#9: Final day

2024-03-24 05:58:36am
With our bus pickup at Camp Barentz only 14km away we enjoyed an hour sleep-in and decided to finish the expedition today. With every objective completed and the planned final camp only 4km from the pickup there seemed no point in enduring another frosty night and all agreed to head back to Longyearbyen for a well-earned celebratory dinner and drinks. It dropped to -27 overnight, just to keep things consistent, yet somehow it felt quite warm as we packed camp - we really have acclimatised to the cold. From our camp next to a frozen lake we meandered down a tight canyon into the wide expanse of Janssondalen (valley). With the mountains obscuring the sun much of the route was in shade but a swift pace kept us warm and we finally spilled into Adventdalen, lunching in view of Longyearbyen. The ski to Camp Barentz took us past grazing reindeer that barely gave us a glance, they are all but domesticated in this busy valley. We arrived at 3.30pm having covered 104km of spectacular terrain including 6 major valleys, 2 mountain passes, an icecap and 4 glaciers. A trip such as this, with temperatures consistently in the -20’s and sometimes nudging -40, comes with risks and Mardi and I were mindful of these every step of the way. To stay in the field we needed a team that could respond precisely to our guidance and each participant did exactly that, returning with numb fingertips, a trove of memories and a bank of skills that will take them onto their next polar mission, should they decide to choose it! Photo: skiing through the canyon Group photo: from right, Mardi, Alex, Jean-Luc, Arthur, James, Isa, Ed and me, at Camp Barentz.
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