Thursday, June 9, 2011


Spring melt water makes for impressive whitewater
Disclaimer: If you have had enough of the words snow, mountains, lemmings, skiing etc then read no further! (-:

Yes, it was to be another snowy weekend in the mountains. We had three days because of 'Himmelfarts' day so we took off on Thursday evening heading South through Oppdal and then along the road which leads to the Troll Wall. Before we reached that however, we hung a left into the Tafjordfjella mountains.

The spring rivers were running very high and there was some spectacular whitewater on the drive in. We found a grassy spot by the river to put up our Quechua 'ten second tent' and had a nice sleep with some little baa-ing sheep for company.
Sheep on the road into Tafjordfjella

The following morning we put all our ski equipment on our packs and headed up the hillside. Clouds were hanging fairly low in the valley. After no more than one hours walking and one convenient snow bridge crossing we were already at the point were we could ski! I was quite disappointed given I haven't tramped in over 7 months!
Our lucky snow bridge - no wet feet this time
Chris is ready to roll - polypros and all!
Guess what's in the hole?
This one quite liked Ski Trab skis (-:
We skied up 'Benkehøa' (1943) and then down into a white valley and across a frozen lake. My ski boots were causing me a bit of pain and our packs were both feeling pretty heavy, so when we came to see a gentle snow slope heading down to the hut after about 7 hours of skiing we were very happy!
Descending from Benkehøa
A little grass skiing before reaching Veltdalshytta

The hut was really flash and new - and quite deserted. I guess the Norwegians still know how snowy it is in there! We cooked outside as more clouds rolled in from the seaward direction.
Cosy times in Veltdalshytta

During the night the wind really picked up and there was some fresh snowfall. We happily delayed our start by laying in bed until ridiculously late. Finally the weather began clearing up and some sun rays peaked through the mist. We skied across to a reconstructed bivvy from the war called Fieldfarehytta. From what I can gather three Norwegian soldiers constructed it and lived in it for several months during the war from mid February!
Fieldfare is a neat wee bivvy perched on the edge of a deep lake beneath a cliff.

The surreal lake beside Fieldfarehytta

After a late lunch we skied up Karitinden (1982) which was more exciting than the previous day's peak because it was a pointier steeper ridge. We reached the top with clouds blowing over occasionally, and then had to kick step our way carefully down some steep rocks until we could put our skis on and ski down a gently sloping glacier.

On the way up Karitinden - right in between the good weather and the bad
The clouds came in just after we reached the top of Karitinden
The initial drop off was nice a nice gradient
Descending to the lake - very nice snow at the bottom

We reached an amazing basin at the end of the glacier and the snow conditions improved too. After a little 'refuel' on a rock overlooking the valley we skied steeply down to Sødre Botnvatnet (lake) and then down towards Pyttbua (hut). The bridge for crossing the river that was on the map was gone so we had an interesting crossing - water which has just come from snow is very cold when you stand in it for a few minutes!
Skiing down the river looking for a safe spot to cross

We had a nice evening Pyttbua, once again we had the whole huge hut to ourselves and choose to use the smaller 'overflow' hut instead so as not to feel so small in such a big space.

Morning at Pyttbua
We had rather too much fun with 'hot lips' half way up the mountain

In the morning the sky was totally blue and the sun was out - so it was a nice day to ski one more peak before we headed out down the valley. We skied up various interconnecting snow patches that steepened before the summit of Høgtunga (1912). From here we had a great view of the surrounding peaks - including the ones we had climbed the previous two days.
Chris on the summit of Høgtunga

Skis on backpacks again we down climbed a surprisingly icy and rocky ridge onto gentler slopes which enabled us to ski all the way down to Ulvådalsvatnet (858) giving us over 1000m continuous vertical descent, very nice!

Looking back towards the summit of Høgtunga. You can see our tracks starting from the bottom of the steep rocks.

Super descent down to the lake

We ate lunch of salsa mackerel and polar breads in the sun amongst the seemingly lush green grass (compared to the snow of the last two days). We then made our way through the marshes and scratchy birch around the lake shore. Sometimes it got so scratchy it was easier just to walk in the cold lake!

Walking in the lake
We made it back to the car around 6 pm and started the fairly long drive (3.5 hours) back to Trondheim along with many others obviously heading back from their long weekend trips. Yet another successful and memorable mountain trip for the Silly Billies (-: