16 June 2014

Norway - Sjufjellet (1086m) (and our first summit!)

The roads in Norway are plagued with something called a Frost Heaves - a inverse speed bump caused from the freeze/thaw cycle of the road. Some of them look bad and are fine, and others look innocuous and will send your car airborne.

That is not an exaggeration. We might have done some damage (to the car AND Nick's noggin'). With a full car and 7 days of driving we went over many frost heaves and even came to regard the ones near our cabin with loving affection.

It should surprise no one that I laughed like a little school girl at the "warning: frost heaves" sign:

"Frost Heaves". Tee hee.

After getting shut down on our Norwegian summit attempts not once but twice we were hopeful our third day would grant us kinder weather. We selected a 3-4 hour tour of Sjufjellet, the "most popular mountain in the Tamok Valley" according to our guidebook. It had two possible descents, and only one real area of concern for avalanches, and we were stoked.

Day 3: Sjufjellet.
Unfortunately, we did not catch a break on the weather. Arriving at our parking area after another bumpy ride, we located the base of our "mountain" and parked. We could not, as per usual, see the summit. But on this day we did see other skiers, and were happy to follow their fresh tracks through the few inches of freshies to the top.

With very little convincing I got Julian to put on my loaner tutu (which at this point has traveled nearly as far and wide as Grandpa Max - thanks for the great Christmas present Matt!). And let me tell you - he ROCKED that thing. I mean, check out how he just owns the blue and gold:

Julian modeling the latest in tutu attire.

Two tutus. One Sjufjellet.

We followed the tracks up the mountain with really easy skinning. We caught and passed a few other groups, saying hello to mostly Finish people, and being on our way. I'd say we were enjoying the views, but, well, there weren't any.

Langley showing her enthusiasm for the AMAZING scenery. Photo by Kelly.

Skinning into the abyss.

Wait. I think I see something up there?

After skinning for about 1800' we did the long traverse (indicated in the guidebook photo) and could see nothing. We briefly thought of turning around when we made a left turn up a ridgeline and the change in aspect meant better visibility. We could continue! It was snowing slightly now and the wind had picked up, but I was pretty stoked to be able to keep climbing.

Rounding the corner.

The most perfectly timed selfie captured snowflake. Photo by Julian (obviously).

Before we knew it, we were on the summit! Or, I guess I was on the true summit by a whopping 3ft and everyone else had enough. The wind was quite strong. We all struggled to put on more and more and more layers, remove our skins, and get the hell out of the damn wind.

Selfie on the true summit. You can see everyone gearing up behind with the wind whipping around their bags.

We skied back down the ridgeline (in poor visibility) opting to descend the way we came, rather than the more challenging (navigation wise at least) other descent option. According to my notes from the day, the snow was "cohesive and fun". From what I remember now 2 months later, it was some of the better snow of the trip, and I really enjoyed myself on the way down.

Stoked to ski down! Photo by Kelly.


The view. Photo by Nick. 

That's me! Photo by Nick.

In fact, it was so nice we did it twice! After eating some lunch at the car, Nick, Julian and I opted to go for a second lap. We skinning back up to the 2100' mark, transitioned, and enjoyed another fantastic decent down to the car. I'm not sure if it was the leggings or the tutu or the fact that I was a girl ripping down the slopes, but I got my fair share of strange looks and confused faces. I suppose Julian did too, being in the tutu and all. Nick always get those looks, being a snowboarder. 


Grandpa Max is having fun too!

Oh that's weird. Waiting on a splitboarder to transition.

Happy skiers all ready!

I actually really love this shot. Contemplating awesomeness.
Not bad Norway, not bad. Photo by Nick.

With a successful summit in the can, we bumped our way home where everyone ate surprisingly delicious grilled cheese with tomato soup (prepared lovingly by yours truly). We also each enjoyed our one beer for the day. Ahh, Norway :)

See Ma? I cook!

Mmm? Beer.

1 comment:

kelly said...

Julian's birthday is coming up - maybe I should get him his own tutu :)