Less than three weeks until we travel to Svalbard, for our high-Arctic ski-and-sail expedition under the midnight sun.
It’s been a schlep, figuring out guns, permits, travel docs, etc. Tom Wolfe--my co-guide and owner of Sawback Alpine, based in Canmore, Alberta--should be bringing me a 12-gauge shotgun. He’s opting for a rifle, but as I’ve shot fewer than 20 rounds through any kind of rifle, I’m sticking with a shotgun.
My “sore shoulder” comes in because of this. A good buddy of mine is a former US Marine Corps Recon sniper, so I begged him to dial my nearly skilless shooting a bit. Almost 150 rounds later, I’m *maybe* a tad better with the gun. I woke up the morning after our range session feeling like a mule had kicked me in the shoulder, though. Way to go, tough man.
Just like avalanche rescue and crevasse rescue, I’m going with TOTAL AVOIDANCE of polar bears. I’d love to see one, or a mom and cubs, from the boat, but man, the last thing in the world I’d want to do is have to shoot (at) a polar bear.
That said, the boat captains are careful and we’ll land with good sight lines and the proper caution. We can focus on the skiing, for the most part!
We’ll be ski-touring out of Longyearbyen for three days before boarding the Noorderlicht on May 22. Despite a quick warm up here in Colorado, there are still ice climbs to be done and it’s currently snowing pretty well here in Boulder (5600ft; 1700m). Spring!