Oops… Velkommen til Svalbard!

Okay, so I can be REALLY bad at keeping on top of my online admin, or at least in not publishing it. I do actually have a lot of content from the last 6 months, but just never published it, life and work does get in the way and my expedition and polar work is purely a side project for now… I will admit though, I am starting to find the online world tedious and one I wish to move away from a little, but I know I need to keep my social media going as it really does help me connect with people and help me get funded, which is the most important piece of this whole #LastPole puzzle I wish to slot in to.

So, I’ll dive right in, I was able to slip in and out of Ice Warrior training last year, mostly core skills of navigation and tent craft, to simply top up. Then, I bit the huge polar bullet and started out January jumping on a plane to Norway, then Svalbard to complete both basic and advanced polar survival training and it was awesome. It left a true mark on me and I feel like I left something of myself in the Arctic region I hope I can revisit time and time again over my life time. I’ll break this down into two posts, week one as basic and then a follow up with week two of advanced – including the training expedition.

Week one saw us move straight into an intense theorised training mixed in with some heavy skiing with pulks, every morning. We did go into the field to cover storm proofing, survival if tents went missing or failed but the majority was based around getting to grips with the much needed theory.

We undertook an array of tasks in physical and classroom;

  • Pulk packing and pulling
  • Stove work and maintenance
  • GPS and route planning
  • Skiing, fitting and maintenance
  •  Rifle and bear gun awareness
  • Pulleys and rope work, including securing ropes on ice and knots
  • Storm proofing tents
  • Snow holing and digging for survival situations

It’s all incredibly important and a lot to take on board, I can’t stress enough how intense this course is and you need to keep up. But it was worth it (check out the cover photo, we were treated to the northern lights nearly every night we were out practising – taken on a Galaxy S8 so excuse the resolution) I highly recommend the course if you are up to it and fancy something different – it’s NOT an adventure holiday. It really is vital training and knowledge in these harsh conditions.

So, the coolest part being the northern lights outside of the actual training, the other being that I was able to complete, comfortably, the entire time in vegan and synthetic gear on week one and it was good. I have linked my interview with Jess from the Vegan Adventurist to show what I had… I actually had to get some emergency kit from BASECAMP in Dartmoor as my Brenig stuff didn’t arrive in time, no drama, as the Montaine synthetic downs and jacket worked a treat. I also didn’t get the right socks, but I will go into more detail on the week two break down blog, which is the most interesting part.

Check out the list though… https://www.adaptnetwork.com/veganadventurist/guide-to-extreme-cold-weather-clothing-gear/

The article notes about the gloves and socks, a few glitches saw some emergency measures on gloves but its still an accurate one so far. Hope we can update it ASAP. Give Jess a follow too! Her knowledge and research helped bring together a triangle setting out some of the kit I was lacking, I always said down and leather were not an option and managed just that.

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