Travels

Experience the fascinating Arctic!

The Arctic is fantastic, and I would like you to experience it, too. I am happy if you are curious about the North or if you already share my passion. With me you find a competent and enthusiastic specialist advisor for your Arctic travels. It is a true pleasure for me to find a voyage for you that really suits you.

The voyages I am procuring are selected very thoughtfully: whether I have already made them myself as part of the expedition team or I know the responsible expedition leader or guides personally – I know the voyages from „inside“. For some of the voyages I will be joining as the expedition leader or guide.

This is why I can offer a hand-picked and constantly growing selection of voyages ranging from exclusive expedition cruises or easy tent trips to crossings of Greenland. Furthermore I can advise on expeditions at any organisational stage. Personal contact with my clients is very important to me. I do not only sell products, I want you to have an experience which will enrich your life forever.

Here you can read more about some of my journeys – please feel free to contact me for further information! birgit@birgit-lutz.de or +49 179 4534928

Sailing in the Ice – Voyages with SV Antigua

Voyages with SV Antigua

The Sea around us is calm. 25 people stand on deck, but it is silent. Nobody makes any sound, even the cook has stopped cooking, the motor and generators are switched off. The anchor is dropped. We wait. Then they come. A school of belugas. The SV Antigua is standing close to the shore. The white whales swim towards us; they are also called the „canaries of the sea.“ We hear now, why. We hear them sing, we hear them breath. Soon the Antigua is surrounded by belugas. They pass us, and then something amazing happens: They come back to us, start to swim inquisitively around our ship, to dive up and down the anchor chain. They look up to us. And then they disappear again.

SV Antigua is a so-called Tallship, a beautiful dutch sailing vessel which travels around Spitsbergen during the summer months – a unique experience. The SV Antigua hosts up to 32 guests. As often as possible sails are set, and you may, but you do not have to help with sailing. It is fun, though, to pull the ropes together! The small groups and several guides on board allow for both longer and shorter hikes. The Captain steers the ship in a way that makes unforgettable wildlife sightings possible, without disturbing the animals.

The voyages take 8 to 17 days, either along the west coast of Spitsbergen or around Spitsbergen. You live in simple but nice cabins. The season lasts from mid May to early November – with very diverse light conditions and therefore very different voyages – while you might be able to witness the aurora borealis at the beginning and the end of the season, in summer you will experience 24 hours of daylight during the polar day.

Adventure in Alaska – Dogsledding Camp with Brent Sass

Dogsledding in Alaska

The snow dusts around us, we go uphill, and you need to help your dogs: You push the sledge with one leg, so the dogs have less work, you need to watch out that they do not pull away the sledge, they are so strong, and they want to run all day. Breathless you reach the top, and now you need to hold on, because now we go downhill, and the dogs speed down the slope, with you hanging on. A day outside, in the Alaskan snow, in the wilderness, only the dogs and your group – and no other human sign. In the evening the warm tent, the steaming food, red cheeks and sparkling eyes – what else do you need?

At Galbraith Lake, about 500 kilometers outside Fairbanks (and 10 km away from the next road) you find the „Wild and Free Arctic Camp“, built by Brent Sass. Brent is the Champion of the famous Yukon Quest 2015 – and this specialist will teach you how to handle sled dogs: You get your own dog team for one week and an unforgettable mushing experience. Everybody cares for their dogs, feeding them and providing straw for the night. To thank you, the dogs pull you tireless through the amazing scenery of the Brooks Range. After every day out in the snow you return happily to your heated tent.

After the days in the snowy wilderness we return to the spring in Fairbanks – and from there you can go home or you continue to live another week in a cozy wooden house. From there you enjoy Kayak- and hiking tours and a visit to the Denali National Park – and in the end you have experienced the most beautiful sides of Alaska, the late winter and early summer.

Friluftsliv in Norway  – Hut trekking through Espedalen

The sun is standing low and we look across a vast white land, beautiful hills and mountains. In the middle of this wonderfully wild picture we see a hut. A small red hut with white window frames, our home for tonight. We ski further, happy about this day that we have spent outside in the snow, traveling in a team, sharing laughters and silence. We arrive at the hut and soon the small wooden building is heated up, turned into a fantastic and cosy stay for the night. Life could not be better!

