We have just received this report. By Sam Marsden, Press Association Chief Reporter
A polar bear has killed one person and seriously injured four others from a British tour group visiting the Arctic, it was reported today.
The tragedy happened this morning about 25 miles from the town of Longyearbyen in the Svalbard islands, which are part of Norway, according to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. The bear has been killed and the four wounded people are being flown to the mainland, NRK reported.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: `Our embassy in Oslo is urgently looking into reports of an incident in northern Norway.'
Irish North Pole Expedition 2012:
News item 2 DEATH Bear
Liv Asta Odegaard, a spokeswoman for the Governor of Svalbard, said:
`We got a call via satellite phone from a British group of campers that there had been a polar bear attack and that one person was dead and that others were injured and they needed assistance. 'There are no roads in the area of the Von Postbreen glacier where the incident happened so we scrambled a helicopter 'She added that four other people had been 'severely injured' and had been taken, first, to hospital in Longyearbyen and that air ambulances would be flying the injured on to University Hospital in Tromso. It is not known how many were in the party or whether they were on an organised tour or travelling individually.'
Date time:051146 AUG 11
News item 3 DEATH BEAR
Earlier this year the Svalbard Governor issued a warning about polar bears after several were seen close to Longyearbyen.
People who spotted bears were asked to telephone a special number. The Governor reminded the public that under local regulations it was prohibited to seek out and disturb polar bears and that obvious
violations of this rule could be punished by fine or jail.
Date time:051153 AUG 11
In Memory Of Ger McDonnell and Rolf Bae: This week we remember our good friends Ger McDonnell and Rolf Bae who died on K2, August 2nd, 2008. From their family and friends we have lost two great lovable people. Our thoughts are with their families.
Thoughts of Ger and Rolf:
I just can't believe that three years have gone by since Ger McDonnell and Rolf Bae have passed away on K2. This has had a huge effect on my thinking of the risks we take, especially when it goes to those that we leave behind and our families in particular. Yet we as adventurers would not be who we are unless we follow our dreams and passions. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those that we love that understand the passion that we have or had as adventurers. This week I celebrate all the good memories of working, climbing and adventuring with two of the most gentle climbers I have known. I think about their families and how much they miss them. I have lost 14 friends on high altitude mountains over 8,000 meters, but none has effected me as much as the death of Ger and Rolf. They are gone to a more heavenly place, they are missed and yes their memory continues on in those of us who knew them. May they R.I.P and never be forgotten.
Trip: Norway Winter Skills
Altitude: 2,000m/6,562ft max. mostly around 1,000m
Date: February through August
Duration: 8 Days total - 6 Days training
Grade: Trek/Climb/Exp – Beginner/Intermediate
Price: Please contact us for prices
Norway has over 1600 small and big glaciers. In order to be able to cross a glacier you need to know the basic skills of operating on what can appear as a frozen ocean. We take you to one of the most beautiful national parks in Norway, Jotunheimen. The glaciers of Jotunheimen are famous for their beauty and wildness and we will operate on some of these during this week. You will follow a certified glacier course and by the end of the week you will have been introduced to the skills that you need in order to operate on your own as part of a team on a glacier.
The aim of this trip is to train you to trek in winter conditions and cross a glacier safely as a group using snow-shoes and roped together if necessary. The basics of tents, cooking, snow-shoes, crampons, ice-axe arrest and crevasse rescue will be covered first to ensure you can maximize your experience while out in the hills. You will be sleeping in tents on the snow and should get to see some stunning scenery while also taking in some basic climbing. You will be carrying 16-20kgs packs for at least 3-4 days, so be prepared as snow-shoeing is very demanding. Average temps on the course will be +15C day to -10C at night approx. with wind chill changing all the time. Once comfortable with these skills it becomes great fun and a fantastic trip.
Grade: Trekking - Moderate (Strenuous for some)
The Winter Skills Courses are considered a follow on from general hill-walking, trekking or moutaineering. A good level of fitness is required. Please discuss this progression with us if you are a total beginner prior to booking this course. For more info on this Expedition Skills and day walks, go to our Irish Training Section. If you are a total beginner to walking/hillwalking then a 12 month training program is recommended and would require notifying us prior to booking this course. A person looking at this course will already be able to trek comfortably with a medium to heavy backpack for at least 2-3 consectuive days.
Please contact us for prices
Our Norwegian Guides are all UGM registered and have real world experience in preparations for alpine climbing, glacier traverses, expeditions to Polar regions and expeditions requiring winter survival experience. They are all highly motivated and love the outdoors and why wouldn't they with the excellent conditions on their doorstep. They are fluent in English and can provide additional information and techniques during the course.
Here is a sample daily itinerary, on booking you will be issued a more detailed version. We can also customize the itinerary to your needs if required.
- Arrive at destination, transfer to lodge, dinner and lodging
- Briefing, then training for 6 days
- Final evening de-brief before we eat a dinner and lodging then transfer to airport
Preparation - The Winter Skills Courses are considered a follow on from general hill-walking, trekking or moutaineering. A good level of fitness is required. Please discuss this progression with us if you are a beginner prior to booking this course. For more info on this Expedition Skills and day walks, go to our Irish Training Section. If you are a total beginner to walking/hillwalking, then a 12 month training program is recommended and would require notifying us prior to booking this course. A person looking at this course will already be able to trek comfortably with a medium to heavy backpack for at least 2-3 consequtive days. Two days walking back to back twice giving 4 days total. Example: Saturday 7hr & Sunday 6hr = 13hrs walking. Avoid injuries at all costs!
