Saturday, April 28, 2018

Steinskardtinden ski tour with great snow and views - ski day 9

There was some low cloud around Tromso so we decided to ski Keipen on Senya, about 2h 30 minutest drive.  However, on our way we saw skiers climbing Steinskardtinden, a "topptur ski peak" on Kvaløya, so we decided to ski it  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

The snow was nice and firm at the bottom, there had been a freeze.  Towards the top there was fresh snow, the best of our trip.  On the summit we chatted to Rudolf, a Swiss guide from Zermatt and his client, it was there first day on skis in Norway.

From the summit we could see down to Tromso and across to the summits of Skitntinden, Middagstinden and Storsteinnestindend.  We could also see down to Ersfjordbotn where we stayed in 2016.

The descent was great.  Soft snow and sweet turns.  Down lower the snow was heavy and funky.  We finished with a straight run back to the car park.

This was a great way to end our skiing this trip in Norway, we were lucky to score a brief weather window.

We then drove to Sommaroy Island which is a popular tourist destination in summer due to its white sandy beaches and good scenery.  The clouds dropped and then it started raining so we were very happy to score the ski summit.

Tomorrow Roger flies to Iceland (via Oslo) and I board the Hurtigruten (large coastal ferry) for Kirkenes. 

All photos

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Narvikfjellet skiing in low cloud - ski day 8

We had ordinary weather for our ski day in Narvik.  We set off to do the tour around to 
Tredjetoppen (1272m) but the snow was incredibly wet and deep, so we skinned up the piste in the ski resort towards Narvikfjellet.  The resort isn't running during the day at this time but it opens from 5pm to 9pm for locals to do some night skiing after work.

We spoke briefly to two locals who had just skied down - they said the visibility higher up was close to zero and had to navigate solely by GPS.

Roger and I skied up at a good pace on the firm snow.  After climbing fairly steeply there slope eases and we followed a pole line to the base of the top lift.  The visibility was poor so we skied down from there - a long fast run.

During the afternoon we drove the Swedish border close by and visited Riksgränsen, passing windmills in the snow along the way.  There is a ski resort there that is reputed to have Sweden's best skiing.  There was lots of accommodation, a busy supermarket, a campground and several snowmobiles about.  I said hello to a very woolly Kelpie out for a walk.

Our lodgings at the Breidablikk Guesthouse were excellent good value. The view across Narvik is great. 

And the seafood lunch (or early dinner) at Fiskehallen As is great too.  Its very popular with the locals.  I had cod tongue and artic char.  The tongue is unusual while the char is very tasty.

Artic Char (local to the region)

Cod tongue (Torsk tungen)

Drive to Riksgransen

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Himmeltinden - Lofoten Islands ski day 7

We chose Himmeltinden for our last ski day in the Lofoten Islands due to its lower risk of avalanche.  The ascent / descent route faces south west.  We were the only ones on the mountain that day.  After walking up the old mountain road from the coastal hamlet of Uttakliev we found the foot track to the huge gully. 

Roger skiing down Himmeltinden

Skinning up was easy at first but got progressively more difficult as we climbed.  The slope steepened and there were some icy sections.  There were some Ptarmigans about making their peculiar call - its almost grunting.

Ski crampons were good to have.  We followed some old ski tracks most of the way and topped out on the ridge at about 2 p.m. and had some lunch.  The wind was strong and we were almost in the clouds.  After lunch we decided to ski down the slope rather than continue to the summit.  There were some steep rocky sections on the ridge and the snow slope further across was wet and deep so both skinning and walking would have been difficult.

A very airy ski slope with lots of exposure.  We took turns on the upper section watching each other then got some nice turns in for the last half then walked back down the old road.

We visited the beach lookout were the old coast road is.  The new tunnel was built in 1998 - an amazing effort for the few houses at Uttakliev.

Driving back we visited Flakstad again but there were no waves.  We drove back along the narrow coast road on the south side of Vestvågøy from Leknes to eventually join the E10.  More stunning coastal and mountain views included the peak of Justadtinden (also a Topptur).

Fantastic dinner at Borsen Spiseri - the Bacalao was superb.

The old road


Looking back up the route

The peak viewed from the beach at Uttakliev

Himmeltinden viewed from Leknes - its big!


We didn't see a moose
Yesterday evening an Otter swam past our cabin at Annebua-Svolvær
 All photos

Monday, April 23, 2018

Rundfjellet - Lofoten Islands ski day 6

Back on skis after a couple of days off.  We chose to go to Rundfjellet because the ascent is north facing so has lower risk of avalanche.  The avalanche hazard dropped to 2 today (from 3 yesterday and 4 the day before).

Climbing to the shoulder
We started the route about 10:20 following tracks up through light tree cover then up a long ridge. We passed a couple of German snowboarders who were  skinning up on tiny skis, stopping for a brief chat.

There was debris visible from a large avalanche on a North West facing slope.  Our snow was wet and unconsolidated - there had not been a good freeze on the lower slopes.

We climbed over a high point on the ridge then followed tracks up the face to the shoulder, revealing excellent views to the south.

The visibility was good so we pushed on to the summit, leaving our skis about 50m from the summit and proceeding on foot.  There is a big cairn on the summit.  We chatted to a group of 5 Austrians who were there too, we had followed their tracks.

The 360 degree panorama was superb with clouds shrouding some other distant mountains.  This is our highest summit so far.

The descent on the firmer snow up high was good. The snow got wetter and heavier as we descended, mostly along the ridge we climbed to mimimise the risk of an avalanche.

We drove back around the coastal road though Laukvik past more fjords and looking across to the islands of Langøya and Hadseløya to the north.

We had a coffee and great nachos at the Bacalau bar, drove out to the fish racks and walked along the breakwater.  Fish soup for dinner in our wonderful cosy cabin.  An otter swam past after dinner!

Sunrise view from our cabin

Ready to roll

Start of route

The ridge up

Climbing to the shoulder

Skis off, booting from here

Austrians on summit

Roger and Peter on summit

The route up is to left of the rock wall