In wintertime, Norway offers a huge variety of fantastic ski tours across the whole country. With Kuling Trekking I have a partner based in Oslo, who offers a limited amount of very well developed ski tours in various regions. Actually, going with Kuling Trekking is like going with friends, who just organize a little more! I met Christoffer and Paul during my skiing expedition across Greenland in 2013. They have lots of experience in the snow and love for the ice. We became friends and crossed the Finnmark in 2015 together. So I personally know these guys and can assure, you will laugh a lot during your time with them, and also be safe. In February they offer a hut-based tour through Espedalen, west of Lillehammer. It is a great ski trekking where you can learn lots about this adorable way of traveling, and you will stay in those cosy norwegian huts that seem right out of a picture book.

You will meet in Lillehammer and travel  jointly to Espedalen Sportell, where you stay one day for packing and getting acquainted with the back-country skis. The next five days you ski through the mountains of Espedalen,  from hut to hut. Day trips will take about 6 to 8 hours, in decent speed and with enough breaks to enjoy the experience. In the huts you will melt snow to prepare your hot drinks and meals, heat up the wood-fired stove and use candles to have a cosy night together.

The skiing ends in Espedalen Sportell, and the next day you travel jointly back to Lillehammer – unless you want to stay! 🙂 You travel in a small group of 4-12 people and the exact trekking route is dependent on weather and snow conditions.

For more informations contact me or check here: www.kulingtrekking.com

Greenland – skiing across the biggest island of the world

Crossing Greenland - the biggest island in the world

The morning is cold. We have broken camp, put our tired bones on the skis. The snow is hard, the sledge is hanging heavy on the hips, the skis sing over the sastrugi. Sunrays glisten hesitantly through the icecrystals in the air, the breath is steaming, your mask is slowly freezing. You warm up, with every step your blood is flowing more powerfully through your veins, it warms your muscles and soon you feel cozy under your protective outer shell. Your eyes wander to the horizon, white blue blue white. You are walking in a dreamland.

If you want to cross Greenland, you will experience the whole force of a land of undreamt beauty, but nothing is for free here. The monotony and vastness nibble at your inner strength, while low temperatures and a neverending wind challenge you. The rewards are countless moments of splendid beauty, in nature and in teamwork.

Whoever crosses Greenland, returns different.

The trip starts in Kangerlussuaq, where the sledges are packed. From there we drive with a Jeep-Bus to the ice edge, at Point 660. The ice builds up there in waves, and these waves we need to climb in the first days, during which we make only few kilometers progress. Depending on the snow and ice we go either with skis or crampons.

After several days the mountains disappear – we have reached the ice cap. Around Day 12 we reach DYE-2, the abandoned US radar station from the Cold War. After that we continue to the saddle, the highest point, and start descending towards the east coast. However, there is no such thing as an easy descent or downhill experience!

After about 560 kilometers or 25 to 28 days we reach a small hut near Isortoq. From there we have to go downhill for the last stretch and finally stand at the shore. If it is still frozen, we ski the last kilometers to the village. If the ice has already broken up, we use a boat to go to Isortoq. We spend one night in the local service house, before we fly with a helicopter to Tasiilaq. From there we contine to Kulusuk and via Iceland back south. I recommend a stay of several days in Tasiilaq.

90 Degree – to the North Pole with the IB 50 Let Pobedy

To the North Pole on board of 50 Let Pobedy

The ship is trembling, you hear a beat, a grinding, a crunching. The first ice. We run outside, where a new world opens for us: It is cold now; ice floes drift towards us in the golden evening light and light fog. We pass them rapidly, they look like bizarre white islands in a dead black sea. Soon the ice gets denser. And soon the rumbling and cracking will be the constant sound of our voyage, when the Pobedy works her way through the ice, for days and days. Until a polar bear is standing directly in front of us.

Yes, you can go by ship all the way to the North Pole. Until the Top of the World, the northernmost point. The ship for this voyage is the 50 Let Pobedy, a Russian nuclear ice breaker – an adventure in itself. 124 guests can join, all in outside cabins, normally the home of officers and crew. They move downstairs for the approximately five North Pole tours per year, from June to August. All guests meet in Helsinki and fly together to Murmansk. In the nuclear port the journey begins. Through the Barentssea we sail to Franz Joseph Land. These fascinating islands, discovered in 1873 by the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition under Julius Payer and Carl Weyprecht, belong today to Russia. Exciting exploration stories have happened here and you feel that not many people can come here – for decades Franz Joseph Land was restricted territory, and even today the Pobedy is one of the very few ships to be allowed to visit the islands. We land here with zodiacs and helicopter, and with some luck we see polar bears and walrus.

Then we continue to the North Pole, through the summer ice of the Arctic Ocean – and it is impressive to witness the strength and power of the 50 Let Pobedy. On the Pole we spend a whole day on the ice.