Sometimes you go to Norway and the trip is fun and fantastic and you come home and immediately blog about your adventures in a post read by thousands landing you sponsorships with the likes of Arc'Teryx, DPS Skis, and those fabulous folks who make tutus, leading to a life of fame and glamor skiing all over the world with appearances in every. single. ski movie from now until the end of time.
Other times you go to Norway in April, get waylaid by life as soon as you come back, try to squeeze in some Norway blogs in your spare time, and then BAM it's August and you realize with great dismay that you are not, in fact, wearing a free Arc'Teryx parka while schlepping up a mountainside with the likes of Lynsey Dyer and a film crew in tow.
Then you look down at the pieces of the broken ceramic bowl that was your BIG DREAM strewn across the floor of your imagination and begin to pick up the pieces and put your, much less glamorous than hoped, life back together...by which of course I mean you finally write that goddamn blog already!
For our 4th day in Norway (#gnarway), we set out for a big objective: Nordmannviktinden. A tall mountain (1355m - 4445') offering two different approaches, and adjacent to the not-quite-as-big-but-still-quite-large Gillavvari mountain as an alternative, we knew this was the place for us. It was a long drive (2+ hours meandering through the fjords) from our cozy home, so we were happy to arrive and find good - not great - weather!
|Suns out...thighs out?|
We found the 'Start', conveniently marked as part of a skate ski trail, and were on our way. We traversed for a while, then began the climb through shrubbery adorned rolling hills. As per Norway, the views were fantastic.
|That's a mighty big backpack you're carrying Kelly...|
|Kelly, Langley, and Nick, with Kåfjord in the background.|
|Beginning the climb|
Once we had climbed about 1200', our party of 5 split into two: the boys and I headed up Nordmannviktinden while the lovely ladies started their own adventure up Gillavvari. As we separated and climbed, we could see each other across the valley, and captured some great pictures of one another. What a unique place.
|Can you see us? Photo byKelly.|
|How about now? Photo by Langley.|
|Gillavvari summit just to the left of my noggin.|
As my party continued to climb, the light snow pack from the season began to show it's ugly face. Add high winds to the low snow coverage and we were faced with some pretty rocky climbing. I wouldn't call these the hardest skinning conditions I've encountered, but they were certainly far from ideal. Nevertheless, encouraged by the killer views (have I mentioned those enough yet?) we ventured on, and only Nick nearly died on an extra spicy kick turn. But he didn't. So...it's all good :)
|Traversing. The boys had me lead the whole way :)|
|Julian on the rocky bit|
|Because sometimes you need a photo montage to truly capture the spirit of the climb.|
|Do you see Nick?|
We only stopped for one food break during our 5k'+ climb. The rest of the time was spent picking our jaws up off the snow and generally being total gapers. Even Julian, who lives in Norway, was impressed with the view. I remain jealous that he takes an annual trip to this region.
|Mountains mountains everywhere.|
|Candid shot believe it or not. Smiles are genuine.|
After a few hours we passed through the most difficult portion, then had many football fields worth of flattish land to traverse around to the true summit. Just as we reached the large plateau the weather really cleared and we were, once again, spoiled with the splendor of mother nature. I would have stayed in this place for hours, but we had people to meet and beer to drink. No more dilly dallying for us.
|You would not believe this view.|
|Final summit push.|
Once at the top, the clouds came in and the wind picked up. Not wanting to be stuck on a foreign mountain in a whiteout, we quickly completed our transition and started down - Nick first, then Julian, then me. The light was totally flat, but we managed to make it through the steep section just fine, and found some truly stupendous turns down below.
|The tutu descends.|
|Nick ready to take off.|
|Julian charging the pow!|
|Stupid human tricks :)|
|A whole new meaning to skiing on the edge.|
|Nick carving it out. One of my favorite shots from the trip.|
|The tutu reigns.|
After 4,000' of play time, we felt we deserved another break, and stopped in the sunshine to enjoy our sandwiches. Then, once properly refueled, we charged back down to fight with the Norwegian version of slide alder. I took a pretty big whipper when I caught my ski under a branch and was actually really glad I had been wearing my helmet.
Nick, always the adventurer, charged through the thick trees, losing his beloved trekking poles at one point. When we got to the parking lot and he realized they were missing, he simply bowed his head, put his board back into touring mode, and started up the hill. Surprisingly he was only gone about an hour and returned TRIUMPHANTLY with both poles in hand. Well done sir!
|Love my K2 skis. Shoutout to the guys at ProSki Seattle for helping me out.|
|Surprisingly good turns.|
Falling into the car, we were happy to drive home and catch this view of our mountains: Giillvvari in the foreground center, Nordmannviktinden's summit just to the left. Another amazing day in Norway.
|Check out our mountain!|
|Check out OUR mountain!|