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Home* Triplogs with pho­to gal­le­riesArc­tic 2013 → Snow mobi­le tour Tem­pel­fjord

Snow mobile tour Tempelfjord

We have made many snow mobi­le tours to Tem­pel­fjord over the years. The one whe­re I took the pho­tos below fol­lo­wed the “clas­sic” rou­te, star­ting in Advent­da­len and then to Sas­senda­len. Both are amongst Spitsbergen’s lar­gest ice-free val­leys. Dif­fi­cult ter­rain in the sum­mer, with wide and often wet tun­dra are­as and big rivers, but most­ly easy ter­rain in the win­ter, when it is a fre­quent­ly-used rou­te for snow mobi­le tours to Tem­pel­fjord and pos­si­b­ly bey­ond (Pyra­mi­den or, for locals, fur­ther north) or to the east coast. The den­si­ty of moto­ri­sed traf­fic is inde­ed impres­si­ve on days in high sea­son (late March to ear­ly May), espe­cial­ly on wee­kends, but it is and remains a huge wil­der­ness and you will still find you silent spots if you are fle­xi­ble and know your way around a litt­le bit. The­re is also a huge area south of Advent­da­len from which snow mobi­le traf­fic is ban­ned in March and April to give non-moto­ri­sed out­door lovers a big, wild, beau­ti­ful and silent play­ground. You have to know the rules, the bounda­ry is not mar­ked in the field.

Tem­pel­fjord is stun­nin­gly beau­ti­ful. The fjord ice is not as reli­able any­mo­re as it used to be in the past (cli­ma­te chan­ge, may­be you have heard about it befo­re). The ice was good and solid in 2013 in Tem­pel­fjord (and else­whe­re). In 2014, the­re was hard­ly any nice and it was also mixed at best in fol­lowing years. 2018 was, howe­ver, a good ice sea­son again in the fjords, but the Sys­sel­man­nen deci­ded to ban moto­ri­sed traf­fic lar­ge­ly from the fjord ice in Tem­pel­fjord (and Bill­efjord and Rin­ders­buk­ta) from mid-April to late May to make sure Rin­ged seals and Polar bears are not dis­tur­bed from traf­fic during this time of years, which is important for both spe­ci­es for dif­fe­rent rea­sons (the seals give birth on the fjord ice and Polar bears are hun­ting to gain reser­ves).

Tem­pel­fjord (gal­le­ry)

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

Back to our tour in 2013. So, we fol­lo­wed the “clas­si­cal” rou­te, star­ting in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, whe­re the Trap­pers Trail dog sled race hap­pen­ed at the same time. The­re were ple­nty of seals on the ice in Tem­pel­fjord! Main­ly rin­ged seals. Chan­ces to see a polar bear are cer­tain­ly good under such con­di­ti­ons, but we didn’t see one that day (we saw them on other occa­si­ons – click here for a blog ent­ry with a stun­ning encoun­ter).

In 2013, the sai­ling boat Noor­der­licht used to be fro­zen in the ice in Tem­pel­fjord, the famous “ship in the ice”. They don’t do that any­mo­re, as the ice con­di­ti­ons have sim­ply not been reli­able enough in sub­se­quent years.

The gla­cier front of Tuna­b­reen at the end of Tem­pel­fjord is the sce­nic high­light of the tour, and a stop at Fred­heim, the famous hut of the legen­da­ry trap­per Hil­mar Nøis, is a plea­sant litt­le pil­grimage of local histo­ry. The­re are very inte­res­ting opti­ons for litt­le excur­si­ons here and the­re to add even more fla­vour, for examp­le up to the litt­le moun­tain Fjord­nib­ba for the stun­ning view, the can­yon-like val­ley of Bratt­li­da­len and the water­fall Eskerfos­sen, which is obvious­ly fro­zen during the win­ter. We did not do the­se excur­si­ons on that day in April 2013, but during other trips, so the links will open pages with pan­or­amic images from tho­se pla­ces.

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last modification: 2018-10-23 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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