Spitsbergen

North of Norway, a cluster of Arctic islands make up the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. The largest and most mountainous of these islands is Spitsbergen. The terrain of the island includes sharp peaks which rise steeply above long ridges, numerous glaciers, and a heavily indented coastline. The mountains average between 2500 - 4000 feet in elevation, though some exceed 5,000 feet . Spitsbergen is only 700 miles from the North Pole, yet the west coast is ice free and accessible during the summer months. There are a some small coal mining towns and an Arctic research station on the island, but few accommodations for tourists.