Sunday, 18 October 2009

Top of Norway (Part 1)

Since most of my time I spend in Norway I feel obliged to present some tours from this country. We all know that Norway would easily place in top 5 most beautiful countries in the world with its natural wonders like fjords, glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, canyons, lakes and many more. Jotunheimen National Park (" home of the giants") is the highest mountain range in Northern Europe, plus offers more than 190 peaks over 1900m, which attracts a lot of hikers, skiers, climbers and other outdoor "enthusiasts". After all those time at Venabygdfjellet (my workplace) I thought I should check those peaks and use my 2 days off after Easter (please click on pictures to see them).

Top of Norway (Part 2)

20-21 April, 2009 I drove to Spiterstulen hut (1100m), which is located in Visdalen about an hour of drive from LOM in the heart of Jotunheimen National Park. It was pretty warm those days so I was expecting Spring condition: slushy snow, cold nights, strong sun. The weather forecast seemed good for the second day, but cloudy for the first. I arrived around midday to the hut which was actually hosting the famous Galdhoppigen ski race just a couple of days before. From this hut it is possible to reach many of the high peaks of Jotunheimen including the first and the second highest. Sounds like a challenge! My plan was to take the second highest peak (Glittertind, 2466m) or just get close enough, stay in a tent and climb up and down and back to the valley and back up to climb the highest point. All this in 24hrs. 20 April, 1PM, Spiterstulen (1100m) I packed as much gear as possible : snowshoes, Nordic skis, tent, stove, food for 3 days, clothing, etc., so I looked like a mule or a walking outdoor shop with around 30kg of articles attached to me. As I expected the condition was treacherous, too soft snow for skiing or snowshoeing, but not hard enough for walking. I left at 13:00 and after 1,5 hour of struggle reaching 1500m things got better, I put my skis on and started moving faster. There was not much visibility on the peaks, low clouds lifting up and down, but some chance for clear sky above. I decided to put my tent up (see drawn picture, green triangle) so I left some equipment there before I tried to ascend. Took my skis and some extra gear and moved up in a wide valley (Steindalen). As I reached the top of the valley it was clear that I had no visibility (maybe 30mts), so I turned around....after 200m descending I changed my mind and crawled back up and carefully started my ascent. About an hour later I was above the clouds with an amazing view! Few minutes later I was standing on the top of Glittertind(2466m). Looking around I could only see the peaks over 2200metres as the clouds were swimming around them. Had a close look what expect for the next day and descended carefully. Reached the tent around 18:30 and had food and settled for the cold night.

Top of Norway (Part 3)

21 April, 6AM, -8 Celsius. After an ok night I started getting ready, packed and left. It was sunny and no sign of clouds. I was looking forward to my next challenge on the other side of the valley. I reached Spiterstulen, dropped a few things and left around 9AM. The first part was a bit difficult since there were a lot of broken patches of snow and ice, but later on I was making good progress. Reached the summit (Galdhoppigen, 2469m) at 11:45 and spent 15 minutes looking around and enjoying the views. On the way down I decided to go for my 24 hour mark, so I needed to speed up... running, jumping, rolling , fast walking (no use of skis or snowshoes) and after 53minutes I reached the hut at 12:53... Huhh, 23hrs 53minutes, done! What a quality day! Two highest peaks of Norway, about 2800mts ascent and descent, a night out ... all in 24hrs.