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Panoramas Billefjord Nord

Pan­ora­mas from the aban­do­ned Rus­si­an mining sett­le­ment of Pyra­mi­den are fur­ther down on this site.


Urm­s­ton­fjel­let is towe­ring high abo­ve its icy sur­roun­dings south of upper Nor­dens­kiöld­breen. This is the ama­zing view from its nor­the­as­tern cor­ner. In the west, you can see Bill­efjord and, if you look care­ful­ly, the Rus­si­an sett­le­ment Pyra­mi­den. The huge gla­cier Nor­dens­kiöld­breen is domi­na­ting much of the sce­ne­ry. In the east, it leads up to the ice cap Lomo­no­ss­ov­fon­na.

The impres­si­ve cal­ving cliff of Nor­dens­kiöld­breen in ear­ly May.

As so many of its kind, Nor­dens­kiöld­breen has retrea­ted in recent years and thus some small, rocky islets came out under the ice – again, as they had been ice-free befo­re and were cove­r­ed by the gla­cier during an advan­ce. The rocks are amongst the oldest known in Spits­ber­gen.

Fro­zen lake bet­ween Ragnar­breen and its morai­ne.

Hør­bye­breen nor­thwest of Petu­nia­buk­ta. The moun­tains the­re are amongst the most beau­ti­ful ones in Spits­ber­gen, inclu­ding the ciant stone spi­der Taran­tel­len. Geo­lo­gi­cal­ly, the area is also very inte­res­ting: the Bill­efjor­den Fault Zone, an important set of now inac­ti­ve geo­lo­gi­cal „cracks“, is well visi­ble the­re. Hør­bye­breen is in win­ter part of the rou­te to Pyra­mi­den, in sum­mer it is a pos­si­ble trek­king rou­te to Ålands­vat­net and Aus­t­fjord.

Upper Hør­bye­breen.

Petu­nia­buk­ta: Ebba­da­len

The incre­a­singly strong spring sun has mel­ted, or rather vapo­ri­zed, much of the snow here in lower Ebba­da­len on the east side of Petu­nia­buk­ta, giving way to a desert-like impres­si­on of spring in the arc­tic.

A uni­que bit of sce­ne­ry in inner Ebba­da­len, whe­re a water­fall is fro­zen solid in win­ter. Wide are­as of mir­ror-like ice cover the val­ley floor bet­ween morai­ne hills and gla­cier-polis­hed rock slo­pes.


This area in cen­tral Pyra­mi­den was a mea­dow of gras­ses from Sibe­ria, whe­re only child­ren and rein­de­er were allo­wed to roam until the sett­le­ment was aban­do­ned in 1998. The sign of the mining com­pa­ny and of cour­se Lenin are amongst Pyramiden’s most popu­lar pho­to objects. The Lenin bust is pro­bab­ly the nort­hern­most one of its kind, unless the­re is ano­t­her one some­whe­re in tho­se few parts of the Rus­si­an arc­tic which are even fur­ther north. I have been to the old sta­ti­on on Rudolf Island in nort­hern Franz Josef Land and I haven’t seen any Lenin the­re. Let me know if you know of any Lenin fur­ther north.

The ent­ran­ce hall of the cul­tu­re house behind the Lenin sta­tue.

The sports hall is also part of this sov­jet-style cul­tu­re house.

One of several rooms on the second floor of the cul­tu­re house.

The swim­ming hall is in a sepa­ra­te buil­ding not far from the cul­tu­re house, next to the open air sports are­na “Gaga­rin”.

Lar­ge room on the second floor of a house bet­ween hotel and cul­tu­re house.

A lar­ge buil­ding with accom­mo­da­ti­on for miners. Today, it is only inha­bi­ta­ted by Kit­ty­wa­kes that nest in the win­dow frames, making a lot of noi­se. You can also see hotel Tuli­pan (tulip).

Bar and restau­rant of Hotel Tuli­pan, not long after the re-ope­ning of the hotel in spring 2013. Not a bad place to spend some time: the ser­vice was sur­pri­sin­gly good and the food rich, but Rus­si­an style: don’t be sur­pri­sed about chi­cken and rice for bre­ak­fast. The pri­ces remind, howe­ver, of wes­tern capi­ta­lism, Lon­gye­ar­by­en-style.

Room in hotel Tuli­pan. Every room has its own toi­let. But the sho­wer is some­whe­re else and cos­ts 50 NOK extra.

The “bot­t­le house”

The famous “bot­t­le house” just out­side of Pyra­mi­den on the settlement’s wes­tern side (away from the fjord). One can only guess how much time it took them to get the buil­ding mate­ri­als rea­dy 😉 Said to be 5308 bot­t­les! The bot­t­le house was built in 1983.

Ygg­dra­sil­kam­pen 1

Ygg­dra­sil­kam­pen is the moun­tain on the sou­thern side of Mimerda­len, whe­re the well-known Rus­si­an ghost sett­le­ment of Pyra­mi­den is situa­ted. It is the long ridge which you con­stant­ly see as you look from Pyra­mi­den across the val­ley. An impres­si­ve moun­tain with a wide pla­teau with some pro­tru­ding led­ges. It won’t sur­pri­se you to read that the view from the­se led­ges is gre­at. The fact that the sun is com­ing from a good direc­tion for most views of inte­rest during mid-day and after­noon does not hurt eit­her. To the west, you can see the val­leys disap­pearing in the distance in beau­ti­ful Dick­son Land, you have got Pyra­mi­den more or less to the north or nor­the­ast and all the way to the east, you can see Bill­efjord and Nor­dens­kiöld­breen. All this tog­e­ther makes for qui­te an impres­si­ve pan­ora­ma! I hope that the panos on this page mana­ge to trans­port a bit of that impres­si­on.

Ygg­dra­sil­kam­pen 2

The „pro­blem“ is that you have to have to get the­re to enjoy the view. As a round trip from and to Pyra­mi­den, ascen­ding Ygg­dra­sil­kam­pen from Bill­efjord and descen­ding down to the val­ley in the west, it is almost 20 kilo­me­tres. You are clim­bing a net alti­tu­de of 583 metres. The ascent and descent are both qui­te chal­len­ging: steep slo­pes with lots of loo­se scree, that defi­ni­te­ly requi­res good con­fi­dence to move around in that kind of ter­rain. And you have to know the right spots whe­re you actual­ly can get up and down, most­ly it is just too steep!


By the way:

New book

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!


This and other publishing products of the Spitsbergen publishing house in the Spitsbergen-Shop.

last modification: 2017-12-27 · copyright: Rolf Stange