You will need a valid full passport, please ensure it has at least have six months before expiringprior to your departure.
For general wear in travel: cotton pants, t-shirts and if you have light thermals or casual clothes these will be ideal.
Plastic boots or good pair of full shank leather boots, Plastic boots are a warmer boot and highly recommended for the cold.
4 screw gate, 2 snap gate carabiners
One belay device - figure of eight or modern belay plate
2 Prusiks - 6mm-cord 3 meters long for cutting, these can be made up by the guide
2 x 6 foot sling
Good fitting crampons please make sure they fit before going on trip
Walking Ice Axe with hand strap
Four pair of warm trekking stockings. (Thorlo, lorpen, bridgdale or similar)
Adjustable trekking/ski poles: These are required and have to have snow baskets attached on the ends.
Thermal under-wear heavy gauge: 2 Tops and 2 bottoms. Dryflo etc.
1 fleece or pile jacket. Windproof is good.
Wind and water proofs (Gortex or similar): Top jacket and bottoms.
Sleeping bag range to -10/20 degrees make sure it packs small.
Also for sleeping it is important to bring an insulating sleeping mat. I usually bring a Thermarest full-length non-slip. There is insulating mattresses provide on trek but for extra comfort bring a Thermarest.
2 x Ltr of Water - 1 Water bottles with wide neck and 1 with narrow neck (Nalgene or similar) or one Platypus container or Thermos Flask.
Gloves: 1 pair of thermal and 1 pair over gloves or mitts, no harm in bringing spare sets.
Headtorch, Petzl or similar with spare batteries and bulbs. I cannot stress the importance of this to have in good working order. (New LED versions are also lighter and smaller)
Peak hat to protect your head from the sun. (bandana or neck gaiter also)
Ruck sack 30 liters daypack for travelling to carry your camera, food and day time gear. (Some items can be stored out in the mountains)
65-80+10-15 liters expedition rucksack
Optional for night up high for cold, a light down top or extra fleece.
Personal first aid and medicine kit. (All our guides will have one for emergencies only)
UV sunglasses – Cat. 3 or Cat. 4 recommeded if there is a lot of time in or near snow.
2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime.
Sun-block (very important and use it!)
Backpacking towel and general toiletries.
Extra Clothes for travelling and/or socialising.
4 lads headed off to Norway on our last winter training session for this year. Bjorn picked them up and headed North to Jotunheimen National Park, 6-7 hrs away.
In stunning landscapes they went through their gear learning to snow-shoe, crampon, self arrest, crevasse rescue while hiking and camping across and glaciers and also up some 2,000m snow caps.
Mark Keenan described a great week and said the only thing that slowed them down was the intense sun early in the week and mist toward the end. They all had a great time, thanks Bjorn.
John Ward, Mark Keenan, Ken Delaney and Joe Ward.
photo:Fram Expeditions AS
The team have headed out to Finse in Norway once more to get some training in on kites and skis from Ronny Finsås.
Pat is equipped with Exweb Contact software on his iPaq which he will test using the Iridium Sat phone to update a test page on the website. All going well we will be training all team members how to update the website themselves every day with a report and image, sound clip or video clip.
With the logistics taking up a lot of time at the office getting everything ready and checking all scenarios for Greenland and the South Pole this year, skiing is a skill that needs to be second nature on these trips.
Pat and Shaun headed out in blizzard conditions to Sirdal where they were instructed by their new team member Dave Bolger whose father is Irish. Dave has vast experience in ski training and will be getting the lads up to speed over the coming months.
We have week long courses available in 6th - 13th June. Further details are available from the expedition office.
Ring now 064 44181 - Places going fast!!
Winter Skills Beginners/Intermediate Would you like to learn crampons, Ice axe, roping together, Snow-shoeing, Snow holing and Winter survival skills. Taking in some climbs, glacier crossings in beautiful surrounds. This is the course our South Georgia group had to complete for our expedition last November and is a fantastic course located in Norway.
Suitable for hillwalkers moving on to snow and ice environments, like the Alps, Elbrus, Aconcagua, South Georgia, even Denali and more...
Please visit our gallery to see some great images of previous expeditons and training..Gallery
Pat, Clare, Shaun Menzies and Dave Bolger are out in Norway to train for Greeenland in August. They left Ireland on Saturday and flew to Oslo, then on to Bergen finally staying in Finse where the depart as soon as they get all equipment ready for a 300km heading South toward Sidal.
The skiing trip will involve pulling full sleds in preparation for Greenland which they hope to traverse in August.
Meanwhile back at base, we are organizing communications and solar equipment to ensure a secure system for them to recharge Satellite phone, GPS, Ipaq, Mp3 and cameras.
We are also testing a bullet video camera to be used in extreme conditions while on the move attached to ski goggles or the sled. They will also have a HDV camcorder for documenting their thoughts as they go and doing landscapes in good conditions.