Steindalsnosi (2025m) via Fannaråk Glacier, Norway, 11-12th December 2010

Firstly, apologies for misleading people about where I’ve been skiing these last few months. I suppose it is technically Steindalsnosi if you go to the summit but the actual skiing has been taking place on the Fannaråk glacier, so I suppose it should be called the Fannaråk glacier.

Fanaråkbreen

Fannaråkbreen

Either way, even if only in name, it does spice things up a little bit because I have been coming here a fair bit in the early season (5 days so far this season!). After the last trip out to the mountains in Frudalen and what I’ve been reading on some of the forums, I thought I would stick with what I know and what is sure to be a goer until conditions improve. The Fannaråk glacier has not let me down yet.

I didn’t have any one to play with this weekend, so it was going to be my first solo outing since I got frostbite on my toes last February. I decided to leave early on Saturday from Oslo (5.00 in the morning). First mistake. I should have left earlier. In fact, I should have left Friday! Then I came off the road between Lom and Otta. Second mistake. Luckily another driver was at hand to pull me out of the ditch and there was no damage to the car. All told I got to Steindalsnosi at 13.00, tired from the early start and from the driving conditions and stressing about getting there to have time to ski. Bearing in mind the sun sets around 15.30, I had driven 6hrs to rush up a mountain and be back at the car 2.5hrs later.  Hmmm…. Things were slightly off kilter…… So of course I rushed up the mountain to be back at the car again 2.5hrs later. Great. The wind was howling, I couldn’t make out the mountain from the road and it was snowing and I was running out of time. All highly motivating factors to draw me from the warmth of the car. But I had driven this far, God dammit.

Back at the car. Steindalsnosi posing majestically!

Back at the car. Steindalsnosi posing majestically!

Needless to say, there wasn’t another soul around (and rightly so!). Thankfully, this is not a very long tour anyway, so I was through the approach and most of the way up (I didn’t bother summiting) in around 1hr and 40mins to get back down again and rush to the car.

There had been some new snow, so I was nervous before starting the climb until I had a chance to check it out. I took a conservative skin up and dug a quick 5-min snow pit down 70cm or so. I could see that there had been about 15cm of new snow (in the process of becoming wind packed but nice and sticky and compressed). I was curious to see whether the rime snow from Frudalen was present here too and sure enough the new snow was sitting on top of the rime. It did have some cohesion though but it was there. Make of that what you will.

On all accounts, if tomorrow was going to be a repeat of today, my mind was already back in Oslo enjoying a relaxing Sunday.  I drove back towards Lom, stopping where they close the road for the night and pitched the tent. My new sleeping bag did what it said on the tin and kept me nice and snug in -10. Encouraging for future projects.

The weather the next day was just perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and very little wind.

Okay, so there was one cloud in the sky. Fanaråkbreen far right.

Okay, so there was one cloud in the sky. Fanaråkbreen far right.

After lots of faffing and melting snow to get water for the day, I was ready to hit the glacier again. Off at 11.00 and back down again by 15.00. That’s a bit more like it. I did two runs up for a total of 1,400m vertical gain. Again I stopped around 20m from the summit. The snow on the upper section was not very good, solid wind buff in places and sastrugi formations on skier’s left. Much better on the lower section, wind blown but creamy. Good for charging. And I got some nice views:

Nice views looking east

Nice views looking east

And more nice views!

And more nice views!

It was pretty cold in the end. I’m guessing around -15 to -20. Looking good, Paul ;)

Looking a bit punch drunk

Looking a bit punch drunk

Want to see more splitboarding in Norway…..? Click here.

Share
Posted in Conditions, Norway | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Four Routes skied off North Face of the Aiguille du Midi (Seb Montaz)

Midi Mega Mix: A Passion for steep skiing. from sébastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

You can find other really nice videos here.

Share
Posted in Videos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Salen (1602m) in Frudalen near Sogndal, Norway, 4th December 2010

It’s been a while since the last proper post and there’s a reason for that……. Conditions haven’t quite been shaping up as had been hoped. After a few good “lucky” tours in October and November, conditions seem to have deteriorated. There was the trip to Gaustatoppen a couple of weeks ago, only to find there wasn’t enough snow. And then there was the trip to ski Salen in the Frudalen valley near Sogndal this weekend.

