Friday, February 15, 2013

Rev Renne- FKD

Yesterday I went skiing with Micke and made a mildly terrifying but thoroughly enjoyable first known descent of a couloir on the SW face of Revtind. Its a line which we'd both been eyeing for a couple years, and which lived up to our expectations of it being both reasonably steep and exposed.

On the drive in we stopped a few times to examine the line through binoculars and take reference photos, this is what it looked like from the road:

Revtind SW face, with our route marked in black dots.
For extra credit points we decided to visit a short chute on Olderstind on the approach. With Micke setting a respectable pace we bushwhacked through the horrible birch forest, skirting innumerable small cliffs and yanking on tree limbs to make our way up. It was a small price to pay for the terrific skiing which lay in wait.

Micke charging along the west ridge of Olderstind enroute to our first chute of the day.
Above tree line the pace quickened as we made our way over to the west ridge of Olderstind which we skinned/ booted until we reached the first little chute of the day. Only a few hundred metres of descent, but in fun snow.

Then it was on with the skins again and up the gently undulating "regular" route on Revtind. We topped out 3:10 after leaving the car, including about 1700 metres of ascent, some heinous bushwhacking and a ski descent of about 400 metres. I calculated in my head that if we continued at this pace I'd have time for a shower and feed before work at 4:30- oh the naivety!

The convexity at the top of the face was such that we couldn't really see what we were getting ourselves into all that well. So we made tentative side slips down for 10 metres before making the call to take the skis off and down climb a short section. Micke went first and made short work of it. I haven't been climbing for so long that I was struggling to get my mind around the gaping exposure and was subsequently slower.

Micke skirting the yawning abyss
We got our skis on again and made some cautious jump turns (intermingled with judicious side-slipping on my part) getting a feel for the snow conditions which turned out to be not so ideal: a crust which was supportable one turn and breakable the next. After the steeper upper face, reaching the couloir itself we were able to relax a bit and enjoy some fun skiing in a place where most likely no one had before (can never be certain but it seems feasible). There were a few cruxes yet to come in chokes down lower, which constricted to just two ski lengths wide (no photos) and a small ice-fall right at the bottom, but we made it down in one piece, with grins of both satisfaction and relief on our faces.

Here's a shoddy edit I slapped together a few minutes ago.

When we reached the road, I was given the opportunity to confirm what I'd heard about the Scarpa Alien boots being okay to run in- they actually are! I ran a kilometre back to the car and then we drove back to Narvik, arriving at work at 4:28. Another great day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Saying yes to Storfjellet

A couple years ago Andrew McLean wrote a brilliant post called "Practice Saying Yes", in which he suggested that the best way of squeezing more ski adventures into you life was to simply say yes every time the offer comes up. Its become something of a mantra for me in recent years.

After consecutive days with hefty portions of touring I was feeling like it might be wise to take an easy day and rest up for another outing I had planned for the following day. Then Gerold asked if I was keen to join him on an outing up Storfjellet, and I found myself struggling to justify my need for a rest day. Afterall its pretty rare that I actually regret spending time in the mountains- so I said yes.

In the end, a tight schedule meant that we didn't make the summit. We did, however, get some fun turns and beautiful views. Definately worth it!


Monday, February 11, 2013


Another awesome outing with Jan Eirik today. A tour so fun that its a wonder it was legal!

Surface hoar with Dronningen in the background
Skiing in the sun down from 3de toppen

We skinned up to 3'de toppen and then skied down in the sun towards Beisfjord, wrapping around the cliff band around 950 metres, then skinning back up towards the pass, we tooled around for a few minutes finding the right entry before ripping some pow down to Forsnesvatn. From here it was on with the skins and up the usual gully to gain the Beisfjordtøtta plateau, despite a couple skin failures we were making good time and tagged the summit, put a pinch of snus in our lips and skied down. One last short skin took us to Peak 1419, and then we cruised along the ridge to the Rombakstøtta pass, before dropping in on the skiers left couloir and skiing it down to the road at Straumsnes where we got picked up by one of Jan's colleagues- thanks.

More great snow on the descent to Forsnesvatn
With lots of wind transported snow around Fagernesfjellet and breakable crust being so predominant I'd never have expected to have found such light pow on all the aspects we skied. Wisdom would've suggested that the best skiing to be had today was around the south facing "five fingers", thankfully we aren't very wise and our silly plan payed off with some of with one the most efficient tours in some of the better snow I've ever had in this area.

Avery quick panorama from near Peak 1419

Skinning up to Beisfjordtøtta

Descent #4 of the day, down to Straumsnes
Splits for the trip:
Start at the base of Narvikfjellet
Tredjetoppen, 1:15
Pass above Forsnesvatn, 1:55
Beisfjordtøtta summit, 3:30
Peak 1419, 4:00
the road at Straumsnes, 4:35

Total vertical: 2300 m

Psyched for tomorrow!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Feb 4 - 9

This past week has been an exceptional one for me in terms of getting a whole bunch of ski touring in despite the usual hours at work. For the sake of mixing things up I thought I'd post all the tours in a list, Krupicka style.

Monday, 2700 metres of vert.  5 hours
Skinned up to Linken and enjoyed some low density pow down the backside to the little power station. Skinned up another lap, by which point the sun was shining and I couldn't resist skiing a south facing run beside Øra down to the treeline (first time I've had sunshine on my face since November!). Then another lap down the backside. After a brief break at the bottom of the hill to wax my skins which were glopping a little, I met up with Jan Eirik by chance and we skinned up to Tredje Toppen together. Strengthening winds made us sceptical about snow stability and we decided to play things safe by skiing the ridge between Mørkholla and the Tredjetoppen bowl. Our cautious route was evidently a wise move, as a bit of jumping up and down near a convexity at the top released a 20 metre wide soft slab about 30 cm deep in new drifted snow.
The skiing was exceptional!

Tuesday 3000 metres of vert. 5 hours
Feeling surprisingly fresh after yesterdays outing I decided to farm some more powder which is rarely so good up here in the north. I skied five laps from Linken down the backside to the power station. Managed to lose a drink bottle and a beanie from the crampon pocket on my Camp rando pack... Anyone seen 'em?
Windy day but still wildly good skiing!

Wednesday 1350 metres of vert. 2.5 hours
Met Jan Eirik and skinned up to the plateau between Andre and Tredjetoppen,  then enjoyed some powder in one of the middle of the "Fem Fingre" in the sun down to the treeline before skinning back up to the ridge and dropping in on the backside. With all the wind over the previous two days the conditions on northern aspects had taken a turn for the worse, with widespread breakable crust above tree line.

Friday, 1000 metres of vert. 1 hour
Did some hill repeats/ intervals: six laps of the lower slope at Narvikfjellet.
First time I've done intervals with my new race weight setup, and I'm stoked at how much of a difference a few hundred grams per foot makes!

Total vert: 8050 metres            Total time: 13.5 hours
A great week with a decent amount of vertical (for me), and my legs are feeling good. Living in a place which allows such great accessibility  to be able to skin 8050 metres of vertical without even getting in a car, is a luxury. That said I'm looking forward to getting further a field and onto some new mountains in the coming week.

Below are a couple photos from Wednesday's outing down one of the Fem Fingre.