The Hike to Trollsteinen across the Lars Glacier is quite an adventure. This strenuous hike is recommended only for experienced hikers. Be sure you are in a good shape to conquer the steep terrain and arrive to Trollsteinen, the Troll Rock, 850m above sea level. There you will have a 360 degrees view of the surroundings.
We booked this hike at the Spitsbergen Travel website. At the day arranged the guide picked us up at the hotel at 9AM. He brought his rifle and his dog for protection against polar bears.
In Svalbard everyone carry a rifle for protection. It’s not advisable to wander far alone and unarmed. Even though polar bear encounters are rare, they are deadly.
The hike started at the Longyear Valley and crossed the moraines where we found the tundra vegetation with its delicate flowers. We went up until we reached the Lars Glacier and that’s where it started to get challenging. In summer, the soft mushy snow makes walking a difficult task. On every step we took our feet sank deep into the snow, sometimes up to the knees. The snow entered our shoes and melted because of the warm of our feet. The result is wet feet and heavy shoes full of water.
When we reached the top around 1PM we made a quick stop for lunch. Our guide gave us sandwiches and a delicious hot berry tea. There was no dry place to sit but we were all wet anyway. By that time only one guy still had his feet dry — he was wearing gaiters. My socks were soaking wet! Following the guide’s lead we all took off all shoes and wrung our socks out. After eating our lunch we quickly started to feel cold and we need to start moving again.
The descent was much easier and I had more time to take pictures. It’s a strange feeling hiking in cold. Our body produces warm and we start to sweat but as you’re wet by your sweat you start feeling cold. That’s why it’s so important to wear breathable windproof clothing.
The proper clothing is: fleece coat, windproof jacket, windproof pants and goretex trekking boots. Don’t wear a heavy coat. As soon as you start walking you will begin to sweat even if it’s 0 °C outside. The most important thing is to choose your shoes carefully. It’s a good idea to wear gaiters and to use trekking poles. Don’t bring a heavy backpack. Bring only the essentials.