Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exploring new lines in Sør Skjomen

Micke has a knack of finding choice lines in the Narvik region which don't feature on most skiers radars- skiing with him usually entails a fair degree of uncertainty about whether or not a line will "go", usually it does. And this is exactly the sort of thing which differentiates a great outing from a good one- setting out without knowing entirely what the day has in store.

Plans were layed for a tour on Friday in Sør Skjomen which Micke described as containing "something steep and most likely never skied before", nothing more needed to be said before I signed up.

Sweaty skintrack up from Skjombotn

Skiing from the rounded 1329m point of Meraftesfjellet down towards Middagsvatnet

Micke ripping some sun affected pow on the first descent

After another quick 300 metre ascent we reached our main objective for the day, a 600 vertical metre couloir on the NE face of Middagstind. We were happy to discover that the entrance wasn't corniced and while the line wasn't as steep as expected the aesthetics were superb.

Huge, towering wall on the left, steep rock studded slope on the right- the line reminded me a lot of the nearby Gagnesrenne.

The snow was a mix of packed powder on top of an old crust in some places and old avy debris in others

Jan Eirik 



The apron at the base of the couloir even offered some pretty views over the fjord

Jan Eirik

We rounded out the day with a few kilometres of hiking back to the car- a tiny price to pay for such a stunning outing.

Days like this are a great reminder of just how many unexplored lines there are in the nearby mountains. Living in Narvik, its wonderful having peaks like Tredjetoppen which offer a convenient and safe bet in terms of having decent skiing but not requiring much of an investment in either time or energy- every ski town has its own "Tredjetoppen", its the peak which you visit when you want to squeeze in some skiing before work at 9am, the peak which you know so well that you can navigate up in a whiteout, the peak where you bump into aquaintances halfway up. The Tredjetoppens of the world are fantastic and I love 'em, but its all these unknown lines like the couloir on Middagstind which get me fired up and psyched for getting out into the mountains tomorrow.

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