#5: first full day
A faint aurora was followed by spectacular sunlit morning clouds. Early spring is a magical time to be in Svalbard, where the sun is not yet high enough to hit the valley floors, bathing only the mountain summits.
The first 24 hours of an Arctic expedition are always a challenge with anxiety about operating stoves, sleeping warmly, polar bears and slotting often emerging, and it’s to be expected. But the team is in a great space, none of them are novices and their experience is shining through already. As always it’s a truly international bunch - this time we have Brits, Americans, a Lithuanian and Aussie guides.
We covered 16km following the broad and flat Sassen Valley and are now camped at the base of Rabot glacier, on thick lake ice. Our ice screws and new augur to drill holes for our polar bear fence are getting a good workout.
Tomorrow we climb.