Having been preparing for N60° – The Norwegian Challenge 2018 since we returned from the last one, we believed that everything was set. The camps, routes, incident plans, and local team were all set… until nature intervened.

One of the joys of adventure is not knowing what challenges will be thrown at you, and this year we faced a few. It turned out 2018 was the year that 2,500 reindeer decided to migrate across our route, preventing us from doing our intended route which meant in January we had to change almost everything. Fortunately thanks to the expertise and local knowledge of our Norwegian team, an incredible alternative was quickly found that offered the same level of challenge and wilderness that we seek to offer.

As with most alpine destinations, Norway has seen some record breaking snowfall this year. We were prepared for the snow; but the cold weather we experienced literally took our breath away. As temperatures unexpectedly dropped to -24°C in the early hours of the morning on our first night in camp, our resident polar explorer George Bullard woke up and stoked the fires in each tent to keep everyone warm. It was certainly a night to remember, and a baptism of fire (or ice) for those for whom this was their first experience of camping…

However, being prepared is crucial to success and prepared we were – able to work as teams in our tents over the next few nights to keep the wood stoves burning constantly meant people were able to get a proper night’s rest before embarking on the next day’s journey.

On day one the team embarked on a 14km ski tour, with over a kilometre of vertical ascent. Both the skiers and the snowboarder enjoyed deep powder and beautiful views which spurred everyone on towards the finish line. Days two and three involved cross-country skiing through the forests of the Hemsedal Valley, before climbing up to stunning campsites on top of an Easterly plateau. On the final day, the participants trekked around the plateau before descending back in to the Skogstad Hotell in Hemsedal, where friends and family were waiting to see their loved ones across the finish line.

We celebrated with some delicious food, cold beers, and some dancing. Perhaps the most incredible thing about these trips is seeing people arrive as strangers but leave as great friends. It was a fantastic group of people who pushed themselves each day to achieve something extraordinary, not only for themselves but also for charity. Over £56,000 was raised by the group for various charities – an incredible amount that will no doubt make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our Norwegian and UK teams for all their help in running this event – your support is invaluable and we couldn’t have done it without you!