Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Presten couloir (Fishy Tales part 5)

After a week ski touring in Lofoten with Ian, Mark, Nick and Mike it was time for a switch. The venue stayed the same, but the players were different. Having dropped the guys off in Evenes I promptly picked up Will, who had arrived on the same flight, and we headed back out to Lofoten, picking up Chipie en route, having made his way by boat(s) and bus from Tromso...

With little time but keen to make the most of the stabilising snowpack and the current spell of good weather we needed a relatively short objective for an evening session and the Presten couloir seemed perfect for this - roadside, 500m high, with the steepness starting almost from the car door:

The Presten couloir is at centre of the picture above - the big rock buttress to the right is the Presten or 'Priest' itself and is home to some high quality rock climbing.

Easy access by definition... park in the layby at the bottom of the couloir, open your car door and start climbing!

The first 100m of the couloir are skinnable in good conditions, but soon the angle kicks up and skis go on the pack:

The higher you climb the more impressive the scenery becomes:

Will breaking trail up to the narrows just below half height - often the crux of the couloir (and a mixed/water ice step) this was completely filled in with snow:

The top 300m of the couloir remain narrow, with the angle hovering about the 45º mark (though I have seen clinometer-measured quotes of 50...) - the last 30m to the col were a little scratchy, with a very thin (to non-existent) covering of snow over frozen grass and moss - fine on the way up, 'interesting' on the way down...

Will about to negotiate the frozen grass and moss section at the top - a delicate start to the descent!

Chipie in the upper section the couloir - steep and tight here:

Will threading his way through the boulder choke section:

Atmospheric skiing in the couloir with rock walls towering on either side (Chipie is in there if you look closely!):

Happy campers in the evening sun!

Chipie pulling the new freestyle move: "air to beach"

5 minutes drive took us to the Climber's Café for a pint of very expensive beer to celebrate mopped up with Mateo's fine cod stew!

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