The last 2 weeks have been very frustrating - good weather during the week while I have been working for Petzl, but poor conditions at the weekends... in the meantime lots of big descents have been getting skied, not least the first repeat (29 years later) of Stefano de Benedetti's line on the East face of the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey - followed a couple of days later by young Brit gun Ben Briggs nipping up for a solo repeat - good effort!
So to ease the FOMO I have sorted through the last few days worth of photos from Lofoten:
THE classic peak of the Lofoten islands for ski touring, this aesthetic summit had barely been skied this winter due to unstable conditions, but as the snowpack had improved greatly over the weekend this was high on our list. The direct line up the first steepening involved a short section of water ice up a narrow couloir, nice to get front points and axe working. Here, Will is just exiting the ice section back on snow again:
Nearing the summit pyramid of Geitgaljern - unfortunately a large group of Germans and their guides were out today (20 people seems quite a lot to me!) so it wasn't quite the wilderness experience it might have been!
Bit of a Scottish feel to things near the top, with heavily rimed rock:
The last 80m to the summit are up a narrow 45º snow tongue between rocks and ice to a small but perfectly formed summit... sadly the clouds had rolled in by this time so the (apparently) amazing views were hidden - on the South side the mountain drops almost vertically down to not far above sea level! - We will just have to come back another day...
Fortunately only a handful of the germans decided to come to the summit, so after a short wait for them to climb we dropped in - perfect deep powder, shame we couldn't see more to really let loose.
Chipie trying to spot the line between the rocks and ice, not so easy in the cloud when everything looks white from above:
Perfect snow though:
The majority of the big group had already started skiing and there was a proper bunfight on the go with bodies & skis everywhere and lots of people skiing very close together - not ideal on steep powdery slopes. We waited for a propitious moment and blasted by and clear of the danger... Lower down I hung a left to ski a steep line I had spotted between some water ice bulges and a rock rib, finding perfect deep soft powder, while Will & Chipie lined up a little ice-skiing (move over Xavier de le Rue!).
A gentle run down past some cross country tracks took us back to the beach and the car again:
For our last full day in Lofoten we headed West again, spotting some objectives for a future trip on the way:
Himmeltind was our first port of call, with 800m of fun-angled North facing slopes:
Don't ask (because I don't know..)!:
A stunning, atmospheric day, with snowy squalls interspersed with bright blue skies:
And despite near gale force winds on the summit ridge, perfect, perfect powder:
A stunning place to ski:
All the way to the beach:
Back at the car I suggested a change of location to the other side of the island in an attempt to escape the high winds on the ridges - this turned into a major result - we parked up beside Kira's place and set off for Kangerurtind - round 2 for me on the North-West slope - but quickly diverted to nearby Tindeltinden (I believe this means 'Peak-y Peak', though a native Norwegian speaker may correct me on this...) and what turned into the run of the trip for me. Making the most of the last minutes of a blue hole I did a super-fast turn around and dropped into a line of perfect thigh-deep powder - skiing slightly blind the line just kept on opening up, even through the lower crag section, amazing! Chipie & Will hadn't been quick enough on the draw so we sat out the squall and then they skied down. At this point Kira appeared with his dog Kaisa in tow so we all headed for Kangerurtind and finally got a chance to open up the guns on what is a fantastic slope - what a way to end the day! Back at the car at 7:30pm it certainly felt like we had made the most of the conditions...
No photos sadly as my memory card had finally been filled up :-( Fortunately, my memory stills works fine (for now) and I will remember those runs for a long time.
And that was it - a windy day on Strandtinden on the way back to the mainland gave us our last fix of Norwegian powder, until next time!
** Note ** I will most definitely be running another trip here in Spring 2014 - get in touch for more details!