15-Mar-2004 -- After the visits to N78E16 and N78E15 we drove back towards Semmeldalen in beautiful weather, then as we dropped down into Passdalen we got enveloped by fog so dense that it was very hard to see the trail just in front of us. We drove very slowly through this area, alternating the leading/trailfinding job, but as we got lower into Grøndalen, the fog got lighter, and as we got close to Grønfjorden we could see the sun shining through onto some of the surrounding mountain tops.
This was very fortunate, since we had to leave the trail system at this point to cross Grønfjorden and look for a way up the Heftye glacier. After some backtracking, and a couple of places where we thought we had to start skiing, we finally made it to within 500 m of the confluence. We got off the snowmobiles intending to ski the remaining distance, but when we noticed that the crust was firm enough to carry a walking person, we simply grabbed the neccessary gear (i.e. GPS, camera and rifle) and started up through the steepest parts of the glacier.
By now the fog and clouds had lifted, and we had a wonderful view all around the surrounding mountain tops!
On the way back to Longyearbyen we stopped several times, first in Barentsburg where Einar guided me around the city, then as we followed the trail system back along the coast to Colesdalen where we turned inland, finally going up a very steep hill towards the back side of Longyearbyen glacier, over the glacier, and back to the city.