29 May 2014

Norway - Daltinden (1533m)

Life has been a bit hectic, so please forgive me my tardiness in posting about Norway. The trip was so fantastic and I was SO EXCITED to document it's every super-duper-important-detail that I got overwhelmed and didn't post...for a month. You'd think I would know better by now, but well, I do not.

I did have a chance to post about my initial impressions of Norway (wow!) and about our grocery shopping experience (wowza!) so check those out if you haven't. Also, if you prefer a more succinct recap of our adventures, check out Kelly's blog about our entire week in Norway (Kelly is a friend I know from Seattle and the impetus for my trip to Norway. Her friend Langley, also from Seattle currently living in Marseilles, also has a great blog where she's written about the trip).

We all arrived in Tromsø for a week of backcountry skiing on a Sunday afternoon. We loaded up our VW Passat and accompanying Tulle, packed to the BRIM with gear and people, found a grocery store, and made our way to "home" for the week in the heart of Lyngen, in Lakselvbukt. Kelly found us this little gem on AirBnB and chose this cabin due to it's proximity to close skiing in the Lyngen Alps and in Balsfjorden, Tamok, and Kåfjord too.

Home sweet haven

In what became our nightly ritual, we enjoyed ONE beer each while eating a home cooked meal and planning our next day's adventure. We were lucky - the area has a pretty great guidebook in English which is easy to understand and provides good navigational information. Because there is nothing worse than picking out a sweet ski line only to not be able to find where it starts...

Clockwise from left: Nick, Langley, Kelly, and Julian planning out our day.

For our first tour, we selected Daltinden. Close to the house and a safe choice given the moderate avy-forecastt - we all agreed it would be a good "first tour" in Norway.

Daltinden route beta. Notice the long approach.

We arrived at our destination - a school yard - and began to gear-up. At this point you might ask an obvious question: with everything closed in Norway for Easter Week, where do you possibly go when you need to use the "facilities"? Well my friends, you can go ANYWHERE YOU LIKE! I mean, I'm not recommending pooping on the front door or the school house or leaving a "surprise" in the middle of the soccer field for the spring thaw, but in general Norwegians are pretty lax about potty-breaks and all of us ladies just snuck off to do our business in the bushes while the mens exercised their rights to use the world as their urinal.

Schoolhouse gear-up.

The beautiful approach started as part of a cross-country ski course and took us up over an interesting creek crossing before we entered a beautifully long valley full of ice and snow.

Julian and Nick ready to rumble.

The valley ahead - photo by Langley.

View across the way of a rather grandiose slide path.

Another view of the slide.

If you are brave enough you can find plenty of ice for first ascents.

Nick appreciating our surroundings.

After a few hours of easy skinning we started our climb up toward the summit of Daltinden. Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated and after climbing for about 2800' we found ourselves out of the trees and into dense fog with not much to mark our trail. Oh, and it was windy.

Starting the climb. Photo by Nick.

The brief period of time we could actually see where we're going. We made it about halfway up the rock ridge at center. Photo by Nick.


Let's use these rocks as route markers - okay?

To make matters worse, our skins were clumping so badly I reached a point of not even being on the snow anymore - it was like walking on 6" platform heels:

Notice my skis are NOT touching the snow.

Prone to vertigo and not a fan of being lost in the mountains, I agreed with everyone's assessment and we headed down the mountain. We nearly lost one of the skins during our transition to the wind, but Owly came to the rescue and all was well.

Owly to the rescue!

Entertaining myself with some ninja moves.

I only took one photo on the way down, which is proof of the lame-ness of the skiing - at least Nick took a few. The snow was far inferior to spring corn and can best be described as soupy glop. We attempted to ski down this "pillow field" only to find it full of holes - big, scary ones. We all made it down safely and began our looooong approach traverse back to the car.

You can't tell, but it was pretty hard to see ANYTHING. Photo by Nick.

SKIING! Photo by Nick.

The aforementioned pillow field.

Safely returned to the Passat, we loaded up and went home to warm showers, heated floors, and the sweet delicious taste of our one precious beer a piece. Tomorrow - Middagstiden!

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