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Trekking in Northern Norway in Midwinter

In possibly the world’s most extreme pub crawl, Kjell-Harald Myrseth and a friend set off on a 500km trek using skis, sleds and dogs to Alta, Norway. Inside the Arctic Circle in midwinter, they faced 21 hours a day of darkness and well-below-freezing cold during the month-long journey.

Although most people would avoid this kind of adventure, Kjell embraces these activities. He has always lived locally, has completed ten similar trips and had just finished his studies in Arctic adventure tourism.

It didn’t all go to plan though. Kjell’s friend had to drop out after the halfway point when he suffered frostbite in his toes. Then, when Kjell was just a day or two away from his destination, a hurricane strength storm blew in.

Kjell was unable to stand up and a tent would be ineffective but he knew the drill and crawled on the ground to build a snow cave for protection.

But this time the winds were reaching up to 140 km per hour and his cave collapsed after an hour. Although he could not even see his hands in the blizzard, Kjell built another cave. This too could only withstand the conditions for a short time.

Kjell had never heard of snow caves crumpling in this way. He realised his chances of survival were shrinking by the minute and he pressed the SOS button on his SPOT for the very first time despite taking the device on trips for many years.

Over the next two days Kjell built three more snow caves until there wasn’t enough nearby snow left to build any more – the wind had whipped it all off the ground.

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Dangling high up a tree with SPOT

Markus Huber

A keen hang and paraglider since 1983, Markus Huber bought his SPOT Gen3 for a trip to Australia in 2016. A Swiss national now living in Silicon Valley, Markus goes paragliding in Switzerland, Greece and France as well as California, generally in areas with poor mobile phone coverage.

In April 2018, Markus was back in Switzerland for a management conference and was lucky to squeeze in a day of paragliding before heading back to San Jose.

He met a friend at Niederwiler Stierenberg to fly towards Biel through the Jura Mountains. His friend took off first and Markus followed 15 minutes later.

The first thermals were easy and Markus took advantage of a good tailwind to get up a good speed. But he was too ambitious when flying along the leeside of a rim. Although there was rough air, Markus thought he was in control until his paraglider collapsed 80% on the left side. The remaining 20% of the wing immediately shot forward, twisting the lines.

At 200 metres above the ground Markus threw out his reserve parachute and seconds later found himself hanging 20 metres up in a tree.

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Surviving cruel weather in the Italian mountains

Franceso De Marco

As a naturalist and landscape photographer, Francesco de Marco often travels from his base in Italy to parts of the world with no mobile phone reception. He bought a SPOT Gen3 in 2016 after doing thorough research and reading reviews. Now, when he arrives somewhere for a shoot, he makes a point of sending a check-in message to the folks back home to say he is OK. His family and friends follow his travels as his faithful SPOT tracks his movements.

However in December 2017, Francesco found himself using SPOT in an emergency situation.

He was driving off-road, heading home with three others in the Apennine Mountains of central Italy about 100 km North East of Rome when the weather suddenly changed. They found themselves in a huge snowstorm and the temperature plummeted to -20 degrees C.

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Trapped by a storm near the summit of Mont Blanc

Vicente Sutil
Photo Credit: Nicolas Gantz

In 2017, Vicente Sutil, a professional big mountain skier, and two friends planned to ski down Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The aim was to hike up to the summit at 4,800 meters then spend a day skiing down to Chamonix at the base.

The three Chileans started hiking up the mountain carrying their equipment and the forecast was perfect. But when they were 500m below the summit, a localised storm appeared out of nowhere.

They were prepared for Mont Blanc's unpredictable weather and dug a hole with their shovels to sit out the storm. They set up probes outside the snow hole so they could be found even if the snow covered them completely.

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A rescue in remote Greenland

Phillip Pauli

Gabriel Gersch is a professional wilderness trekker at Outventurous but even when he is not guiding clients he spends half his life in remote locations under canvas.

In the summer of 2017 Gabriel spent three months in Greenland trekking across demanding landscapes where perhaps no human had ventured before. The first trek lasted three weeks, the next took four weeks and the final one was seven weeks’ duration.

A Belgian travel services company dropped food caches every few weeks as provisions for Gabriel and his various companions who joined him on different legs of his journeys.

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