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Nottingham and the glacier – the sequel


Norway - Contensis (710x330)

In a land of icy glaciers and snowy mountains, an intrepid group of students face wild, untamed nature to complete a noble mission…

Last year, we brought you the tale of our Mountaineering Club’s expedition to the Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier in Norway. With funding from Cascade, our students prepared to visit the base camp of a 1959 Nottingham expedition and clear the remains to return the site to pristine wilderness. Now, we bring you the sequel to our saga - a story of goals achieved and a promise fulfilled.

Embracing the challenge…

It all began with a challenge, an adventure 50 years in the making. John Price (Civil Engineering, 1961), part of the 1959 expedition, explains: “In my first year, I joined an expedition to Tunsbergdalsbreen. It was a really memorable experience, encountering wilderness I hadn’t seen before. We expected to go back the following year, so we left a lot of equipment up there, but unfortunately the funding was terminated.

One of our objectives was to go back to the site and clear the debris we’d left, especially after the area became a National Park. Derek Daniels (Civil Engineering, 1961) and I made two previous attempts to get there – but we made the mistake of thinking we were still as fit, strong and agile as we were when we were 20! I realised we needed the support of a group of young, fit, mountaineer types, so I challenged Ben Prestwich (2014-15 Mountaineering Club President) to get us there.”

Embracing the challenge Ben and his teammates, accompanied by John and Derek, embarked on their mission in September 2015. Despite an unseasonable amount of snow in the region, and battling against wind and rain, the group were able to reach the base camp and successfully clear the site, fulfilling John and Derek’s ambitions to return to the camp and restore the glacier.

 Base 59 equipment

The story continues…

“It was a brilliant two weeks, it’s definitely been one of my highlights of being at Nottingham. This trip allowed the Mountaineering Club to connect with its history, and we’ve gained so many benefits and skills by being involved,” said Ben, 4th year physics student and expedition leader.

“As well as achieving our objective of returning the glacier to its natural condition, the expedition has also laid the foundations for future expeditions to Tunsbergdalsbreen. We’ve covered the logistical elements and gained the relevant experience within the team, so the next step of the project is to travel further onto the glacier’s accumulation zone to carry out new surveys, allowing the current state of Tunsbergdalsbreen to be compared to the 1950s surveys.

Thank you to all those who donate to Cascade – without you, we wouldn’t have been able to take part in this incredible expedition.”

If you’d like to find out more about Cascade, or support more projects like this to achieve amazing things, please visit:

Nottingham’s adventurous alumni…

John isn’t the only member of the Nottingham alumni community with an adventurous story to tell. In response to our article last year, many of you told us about your own expeditions.

John (Geography, 1959) said: “In 1957, the Geography Society ran a glaciological expedition to the Austerdalsbreen ice cap in Norway – I was one of the participants.”

Geoffrey (Pharmacy, 1949) said: “I led two expeditions from the University to Spitzbergen/Svalbard in 1957 and 1959. Our purpose was to take advantage of the arctic 24-hour summer daylight to study circadian/diumal rhythms in humans. We camped in a remote area of Spitzbergen backed by mountains and glaciers. The two expeditions were exceedingly successful and resulted in nine significant papers.”

Tell us your tale…

Do you have your own story to share? Perhaps you were part of an expedition while you were at Nottingham, or maybe you’ve gone on to an adventurous career after graduation? We want to hear from you – email to tell us your story.

Photos courtesy of Peter Bayliss, Nottingham Mountaineering Club Member

Posted on Tuesday 23rd February 2016

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