe­ra­tures below zero again – but not much, it is not too cold – and it is nice and sun­ny at times. Good reasons to get out the­re and enjoy the ama­zing ice- and snow land­scape, once again in win­ter mode.

Reindeer and ptarmigan

Spring is not far away any­mo­re in Spits­ber­gen: Ptar­mi­gan and reinde­er are hap­py about spots of snow-free tun­dra.

We move rather effi­ci­ent­ly trough the val­leys to the east. Advent­da­len, Eskerd­a­len and Sas­send­a­len, one by one, like perls on a neck­lace. We lea­ve them quick­ly behind, as we want to tra­vel far this time.

At Rabot­breen we enter the wide gla­cier land­scapes of east Spits­ber­gen. The huge morai­ne of Rabot­breen also shows signs of the approa­ching spring, ici­c­les are han­ging in small ice holes and caves. The sun is strong enough to make some ice melt even when tem­pe­ra­tures are actual­ly still below the free­zing point.

Ice cave Rabotbreen

Litt­le ice cave in the morai­ne of Rabot­breen.

Iciclces in ice cave, Rabotbreen

Ici­c­les in an ice hole at Rabot­breen.

We lea­ve also this inte­res­t­ing landc­sape quick­ly behind us, and soon we turn north, devia­ting from the popu­lar and bel­oved rou­te across Nord­manns­fon­na towards Mohn­buk­ta on the east coast. This time, we want to go fur­ther north.

Fimbulisen

Hea­ding north across Fim­bu­li­sen.

All we have around us is snow, ice and moun­ta­ins. The land­scape appears infi­ni­te­ly wide. Coas­tal and tun­dra land­scapes have dis­ap­peared far behind us. Ins­tead, the­re is one gla­cier after the other, one small ice cap neigh­bou­ring the next one. Well, they are not exact­ly small. Of cour­se they can’t com­pe­te with tho­se in Green­land and even Ant­ar­c­ti­ca, but still, we are tal­king hundreds of squa­re kilo­me­t­res. Fim­bu­li­sen, Filch­ner­fon­na, Lomo­no­sov­fon­na … the lat­ter one is the source to the migh­ty gla­ciers Nor­dens­ki­öld­breen and Mit­tag-Leff­ler­breen. Lomo­no­sov­fon­na is 600 squa­re kilo­me­t­res lar­ge!

Lomonosovfonna

Infi­ni­te spaces: the ice cap Lomo­no­sov­fon­na.

Our desti­na­ti­on: New­ton­top­pen. This is Spitsbergen’s hig­hest moun­tain, 1713 met­res high. Or to be clear: the hig­hest moun­tain of Sval­bard, the who­le archi­pe­la­go. 1713 met­res are, of cour­se, not very impres­si­ve, com­pared to the lar­ge moun­tain ran­ges of this world. But it is far away … get­ting the­re is the first thing, and even on a love­ly spring day like this, it is pret­ty cold.

Newtontoppen

New­ton­top­pen comes into our view.

For me, it is the second tour to New­ton­top­pen. The first time was in 2010. Back then, the two of us used ski, pulk and tent, some­thing that took us almost 4 weeks through this vast land­scape. Today, we are fas­ter.

Newtontoppen

New­ton­top­pen with a deco­ra­ti­ve cloud.

Back then, we were a bit more lucky with the wea­ther on New­ton­top­pen: today, the top remains in a thin cloud, alt­hough it is lar­ge­ly fine and clear other­wi­se.

New­ton­top­pen is not a dif­fi­cult moun­tain to ascend, it is “only” far away – and cold.

Newtontoppen peak

The top of New­ton­top­pen with clouds and stor­my wind.

The wind on top of New­ton­top­pen is strong and it is ice cold, near -20 degrees of cen­ti­gra­de – plus wind­chill. So it is not exact­ly pic­nic time up here, but we enjoy being here, hig­her than any­whe­re else on Spits­ber­gen, for some moments.

And the view is clea­ring up just a few met­res fur­ther down. The­re is a should­er in about 1500 met­res whe­re the gra­ni­te is coming to the sur­face. From here, we have got an impres­si­ve view over the sur­roun­ding moun­ta­ins and ice fields.

View from Newtontoppen

View from New­ton­top­pen to the south.

The way back home is a long one … more than 300 kilo­me­t­res in total, from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to New­ton­top­pen and back.

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last modification: 2019-05-11 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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