An Expedition to Beerenberg -- Page 3

Text and photographs by Johan Hustadnes
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In the crater, 300 meters underneath us there was a field of snow, measuring one km across. It is slowly moving through an opening in the crater, into the Weyprecht glacier, all the way to the ocean. No steam tonight. Above the opening we could see the midnight sun, colouring the skys yellow. We took a long rest at this point. I almost fell asleep, but it was a little too cold. Photo of Roland Prinsen, Ton Biesemaat and Koos Van Rangedrooy at the top, in the midnight sun! 02 AM.

Then we jumped the bergschrund and descended the same route to Nunatakken. At this time we were rather tired, and we made two breaks on our way down. The snow was frozen, so skiing down the beautiful slope became a test of patience. We arrived the camp at eight o'clock, Sunday morning. There was only place for three in the tent, so I dug a hole in the serac. From the sleeping bag I could see Beerenberg to the right, and the other mountains rising above the clouds to the left.

We got up Sunday at 1 p.m. The weather was still nice, so we just enjoyed our situation until 4 and then started descending. We skied into the clouds at the Pallfy crater and followed our tracks downwards. When we had almost reached sea level, close to the Northern lagoon, Koos was unlucky and had a nasty fall. We thought the ancle was sprained (it was broken) and discussed calling for help on the radio, or going to the Old Met. station, where he could be picked up by boat. In the end, Koos forced himself to walk the three kilometers to the first possible pick up point. Koos used about an hour on this painful walk. At nine o'clock we were finally picked up by a Mercedes Jeep and transported directly to the midsummer party on a beach. There we were welcomed with drinks, speeches, and so on. The bonfire wasn't burning well, so more lumber was transported from the beach with a bulldozer, before diesel was added in the same way. After enjoying the party for a while we got a shower, Koos was taken care of by the nurse, Mildrid, and I went to work.

Koos had a very unpleasant sailing trip back to Bergen Norway, and then he spent 7 weeks with his leg in plaster, before he could start recovering. For me it was a great experience to join this fine group. Lots of thanks to them!

The 12 of August the staff at the station made it's attempt. We got up at 03 in the morning and started at 05.30 from a hut called Ulla. We had a long, but nice trip to Nunatakken, in this summers hottest days, (13 centigrades at sea level) even thou 40 knots wind was heavy to walk through. Above Nunatakken there were even more crevasses, and we realised we were takinga big risk. Anyway we had made a good attempt, and we got to see Jan Mayen from a new angle.

I also have to mention that living on a place like Jan Mayen for six months was an experience I would not miss.

VolcanoWorld thanks Johan for sharing his experience and his photographs.

Click HERE for more information on Svalbard and Jan Mayen.

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