I’d been trying to meet up with Trond who got in touch with me on this blog and things came together this weekend. In fact, Trond had had a really good session in this area only a couple of weeks previously, so revisiting the area was the natural thing to do.

Salen (the highest peak in the middle)

Salen (the highest peak in the middle)

We headed over from Hemsedal with a friend of mine from Oslo towards Sogndal via the ferry and then on to Frudalen on road Nr. 5. The picture above is taken from the small car park before the road enters the tunnel where we left the car.  There’s about a 3km relatively flat approach on skis and you start at around 550m with the peak being at 1602m. A nice looking tour for sure and snow cover was pretty good. But that wasn’t the problem…. it was the snow itself. It was either completely windblown and like polystyrene or completely rotten. Skinning up in split mode was a challenge to say the least….either trying to get an edge or even make an impression on the wind packed snow or unable to make a skin track on the rotten snow which just fell away along with you on the steeper sections.

It’s been unseasonably cold over most of Norway for the last month or so (around -20 in the interior of Southern Norway) and the snow pack is not liking it one little bit, creating a lack of cohesion and bonding. Although I have to say, the snow on Salen seemed much more like it had been affected by milder temperatures and sun radiation and then refroze to form sugar snow. There was some pretty big surface hoar the day we were there and temps were around -4 at sea level. On all accounts, unless milder temperatures are on the cards for most areas of Norway, it’s not looking like a very safe base for the rest of the season. Fingers crossed things improve.

Needless to say, with conditions as they were and me having problems with the glue on my skins, we turned around before reaching the summit to ski down in flat light and renegotiate the long approach back to the car. I was in board mode for about 10% of the trip. Definitely a skier’s tour or great practice being in ski mode on the splitboard ;).

Want to see more splitboarding in Norway…..? Click here.

Share
Posted in Norway | Leave a comment

Wow….This is really cool.

Freshfield Icefield: A Skier’s Journey Ep3 from Jordan Manley Photography on Vimeo.

You can find other really nice videos here.

Share
Posted in Videos | Leave a comment

Provo Brothers….Great footage with the Gopro…

You can find other really nice videos here.

Share
Posted in Videos | Tagged | Leave a comment

All. I.Can….from Rocky Mountain Sherpas

I showed one of their trailers on this blog earlier in the year. Consistently some of the best cinematography in the ski film industry…..coupled with their message about global warming.

You can find other really nice videos here.

Share
Posted in Videos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

JD Hare skis Alpha’s Ivory Shoulder, Tantalus Range, British Columbia

You can find other really nice videos here.

Share
Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Conditions: Steindalsnosi (2025m), Norway, 6-7th November 2010

I’ve skied this mountain a few times now, so won’t bore you with the details. If you’re looking for that sort of beta, check out this link: Steindalsnosi Trip Report.
If you’re interested in conditions, here’s what I have to say….:

Steindalsnosi shrouded in cloud (taken from direction of Lom)

Steindalsnosi shrouded in cloud (taken from direction of Lom)

Steindalsnosi is well and truly open! As opposed to last month when we got our first turns of the new season and had to to scramble over rocks from the car, you can now put your skis on and skin the whole way! A pleasure. The crevasses are all filled in (where you ski at least).

As regards the snow: very much wind-pack and breakable crust. The mountain has taken a bit of a battering from the wind and hardened up the powder. But, as a result, if you look hard enough, you can find a lot of soft, fluffy wind accumulation in the features on skier’s left as you ski down.

As regards the weather: cold and windy. At the car is was -10 C. With the altitude gain and winds of around 20 knts (gusting 30 knots knts), the wind chill must have been in the high thirties (probably more). Either way, it was bloody cold. Most of the weather was in the last 300m of the summit, so as opposed to the first day where we went to the summit, we spent the second day at lower elevations and lapped the slope. Much more pleasant and much better visibility.

As regards traffic: Saturday, we saw our first people on the mountain as we were skiing down. About ten people in different groups. Sunday, a group of two.

