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Home* Pho­tos, Pan­ora­mas, Vide­os and Web­camsSpits­ber­gen Pan­ora­mas → Blomsterd­als­høg­da: Trøn­der­gru­va

Blomsterdalshøgda: Trøndergruva

Mountain hike and mining history near Longyearbyen

Blomsterda­len is a litt­le val­ley on the north slo­pe of Pla­tå­berg near Lon­gye­ar­by­en, behind the air­port.

Pano 1: Blomsterd­als­høg­da, view into Blomsterda­len

This group of cairns, situa­ted in about 200 metres alti­tu­de, is easy to reach and has a fine view over Advent­fjord. A nice desti­na­ti­on of an easy litt­le moun­tain hike. From this side of the ridge, we have the view into Blomsterda­len which is com­ing down from Pla­tå­berg.

Blomsterd­als­høg­da, the “Flower val­ley height”

Blomsterd­als­høg­da trans­la­tes as “Flower val­ley height”, and inde­ed, the­re are various flowers here and the­re. We spent some time fiddling with the came­ras, try­ing to get good images of the flowers by using the focus stacking tech­ni­que. This invol­ves a seri­es of pho­tos, each one taken with a slight­ly dif­fe­rent focus, and then com­bi­ning the pho­tos later to an image with incre­a­sed depth of field.

Arctic mouse ear chickweed, Blomsterdalshøgda (focus stacking method)

Arc­tic mou­se ear chick­weed (Cer­as­ti­um arc­ti­cum) on Blomsterd­als­høg­da.
This image was made with the focus stacking tech­ni­que to incre­a­se the depth of field (com­pa­re to the con­ven­tio­nal pho­to below).

Arctic mouse ear chickweed, Blomsterdalshøgda

Arc­tic mou­se ear chick­weed on Blomsterd­als­høg­da. Con­ven­tio­nal pho­to with much less depth of field than the image abo­ve with is made with the focus stacking method.

Blomsterd­als­høg­da: moun­tain walk and mining histo­ry near Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Blomsterd­als­høg­da is a ridge on the east side of Blomsterda­len. If you start wal­king from the road to the air­port, whe­re the way to Mine 3/SvalSat bran­ches off, then the hig­her part of the ridge can easi­ly be reached wit­hin an hour. It is cer­tain­ly not a big full day hike and not the most exci­ting moun­tain walk in the vicini­ty of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, but that doesn’t mean that it does not have anything to offer.

Pano 2: Blomsterd­als­høg­da, view over Advent­fjord

Clo­se to the loca­ti­on of pan­ora­ma 1, but a few metres over to the other side of the ridge so we have the view over Advent­fjord, with the air­port and the cam­ping place and Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Advent­da­len.

But the­re is one par­ti­cu­lar aspect that makes Blomsterd­als­høg­da uni­que, espe­cial­ly for tho­se inte­res­ted in the mining histo­ry of Spits­ber­gen. In about 250 m alti­tu­de, the­re is an old mine ent­ran­ce. Befo­re I for­get to men­ti­on it: old coal mines are life dan­ge­rous and should abso­lute­ly not be ent­e­red, not just becau­se of the dan­ger of fal­ling rocks, but also – main­ly – becau­se of gas that may leak out from the coal seam.

This mine may be unim­pres­si­ve at a quick glance, but it is one of Spitsbergen’s oldest coal mines and it was the very first one in the Lon­gye­ar­by­en area. This is whe­re it all star­ted! 🙂

Pano 3: Trøn­der­gru­va

A cou­p­le of metres below the actu­al mine ent­ran­ce.

Ear­ly coal mining in Spits­ber­gen: Bohe­man­nes­et and Advent­fjord

The first attempt to mine coal for com­mer­cial pur­po­ses is usual­ly asso­cia­ted with Søren Zacha­ri­as­sen who extrac­ted 600 hl of coal at Bohe­man­nes­et, which you can actual­ly see across the fjord from Blomsterd­als­høg­da. But that was a short-lived enter­pri­se, it was aban­do­ned after just one sea­son.

Only two years later, ano­t­her attempt was made in Advent­fjord, and this attempt was to be more long-living. In 1901, a com­pa­ny from Ber­gen in Nor­way star­ted tri­al mining at Advent­fjel­let (today known as Advent­top­pen), on the north side of Advent­fjord, oppo­si­te the air­port. No more than 5 tons of coal were extrac­ted. The work at Advent­fjel­let was con­ti­nued in 1903 and a mine cal­led Advent City was ope­ra­ted at this site from 1904 to 1908 by an Eng­lish-Nor­we­gi­an mining com­pa­ny.

Hen­rik Næss and the Trondhjem-Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni

Mean­while, word was sprea­ding in Nor­way that mining in Spits­ber­gen might be the next big thing. Skip­per Hen­rik Næss from Trond­heim sent a cou­p­le of peop­le to occu­py “any coal field” that might be avail­ab­le. The group sett­led at Hotell­ne­set, not far from whe­re the air­port is today, and inves­ti­ga­ted the coal occur­rence on the north slo­pe of Pla­tå­berg in the area of Blomsterda­len. The results were found pro­mi­sing and Næss foun­ded the Trondhjem-Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni. The litt­le mine that was estab­lis­hed on Blomsterd­als­høg­da is now known as Trøn­der­gru­va, after the part of Nor­way whe­re Trond­heim is loca­ted.

Trøndergruva, Blomsterdalshøgda

View into Trøn­der­gru­va on Blomsterd­als­høg­da.

Pano 4: Trøn­der­gru­va

The ent­ran­ce of Trøn­der­gru­va: the first coal mine in the area of Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

John Mun­ro Lon­gye­ar and the Arc­tic Coal Com­pa­ny

The Ame­ri­can John Mun­ro Lon­gye­ar had visi­ted Spits­ber­gen for the first time 1901 as a crui­se ship pas­sen­ger. He got sam­ples of the coal at Pla­tå­berg, foun­ded the Arc­tic Coal Com­pa­ny and bought the coal field from the Trondhjem-Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni. In 1906, Lon­gye­ar went ahead with his Arc­tic Coal Com­pa­ny and star­ted mining in Advent­fjord. For his new mining sett­le­ment, he did not use Hotell­ne­set near Blomsterda­len, but the val­ley on the east side of the moun­tain, today known as Lon­gye­arda­len. The rest is histo­ry.

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last modification: 2021-05-19 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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