Sunday, March 8, 2015

Beisfjordtøtta Glacier

Earlier in the week Micke mentioned a new line on Beisfjordtøtta he was keen to check out. With a decent weather forecast and work not starting until the afternoon we decided to go for it on Thursday. Skinning up from the base of the ski hill we did a bit more reconnaissance for the upcoming Narvik Rando which will be happening next weekend. If the weather cooperates this course promises to be the best, most scenic and memorable ski mountaineering event in Norway- if you haven't signed up already it isn't too late. Around treeline we were joined by Einar and continued up along the course route to Tredjetoppen.

Typical views from the Narvik sidecountry. Photo: Einar
Enroute to Tredjetoppen with some of the driving forces behind NarvikRando
From Tredjetoppen we skied the usual line, wrapping around the cliff bands at 1000m. before skinning back up to the Forsnes ramp. The normal line down to Forsnesvatnet skied beautifully like it usually does. Then we skinned up to the saddle between Jøden and Beisfjordtøtta, followed by a short bootpack along the rimed up ridge line until we reached a notch in the ridge where Micke's idea awaited. 

Micke skiing from 3de toppen

Skinning up to the Forsnes ramp with Sovende Dronning in the background

Micke dropping in on the Forsnes ramp

Einar making his way down the Forsnes ramp

Micke slaying the Forsnes ramp

Einar booting up the rimey ridge line

 The entrance to the line was guarded by a small cornice, which made viewing the couloir below kind of tricky- Micke made short work of tidying it up with shovel whilst tied in. After a steep rollover in the entrance around 45, the couloir mellowed a little to around 40 and offered some fun turns with a double fall line. Once down on the glacier the slope angle eased up and offered some fun, cruisy turns straight down the fall line. Below this another couloir, in the realm of 30-35 was skied to exit the glacier. From here some traversing and a bit of bushwhacking took us down to the road near Beisfjord. In total the final descent involved about 1400 metres of vertical, varied in the sort of skiing it offered up but also somewhat consistent and sustained in the attention it captured. Like any really good line, once it has been skied, it seems totally obvious and I was left wondering why it wasn't skied regularly.

Sizing up the entrance couloir. Photo: Micke

Einar skiing the entrance couloir.

Fun pow turns on the glacier sandwiched in between two nice couloirs

Micke in the exit couloir

Einar and myself skiing the exit couloir. Photo: Micke

Whilst skiing through the trees on the way down I saw a wolverine!
He bolted uphill. These are his tracks.

Walking the last hundred metres to the road.

Down at the road we were a little late for the bus we had planned on catching, but instead of waiting for the next one happily got a lift back to town from one of Einar's work buddies. 

This was all before work and all accessible without a car. After years in Narvik I am still amazed by the proximity of great ski lines and the fact that there are still so many "un-skied classics" like this one waiting to be discovered.

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