Ice cave tour with snowcat - Hurtigruten Svalbard
When you make your way down into the ice cave a frozen world appears. You can see 1000 year old remnants of frozen plants locked in the ice, surrounded by fantastic ice formations, narrow passages and large caverns. Hidden for all who haven't made their way into the deep, you can find the underworld of the glacier.
When you make your way down into the ice cave, a frozen world appears. You can see 1000 year old remnants of frozen plants locked in the ice, surrounded by fantastic ice formations, narrow passages and large caverns. Hidden for all who haven’t made their way into the deep, you can find the underworld of the glacier.
A magical winter wonderland
When you visit Svalbard, seeing a glacier is part of the experience. Around 60% of its area is covered with glaciers, and when visiting during the winter, there is a great chance that you will cross one by snowmobile or dog sled. Standing on the great, white surface it’s difficult to imagine the frozen wonderland that can be found beneath.
Ice cave under Longyearbreen
As the ice cave changes every year, it is always a surprise to see what formations the glacier has created for each new season. We travel by snowcat, which takes us up onto the ‘Longyear Glacier’, located just south of town. Longyearbreen is a landlocked glacier, filling the valley between two mighty mountains. A short drive will take us up to the glacier, giving us stunning views of Longyearbyen and the imposing Hiorthfjellet on the other side of the fjord. The entrance to the ice cave can be hard to find, but in the middle of the white landscape your guide will find the entrance and the stairs leading down to the magical world of ice and snow.
An underground world
We will equip you with a powerful headlamp, that lights up the ice in the narrow passage. Usually we can walk a few hundred metres into the cave before it closes, or becomes too difficult to follow. On the way it will sometimes open up with cathedral like rooms of snow and ice, with several metres up to the roof of the cave. The sight is spectacular!
The guide might ask you to turn off your headlights. It is certainly a unique experience to be in a space so dark that you can’t see your own hand just centimeters before your eyes.
Glaciers act as an enormous climate archives. Every year, new layers of snow will be stored and pressed together, as they sink into the glacier. If you drill a hole into the glacier, the layers will be seen like a timeline with the eldest at the bottom, and newest at the top. Scientists analyze air bubbles and particles for research, while we imagine a frozen dinosaur fossil down in the ice waiting for us to discover it! Hidden to most, the ice cave shows us a world of frozen wonders, and at the same time gives us a look into Svalbard’s climate history.
Back in to the outside world, the adventure isn’t over. Our trip to and from the ice cave goes by snowcat, a unique and fun vehicle which easily navigates up and down the moraine. We make time for a photo stop with stunning views over Longyearbyen, and you will also be served a hot blackcurrant toddy with biscuits. A perfect way to end your magical winter adventure!
- Warm clothes
- Although the snow cat is heated and the ice cave holds a “comfortable” minus 2 degrees cold and no wind, we strongly recommend warm clothing and shoes on this trip.
Our highest priority is safety, and the guide needs to be able to give directions in a language that you understand. To participate on one of our excursions, it is required that you speak and understand English or one of the Scandinavian languages.
Last updated: 06/23/2023
Source: Svalbard Reiseliv AS