Powder in the north
9/3/2015 3:11:30 PM
Last weekend we headed to Lyngen, Northern Norway to test gear for the last time before our Everest expedition. One week before the trip we were not sure whether to go or not. Lyngen’s snow situation has been rather unstable with big avalanches recently and we did not want to take any unnecessary risks. We red forums on local snow situation in relaa.com and checked weather forecasts. On Monday Henttonen wrote on the forum that in Lyngen there is “super snow, and surprisingly rather stable” and that was it. On Thursday evening spirit was high as car was packed with snowboards, skis, backpacks, tents and all kinds of gadgets.
After one night in Kilpisjärvi we took off towards Lakselvbukt while the sun was rising. Edges of the road indicated at times that the snow cover of the Lyngen peninsula was somewhat thinner than last year this time, but there anyhow there was plenty of snow. We ascended to the familiar rock about 300 m from the car and after setting up the camp and noodle lunch we enjoyed the most beautiful spring day by continuing towards the slopes of Holmbuktinden.
Feelings of joy took over when we reached the coulouir befor the top, “superbahn” as we call it. Snow was superb and powder layer was even thicker than last spring. Weather was calm without a single cloud which gave excellent setting for shooting and testing new cameras.
On Saturday morning the alarm woke us up at 7.45 and while setting the alarm to wake us up later I noticed a SMS which was sent at 5 am “We passed your camp and are currently in the beginning of the couloirs. CU tomorrow or in a while ?”. I thought it was a joke and that the rest of the group, that arrived later in the evening, had stayed overnight in the car. I sent the guys a SMS while melting the snow and inquired their schedule. Soon it became clear that they really had ascended in the night to the spot they told. They had not noticed our camp and continued until the beginning of the valley.
On our way up Vinski and Antti joined our group. Weather forecast had been very accurate; after midday wind became stronger and it snowed heavily. Group of Norwegians that were right after us turned back, but we continued to Hombuktinden saddle as planned. There we dug a snow shelter so that we could have lunch and wait for better weather.
The weather did not turn any better and descending was more or less skiing blind. On the top of ‘old’ powder there was a fresh 10 cm from last night. Can snow be better? Probably not. Vow, what a ride! At Vinski’s and Antti’s camp we pondered next moves and decided to drive to Troms for the night and look for other places next day.
Changing the place was the right thing to do; Sunday morning was awesome with clear blue sky. Decided to drive to Blåtinden and at 11 am we were ascending steep hill covered with small birches. The weather showed some signs of change and we ascended without any unnecessary breaks. After couple of hours we packed skins to rucksacks and challenged each other to descend “full speed”. It was joyous to feel the powder and to be able to enjoy stunning views white snow and bright blue Arctic Ocean. Last 300 vertical meters we tried our own version of ski cross style next to a mountain brook’s couloir. It was a good combination of excitement, speed and risky situations, but none of us did want to slow down.
During a six-hour drive back home we checked new possible routes and wondered how quickly snow and weather changes from area to area over there next to Arctic Ocean. Six hours, is it a long way or not? I did not feel too excited about six hour in a car right after long day at work, but IMO it is nothing if you get experiences like this.