BSES HQ receives expedition field updates weekly so check back every Monday to see what has happened in the week gone by.

Tuesday, August 4

Blog Entry

Written by: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Members: James O, James L, David, Rowan, Emma, Alex, Nahom, Will, Lucy

Expertly guided by Mark Hickman, the Funky Bunch stormed their way up Arctic Nusvag’s most foreboding glacier in a day. On the way to this remarkable triumph, “the Bunch” as they have become known in elite mountaineering circles bivied (slept outside) on three consecutive nights enduring the extreme wind and Arctic conditions. Respite from this was provided by the phenomenon referred to as “spooning.” When not scaling glaciers of daunting height the Bunch have been regaled and comforted by Fire Leader Mark’s stories of times past, most notably being detained for espionage activities in Communist Russia. Glacial activities have kept most of the group cold and moist for the duration of the expedition, notable exceptions being Rowan who to her delight has managed to stay hot and sweaty throughout. David, on the other hand has found to his embarrassment the adverse effects of the arctic chill. Hopefully this problem and his intimate chafing will be short-lived when he dons his “tell no lies” dry suit in the coming weeks. Will “Willy” Gibson’s outstanding architectural achievements notably a wall and a leaky dam have survived his ration pack induced gale force winds. Lucy’s androgynous dress sense has endeared her to “the Bunch”, her Y-fronts a special highlight. Emma’s impeccable climbing has been in evidence and the admiration of her Fire the whole week. James “choir boy” Leadill’s harmless persona displayed at the briefing weekend has metamorphisised into Nahom’s “Fruits of intensive labour”. Nahom’s selfless nocturnal habits have been in evidence on many an occasion on this trip, his “one down one to go” Black Man Sandwich policy has typified his efforts to raise the moral tone of the fire. Alex “washboard abs” Bennion’s pink BJ Borg boxers have aroused James’ considerable interest on several occasions, we’ll keep you updated… James “gag and bag” Oldham’s majestic and much speculated trips to the little boys Room have been nothing but “leg” or legend to me and you!

The other Fires will send blog entries later in the week.


Initial training complete, both the mountaineering and kayaking Fires set off for a one week expedition.

The mountaineers completed their move up to ABC and then pushed higher onto the moraine to bivy at 500m, just metres away from the ice of the glacial snout. Ice axe drills were carried out along with an introduction to crampon work and moving on a glacier. The entire team made it’s way up to the highest summit in Finnmark – a huge white snow dome on top of the ice cap – and, after three nights bivying, returned to base camp.

The kayakers set of on what was to be a 80 kilometre journey exploring the fjords east of our base camp area. This took them to remote areas and secluded beaches with wild camps. As company on this voyage of discovery they had numerous porpoise, otter, and the magnificent White Tailed Sea Eagle – an indicator of the remoteness of the environment and the riches of the Sea. Riches that would supplement the YE’s staple diet of ‘rat pack’. Science played a major part of the Sea kayak journey with over twenty drop camera stations completed recording sea bed data and rock pool biodiversity on behalf of the Norwegian Environment institute.

A real ‘mixed bag’ of weather meant that they experienced cold, wet, sunny and warm paddling conditions – each a challenge in its own right but in a land where it never gets dark (at least in the summer months!!) each took to this challenge in their own way and at their own pace.
Blog Entry:
Written by: The BBMT Crew (The Big Blue Mess Tent Crew)
Members: Emma, Clem, Lizzy, Holly, Danielle, James, Trou and Nathan

After a very early start at the airport, we met the people we’d be spending the next month of our lives with. Two planes, two coach journeys, a ferry and a hike later, we were pitched at base camp, thoroughly enjoying the twenty four hour daylight as we desperately tried to sleep. At some point the next morning, after a “brief” chat from Mike, we split into our separate fires, ours quickly to become the Army Tent, due to the military majority of our group. We quickly discovered our roles in the group, mainly Danielle, or as we fondly know her, “Action Barbie” who can gut fish, fell trees, cook gorgeous dinners of corned beef with beans, all with a full face of make-up. Lizzy, Guide Extraordinaire, not only showing herself to be the group’s pyromaniac, is also fantastic when it comes to fixing and building tents and things with little more than gaffa tape and a smile. James and Nathan ‘s speciality is doing exactly what they are told by the girls, and never fail to be impressed by the weather, even though it’s stayed the same for two weeks now. Trou, a ‘true’ gentleman, the true-bear of the group; will help out whenever and wherever he’s needed, and makes it look like you’re the one doing him a favour. He also caught fresh fish for us all week, but didn’t relish keeping them between his legs in the boat. Emma has kept everyone entertained in troubled waters with renditions of most Disney musicals. It really had to be heard to be believed, but it kept a smile on everyone’s face throughout the trip. Clem , the baby of the group, not only keeps a smile on everyones face throughout the day (after she gets her morning hug) has grown up, and is really finding her independence on this trip. And finally, Holly has won the hearts of everyone here, one in particular, but has also shown her tough and rugged side (Grrr!!). We have been so lucky with the weather, no-one can believe they will be going home with a tan, and I think we have all discovered a secret love for kayaking, some more secret than others. Particular high points of the week were, Emma diving into the water between kayaks during training, the Clem’s birthday midnight paddle to see the sun. Kayaking a full day of 15km, the daily Mars Bar and the stunning weather in the fjords. James falling asleep to wake up covered by the tide, and of course, the inspirational leadership of Mike and Geli. Get a brew on!

Week One Overview


The expedition started with a flight to Oslo followed by another to Alta, then a coach to Okfjord, a boat across the fjord, minibus shuttles to the road-head and a walk to base camp. Needless to say, day one was a long one.

After a day setting up base camp, four “Fires” (BSES terminology for groups) were set up and two each started the kayaking and mountaineering phases.

Mountaineers walked up the valley to an Advanced Base Camp (ABC) where they worked on rope skills to prepare for going up the glacier. Kayakers spent time at the bottom of the fjord working on their paddling skills, including cap size drills!

Monday, August 3

Norway Comms Check

Quick word from the field:

All well, starting phase 2. Big Blog written, will be uploaded as soon as possible.