Monday, April 15, 2013

Skiing from Storfjellet's West Summit

Thursday promised decent weather and with work not starting until 3pm I joined Micke, Anna and Einar to ski the west face of Storfjellet's west summit. After mentioning the day's plans to some buddies at work, and being met with responses along the lines of "... you're never going to make it back to work in time", I rushed out the door wondering inwardly if our schedule was indeed overly ambitious...

We drove to the regular trailhead in Stublidalen and started skinning up the snowmobile tracks through the forest and then putting a track of our own in above treeline. After a few days of strong winds it wasn't surprising to find that windboard was the predominant type of snow and on a few occasions I found myself wishing for ski crampons.

Einar skinning towards the project of the day.

We followed the regular route: traversing above the lake on the southern facing slopes and continuing to the pass just south of the main summit. From here we departed from the regular route and instead followed the ridge in the opposite direction.

Skinning away from Storfjellet's main summit.

 Micke nearing the West summit

The last 20 metres to gain the ridge were steep snow climbing, but we were able to make our way up without crampons or axes and were greeted with an immense view over the surrounding mountains and fjords in perfectly calm weather. It would've been nice to hang around for a bit and enjoy the setting but the clock was ticking... the time was 1:30 pm, we had an hour to ski down in order for me to make it to work on time.

Micke started tentatively skiing down the face towards a rollover to view the rest of the line, the rest of us following not too far behind. Micke reported that the skiing below the rollover looked so steep that it seemed we had started down the wrong part of the face. So we booted back up to the ridge and headed further towards skiers left until we found our intended descent route.

The skiing was variable, with a windboard that was supportable for some turns and breakable for others, down lower there was a decent band of drifted powder. The line itself (once we found it) is certainly a local classic, much more sustained and involving much more fall line skiing than the regular descent from Storfjellet's main summit.
The arrow shows our line (and my lack of skills with photo editing).
If you look carefully you can see our tracks.

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