Friday, April 26, 2013

Skiing solo on Senja

My folks visited me here in northern Norway last week and I took a few days off work so that we could drive up to the island of Senja. Over the past few years I've heard many reports of it being one of the most beautiful and dramatic locales in all of Norway, and it totally lived up to expectations. Its kind of like Norway in miniature: wild mountains, deep fjords, fickle weather and locals who speak bizarre dialects which makes communication problematic.

The island is blessed with some of the finest looking couloirs in Scandinavia and I'm looking forward to getting back there in the future to explore some of the steeper lines which it has to offer.

On Tuesday I was eager to burn of some energy with a quick trip and decided to have a crack at Breitind, the highest peak on Senja at 1010 metres. Skinning started by the road, which was hugging the fjord- it was amazing to see that there is still close to half a metre of snow at sea level in Senja, here in Narvik there is nothing below 200 metres.

Mefjord and me.

Breitind's SE face
Some typical early spring "mashed potato snow" down low turned in packed powder above 500 metres. I didn't have a real map with me, but a low res. image on my phone gave me a rough idea of the route ahead, and once I wrapped around the pass just south of the peak the rest of the route was obvious. I skinned up and across some old avy debris to about 900 metres. From here I booted up a disconcertingly shallow snow pack 'til I was about 10 metres from the summit cairn. I decided not to continue on the exposed rock scramble which led the final metres.

Looking down from my high point

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