Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rombakstøtta for Xmas

The past two weeks have featured some longer days at work and the time available for getting out into the mountains has been limited, instead I've been discovering the painful variety of satisfaction which comes from interval skinning sessions on groomers.

Rombakstøtta as it looks on the approach.
Yesterday morning however, after 17 hours at work in the previous 24, I decided that it was time to get some real touring done and get myself a summit to stand on. Rombakstøtta, or as the locals like to call it Tøttatoppen, is a beautifully pinnacled summit only a few kilometres from town. Despite its imposing silhouette when seen on the approach, there is a moderate route which goes up from the SE and features only two short sections of easy climbing- no rope necessary.

The upper slopes of the local classic: S'et (photo from last April)
 I've had a growing infatuation with this peak over the past year, its distinctly jagged shape and proximity to town make it something of an icon for anyone who lives in Narvik and sees it on a daily basis. Contrary to first impressions of the peak, which suggest that it is too steep and rocky to offer any decent skiing, there are actually some great couloirs on its northern face including the famous S'et, a steepish line which twists and curves between some cliffs on the north face with immense views over the fjord below. I've skied 3 different lines on Tøtta it in the past and during the summer months its on one of my favourite mountain runs in the area, I must've stood on its summit close to a dozen times this past summer. Of all my time spent on this mountain I'd never actually stood on its summit during the winter (on another ski trips I'd dropped in lower off the ridge without visiting its summit) today seemed like a good day to finally remedy this situation.

Final scramble up to the summit of Rombakstøtta with the town of Narvik in the background.
Skinning through the forest on the approach was fast on a firm trail compacted by XC skiers and many weeks since the last snowfall. Up higher the snow cover was more marginal but skinning was still possible right up the 1150 metres on the summit ridge, to the entrance on S'et (which needs a little more snow before it'll be ready to ski). I left the skis here and continued on foot to the summit, I was glad to be familiar with the route when climbing the short dihedrals which offer plenty of holds which were hidden under snow. Climbing these moves I was so familiar with from the summer was great fun, jamming my ski boots in the wide cracks and wrapping my gloved hands around the juggy holds which a few months ago I was scrambling over. I topped out a little under 3 hours after setting out and signed the summit log. From here it was a quick scramble down back to the skis and some fun turns back to town before a classic Christmas eve feast and a few litres of mulled wine. A Happy Chrismas indeed!

No comments:

Post a Comment