So, that’s that. Steindalsnosi is looking good! Not so sure about the surrounding peaks just yet. Still lots of rocks. I’m sure you could find a line if you are desperate but might be worth waiting for more snow cover.

P.S. Friflyt users….sorry for the bad link. Friflyt adds a <br> tag in the link on their page (invisible. You can see it at the end of the address in your browser though) which corrupts the link and means you cannot go directly to the page. Sorry about that!

Want to see more splitboarding in Norway…..? Click here.

Share
Posted in Conditions, Norway | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Pointe Noire, Chamonix. Cool short film by Seb Montaz

You can find other really nice videos here.

Share
Posted in Videos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Galdhøpiggen (2469m), Norway, 26th September 2010

Day two of a little trip to the mountains…….

We spent the night in the small village (if you can call a smattering of houses a village) at the foot of the road which leads up to the summer ski resort of Juvass. I tried out my new Mountain Hardware EV 2 tent. And I have to say, I liked it a lot. Self-standing, very few pegs to the ground, no guy lines, easy to set up, small foot-print and still long enough for me. Oh and light.

Come the morning, it seems I’d been pushing the limits of my 0 degree sleeping bag.  It must have been into the high minus single digits during the night and the tent was covered in ice, inside and out when I got up. Note to self…remember to bring a sponge next time for when it melts and wets my down bag ;).

So, after a pretty late start we headed up to the resort to gain a few hundred metres courtesy of their lift before the skin over to Galdhøppigen. Galdhøpiggen is in fact the highest mountain in Norway (2469m), surrounded by glacier. We were really lucky with the conditions.

Me approaching Galdhøppigen (peak furthest right).

Me approaching Galdhøppigen (peak furthest right).

It was a blue bird day…… we had fresh snow and were the only ones to venture up there on our skis. Although it is the highest peak in Norway, that’s really where the superlatives stop. The acutual mountain itself is nothing remarkable and the easiest ascent is up the ridge to the summit. We had harnesses and rope for crossing the glacier from Juvass but ended up not needing it due to the tried and tested motorway made by all the guided groups. We had intended skiing a few hundred metres down to the hump next to the Galdhøpiggen (the sub-peak in the picture above) and then skiing that face, navigating a few crevasses at the exit. The line looked good but with a bit of local knowledge from a guide, we found out that the latest snow was the first snow of the summer and there was a chance the crevasses weren’t very well filled in. There would have been a long walk back out across some heavily crevassed terrain, worst still walking parallel to them. We gave it a miss.

Exposed crevasse on the face of Galdhøppigen

Exposed crevasse on the face of Galdhøppigen

Instead we just headed for the summit and decided to ski down the way we had come. Things went pretty smoothly the whole way and we were approaching the summit in no time. From the car to the summit took us around two hours (and cheating with the lift), with a small break thrown in for good measure.

Metres from the summit of Galdhøppigen.

Metres from the summit of Galdhøppigen.

It does seem like quite a way when you first set out but the distance is quite misleading. We hung around on the summit for some time enjoying the little hut up there and the amazing weather/views. This peak is normally always covered in weather.

Views from Galdhøppigen towards great peaks in the Turtagrø area.

Views from Galdhøppigen towards great peaks in the Turtagrø area.

And then straped the board on and headed back down. I did find my fair share of death cookies on the way down to be honest and the base of my board had definitely seen better days by the end of the run. Time for a base grind anyway ;)

Me skiing down the ridge.

Me skiing down the ridge.

Lars managed to find some really nice powder! Powder in September!! What’s that all about? Cold smoke.

Want to see more splitboarding in Norway…..? Click here.

Powder snow in September on Galdhøppigen!

Powder snow in September on Galdhøppigen!

Another good day out and a nice easing into the new season. Not sure what the total vertical gain was. I didn’t use my watch but I’m guessing it was around 800-1000m given the time we took. You won’t get a lot of skiing on this peak but it is a great day out and I can now say I’ve summited Norway’s highest mountain. Wahoo!

Want to see more splitboarding in Norway…..? Click here.

Share
Posted in Jotunheimen, Norway | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment