An Expedition to Beerenberg -- Page 2

Text and photographs by Johan Hustadnes
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Thursday June 19 we started towards Beerenberg. We carried the skis on our rucksacks and spent this day walking to the old Met. station which is nowadays used as a hut. This walk was combined with filming remains from the whaling period.

Saturday we got up six o 'clock and started in the cloudy weather that is common at Jan Mayen in summer. We mounted our skis and walked into the clouds at 200 meters altitude, hoping we would get over them.

And we did!! Close to the beautiful Pallfy Crater we popped out of the clouds into perfect weather! Due to the clear arctic air the summit seemed very close, even though we had 8 kilometers and 1700 meters height left. We entered the glacier and walked to Birdkollen at 800 meters before we made a camp underneat a serac. The sun was warm and we spent some nice hours eating and relaxing. This photo shows the midnight sun in the Central Crater. The crater is 300m deep and 1000 meters wide. Occasionally steam escapes from the crevasses to the left. From the crater the Weyprecht glacier goes all the way to the ocean.

At six in the evening we started towards the top. The glacier is moderately sloped to the Nunatakken (a cliff) at 1500 meters, but at 1200 meters two of us stepped over a deep crevasse, and we realized that we had better use harnishes and a rope. At Nunatakken we made a good rest before we changed from skis to crampons and iceaxes. Above this point we had some problems finding a way through a labyrinth of crevasses. Most of them were narrow and we could take a long step or jump over them, others were bigger, forcing us to try new paths. As the glacier became steeper there were less big crevasses, but strange enough we now started to step through the smaller ones. We aimed towards a big cliff , but before we got there both Koos and Roland had fallen in to their waists. It wasn't much of a problem with the rope tight. Photo taken just above Nunatakken.

Above the cliff there were less crevasses and we got into the shadow of the crater. This made the snow covering the crevasses stronger. Now we were moving up "Bratthenget" (The steep side) and it was hard to walk. Anyway, the experience was unique. Further up we stepped through again. We aimed directly at the crater rim, but it occured to be difficult to cross the bergschrund. We walked on a shelf to the right and found a better place. Photo of Koos Van Rangedrooy at 2000 meters.

The bergschrund was about four meters wide, but the snow almost made a bridge, and we were able to climb over it, using our ice axes and then walk the last steps to the rim at 02 in the night. It was all quiet, and we could even feel a little warmth of the midnight sun! Roland Prinsen, Ton Biesemaat and Johan Hustadnes at the summit of Beerenberg.

The view was beautiful! To the South we could see the shadow of Beerenberg on the clouds, and the other mountains looked like a small island where they rose from the clouds which were 1900 meters below. Photo shows the view to the south of Beerenberg.

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