- Sir Ernest Shackleton
"This venerable mountain hotel in the tiny Norwegian hamlet of Finse, has become the new international melting pot for polar explorers. Since it opened in 1909, distinguished visitors include Roald Amundsen, Fridjoft Nansen, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and Captain Scott".
Hotel Finse 1222 is situated in the heart of the Hardangervidden mountain plateau, wind-blown and bathed in sunlight at the foot of the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier. Untouched, wild and beautiful, situated between national parks yet easily accessible by train. Finse 1222 is situated at the highest point of the Bergen Railway, 1222 meters above sea level. It takes 2.5 hours by train from Bergen and 4.5 hours by train from Oslo. Finse has a fantastic location, situated as it is between Hallingskarvet National Park and Hardangervidda National Park.
Tourism is the most important industry in Finse, but research into the untouched natural landscape also plays a key role. Finse is the southernmost place in Europe with an Arctic climate. The average temperature during the year is -2C, but the thermometer has plummeted to no less than -39.6C in the past.
Sir Ernest Shackleton used Finse to test various pieces of equipment and provisions for his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914 - 1917), notably the 'aero-sledge' was the most pioneering invention ever trialled at Finse. Since Finse's humble beginnings in 1909, giants such as Nansen, Amundsen and Shackleton have all used Finse due to its extreme environmental conditions.
The summer season at Finse extends from July to the end of October. During the summer, you can go on a glacier walk and explore Blåisen, an arm of the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier. The main activity during the summer is cycling along the Rallarvegen, this creates a great opportunity for expedition teams to bond together and increase physical fitness. Situated between two of Norway’s most beautiful national parks, Finse has grown to become a popular base for walkers too. There is a huge network of marked and unmarked walks in the area; if you like 'yomping' with heavy rucksacks, Finse 1222 will give you a good work out!.
Today this pristine landscape, combined with the weather, and local traditions create the perfect background for unique winter experiences. The main activities during the winter are ski-sailing, kitting, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, dog sledge excursions, pulk / man-hauling, and lavvo (Sami tent) camps. The surrounding area also allows for winter mountaineering, glacial travel, and ice climbing. All these activities combined with the local environment, create the ideal polar expedition training ground. Before any expedition proceeds North or South, it ought to train at Finse.
Click the NSB logo above to book your train tickets from Bergen (or Oslo) to Finse. Its easy!
Finse is home to the Alpine Research Center operated by the University of Oslo and University of Bergen. The Centre began its work in 1972, initially under the title of the High Mountain Ecological Research Station. The Centre hosts numerous workshops, conferences and research projects from both Norwegian and international institutions. It is part of the EU-funded International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT).
In March 1979 Finse was the place in which George Lucas chose to shoot the ice planet Hoth in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, because its chilling landscape matched the fiction.
The Shackleton Award
The purpose of The Shackleton Award is to honour outstanding expedition achievements which inspire today's explorers to new expeditions into unknown territories or conditions. The award will be presented annually to an expedition found to be "real and novel, un-motorized and within polar areas or conditions".
The first Shackleton Award was presented to Borge Ousland and Thorleif Thorleifsson for their world record voyage through climate change: 'The Northern Passage Expedition 2010'.
The award, a museum quality model of the James Caird lifeboat, is presented at 'Expedition Finse' every year on the occasion of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s birthday.
The Shackleton Award commemorates the achievements of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the men who accompanied him: “His expeditions and leadership qualities have inspired generations, and continue to do so today,” stated the organizers.
The Shackleton Award Committee consists of world acclaimed international explorers and scientists:
BørgeOusland, Norway (www.ousland.com)
David Hempleman-Adams, United Kingdom (www.coldclimates.co.uk)
Victor Boyarsky, Russia (www.norploex.com)
Thomas Ulrich, Switzerland (www.thomasulrich.com)
Bjørn Basberg, Norway (www.sght.org)
Nominations, including the reason why, can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org