Join a hike through Svalbard’s vast wilderness as we hunt for millennia-old fossils.
Discover the raw beauty of Svalbard on a guided hike to a glacier
Keep your eyes peeled for 60-million-year-old fossils hidden within the gravelly mountain beds
Learn more about the archipelago’s rich geological history
Summer (1 May – 30 Sep)
Level 4: Challenging - good mobility and fitness needed
At the head of the valley where Longyearbyen lies are two glaciers: Larsbreen and Longyearbreen. Over thousands and thousands of years, Longyearbreen has eroded the mountain beds, thrusting out rocks and gravel to create a large moraine that changes its face year after year. Here, in the surrounding mountains, we can find plant and animal fossils that are up to 60 million years old.
Our trip starts from Nybyen, Longyearbyen’s ‘satellite town’, where we bid farewell to civilisation and dive headfirst into the wilderness. There is no obvious path to follow as we make our way over the moraine area up towards the glacier. The terrain is quite stony and uneven underfoot, but the tempo is kept at an easy level, so we have plenty of time to look for fossils.
The mountains here, filled with old sediments from rivers and swamps, can be read like ancient books – if you know where to look. On Svalbard, scientists have found signs of life from a billion years ago, but most of the major fossils unearthed here are plesiosaurs from the Jurassic period. These marine reptiles could grow up to 13 metres long and weigh up to 3 tons, and would have sunk into the seabed when they died, where they have remained for millennia.
During the hike, we'll make a pit stop for a warm drink and some biscuits while soaking up the wild, ethereal beauty of the glacial landscape.
Languages: English and Norwegian.
Included: Warm drink and snack.
Clothing: Wear comfortable hiking shoes and clothes suitable for the weather on the day. We recommend guests bring a small backpack and hiking poles.