From Svalbard to Jan Mayen and Beerenberg - the arctic vulcano

68,800 NOK

juni 18 - 30. juni 2024

13 days

Right between Norway and Greenland you will find a tiny dot on the map. It is one of the most inaccessible islands in the entire North Atlantic: Jan-Mayen. This is the expedition for the most adventurous, which sets out to the westernmost outpost we have in Norway. Not only is this trip a unique and unusual sailing adventure, but we will also try to climb to the top of the mountain Beerenberg; Norway's only active and the northernmost volcano in the world!

This is a three-part expedition, where we will first cross the Barents Sea and the Greenland Sea from Svalbard to Jan-Mayen. Then we spend around a week ashore to see if we can reach the top of Beerenberg, before the trip goes back again to Longyearbyen over the sea!


During the voyage from Longyearbyen to Jan Mayen, we will really get a feeling of the open sea. It is impossible to know what kind of weather we will get, but we are sailing at a favorable time of year for this part of the Arctic, so we are hoping for good winds and calm sea, and as much time as possible on Jan Mayen. These will be adventurous days at sea where we will get to know each other well. Everyone on board is a participant and we all take shifts on watchkeeping, and if we’re lucky you might even spot some whales as you keep a steady course looking out for Jan Mayen in the distance. At this time of year we have full midnight sun and large parts of the day and night will be bright, which is always a good starting point for an adventure trip like this.


Upon arrival on Jan Mayen, we set up a camp as a starting point for exploration and discoveries on land, and for the ascent of Beerenberg which is our top priority - we will undertake this hike as soon as we have a suitable weather window! Jan Mayen is known for having over 300 days per year, since it is located in the middle of the sea. With almost a week on land, we will hopefully get the right conditions for the trip and our attempt at reaching the summit!


There are strict conservation restrictions in the Jan-Mayen Nature Reserve, which means, among other things, that we are only allowed to go ashore and set up camp in areas outside the nature reserve. That means our summit ascent must start from the beach where we have basecamp. The hike starts with an approach to the foot of the mountain, and is followed by Norway's longest uphill stretch, at over 2200 meters. As we climb, we eventually hit the glacier, which at first is a gentle snow slope, but towards the top becomes steeper. For the last hundred meters of height towards the top, we will tie into ropes. In clear weather, the view from the 2277 meter high peak is incredible!


The return to the base camp consists of as many kilometers as the trip to the top, and we will spend a minimum of two days together on the entire ascent, if we get all the way up. The trip to the top is not very technically demanding, but parts of the ascent go over glaciers where we use ropes, crampons and ice axes. The biggest challenge, however, is the length of the trip. We expect to spend at least 30 hours on the trip up and down, and maybe closer to two days. Due to the special protection regulations on the island, we do not have the opportunity to pitch a tent along the way.


As a tour organizer we take care of the logistics, and we provide all the common equipment needed for this kind of trip, both camping gear and glacier-crossing gear. You will still need to bring your own sleeping mat and sleeping bag, as well as other standard gear. When we arrive in Jan-Mayen, the first task is to get all the food, equipment and people ashore. We work as a team to establish camp, cook, and perform other practical tasks along the way. The boat will hopefully be available near the beach, so it may be possible to transport people and goods over when needed. The weather still determines whether it is justifiable to go back and forth between the boat and land, but we must plan under the assumption that this will not be possible. 


This is an expedition where several factors must play together for success: the weather is the biggest factor of uncertainty for both the summit hike and the voyage to Jan Mayen, but the group and each person's physical condition also play a part. In addition, technical aspects regarding the boat equipment need to work out. We will do our utmost to make sure that everything falls into place, but of course we cannot guarantee that we will reach the top.


Jan Mayen is no man's land. If someone gets injured, it’s not possible to just be picked up by helicopter, even if the Norwegian station there has some resources. Given where we are and the forces of nature in the Arctic, we take every precaution and prepare for a tough hike up and down the mountain.


From SailNorway we will be 2-3 skippers and crew, all good sailors, of which at least two of us will have solid experience from similar expeditions. In addition, we have a guide and expedition leader who is responsible for the trip on land.


It's not just any sailboat we use on this trip, but our 70-feet expedition boat Valiente. She is a very steady and comfortable boat built in steel, made for sailing in arctic waters. The boat is well-equipped and has a large outdoor area, a wheelhouse and a 360-degree-view lounge. For pictures and more info about Valiente see link here.


This expedition is, like our other longer trips, primarily a great voyage of discovery, but also an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about sailing and navigation, and not least using a boat as a starting point for discoveries and experiences on land. Are you ready for the late summer’s expedition to Jan Mayen?


The Arctic is a vulnerable area under pressure from people and climate change. In SeilNorge we are committed to taking care of the environment as much as possible and we believe that small boats with few people and little pollution and waste are much less harmful to the environment, climate and local wildlife, than larger boats and cruise ships. We also try to gather garbage at the places we visit, instead of leaving something behind. On Svalbard we follow AECO's guidelines for encounters with wildlife, beach cleaning, cultural heritage sites and for arctic operators. More about AECO's guidelines can be read here.

The best way to summarize my trip is to thank Sail Norway for a thoroughly WELL executed arrangement… Sail Norway, you deserve my highest recommendation - you should have such a trip every year!

Petter Bjørstad, participant 2019

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