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Hyttevika

Virtual tour of the trapper hut north of Hornsund

Hyt­tevi­ka as vir­tu­al pan­or­amic tour

Here a 360° tour of Hyt­tevi­ka:

Panotour-Hyttevika

Hyt­tevi­ka 1/5

The bay Hyt­tevi­ka is situa­ted on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen, not far from Horn­sund, just north of the ent­ran­ce. It is rea­son­ab­ly pro­tec­ted from the open sea by the small islands of Dun­øya­ne and a num­ber of litt­le islets and rocks fur­ther south. Many coas­tal rocks make this coast­li­ne very pic­tures­que, but also a bit dif­fi­cult to access. The­se are not Spitsbergen’s easiest waters for navi­ga­ti­on.

But Hyt­tevi­ka is one of Spitsbergen’s most beau­ti­ful spots. A nar­row coas­tal plain is stret­ching out bet­ween the shore and the rug­ged coas­tal moun­tains. This plain has many rocks, hills and lush green tun­dra. Litt­le auks are bree­ding in lar­ge num­bers under big rocks on the near­by moun­tain slo­pes.

Hyt­tevi­ka 2/5

Claus Ander­sen from Trom­sø built a hut in this sce­nic area in 1907. Becau­se of all the drift ice that used to come from east Spits­ber­gen with the cold cur­r­ents around Sør­kapp (the south cape) and into Horn­sund, the area had a very good repu­ta­ti­on to be a good hun­ting district for polar bears. Hun­ters inclu­ding Hen­ry Rudi, who later beca­me famous as isbjørn­kon­gen (polar bear king), win­te­red here. The hut is rela­tively long. Being more than 100 years old, it is amongst Spitsbergen’s most beau­ti­ful trap­pers huts. It was sub­stan­ti­al­ly res­to­red in 2016.

Hyt­tevi­ka 3/5

The ent­ran­ce hall gives access to a smal­ler room, used for slee­ping and sto­rage on the nort­hern side, and to the main room, used for – well, ever­ything. With 3 rooms, inclu­ding the ent­ran­ce, Hyt­tevi­ka is rela­tively spa­cious. Nevertheless, space was always tight, con­si­de­ring that equip­ment and sup­plies for a who­le year nee­ded to be stored.

Hyt­tevi­ka 4/5

It was espe­cial­ly lively in Hyt­tevi­ka in the 1930s. From 1930, Wan­ny Wold­stad from Trom­sø and her part­ner Anders Sæterd­al spent 5 sub­se­quent win­ters here. During two years, they were accom­pa­nied by Wanny’s two teena­ge sons Alf and Bjør­vik Jakobsen, then it was time for Anders’ two child­ren Emi­lie and Fre­de­rik to join. So they were living the­re with 4 per­sons lar­ge­ly in one room for three long win­ters! And in addi­ti­on, even the dogs were allo­wed to live in the hut with them at times. On top of it all, some­ti­mes the main room, which was the only one that was warm, had to be used to thaw up fro­zen polar bears for skin­ning and but­che­ring, some­thing that would take 2 or 3 days. It is easy to ima­gi­ne that space was a scar­se resour­ce then!

Wan­ny Wold­stad joi­ned Anders not as a house­wi­fe, but as an acti­ve hun­ter. She did a lot to keep things tidy insi­de, but she did just as much out­side, con­trol­ling traps, hun­ting polar bears even in the dark peri­od and joi­ning even the lon­gest and most dan­ge­rous trips. She was not afraid of anything and shared all duties of this busi­ness which was other­wi­se almost com­ple­te­ly domi­na­ted by men. She is tel­ling her sto­ry in her book Førs­te kvin­ne som fangst­mann på Sval­bard. Being a good sto­ry­tel­ler, she was famous in nort­hern Nor­way, when she died in 1959 – not kil­led by an angry polar bear, but hit by a lor­ry not far from home.

Hyt­tevi­ka 5/5

The time-hono­red hut in Hyt­tevi­ka is still more or less regu­lar­ly used, as it is just a good 12 km away from the Polish rese­arch sta­ti­on in Isbjørn­ham­na in Horn­sund. The Polish sci­en­tists are the­re more or less regu­lar­ly, both for rese­arch work and in their free time.

This is a good arran­ge­ment also in terms of con­ser­va­ti­on. In an old hut on Jan May­en, I found a note left the­re after restau­ra­ti­on work that says „Care­ful use is a good way of taking care of it – wel­co­me in!“

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last modification: 2019-04-22 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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