Shaken up: Two campers scare off polar bear that jumps over tripwire alarm, pays 3 a.m. visit to their tent


Ronny Lauritz Berntsen thought a reindeer was pushing against the outside wall of the tent so he smacked the fabric hoping to scare it away. Then he realized that might not have been a great idea.


Ronny Lauritz Berntsen shows the height of the tripwire alarm system a polar bear jumped over to reach the tent he and another person were sleeping in. Screenshot from video by Joachim Myhrvang

That’s when I realize it was possibly a polar bear and I woke up Joachim (Myhrvang) in panic,” Berntsen told Svalbardposten, describing the encounter at about 3 a.m. Saturday. “We readied the rifle and revolver, and then the polar bear snifffed its way into the tent. Then Joachim struck the snout and began to scream at the bear, and it ran away.”

The two men were camping Ymerbukta and Borebukta during a ski trip in the mountains. Berntsen told the newspaper a tripwrire alarm system was set up around the tent, but the bear jumped over the wire that was 60 centimeters above the ground.

“It was kind of cool in a way, but very scary there and then,” he said “Very scary. Had I not woken up when I did, it might have gone crazier. We relied very blindly on the trip flares that we invested a lot of money in. But we will never do that again and I would not recommend others do it either.”