Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Lofoten 2014 - part 4 - Stornappstind

On day 7 I took a calculated gamble and we headed off to the 'Wild West'. Everyone I knew on the islands had been focussing on the classic East Vagoya island mountains, with scant reports from further West. I was convinced we would find something worthwhile, and so it turned out...:

South face of Stornappstind - we were heading for the gully dropping directly below the summit:

Skinning from the car door once again!:

Start of the bootpack in the South gully of Stornappstind:

400m of bootpacking nearly done:

Out onto the mellower slopes of the West ridge:

Last year we had a spectacular day skiing the West face of Stornappstind, and the views this year again didn't disappoint - in fact I think this may well be my favourite mountain anywhere!

Happy crew on the summit:

A short wait was needed on the summit as a slightly fresh wind was delaying the snow softening, but after 45 minutes or so we headed over to the top of the couloir and found the snow 'cooked' to perfection.

Mark and Ian dropping in:




How good was that? 400m of great steep spring snow, with another 400 of mellower slopes down to the car still to come!:

Looking back up the couloir:

Back at the car we put our tourist hats on and went for a drive to the village of å - the furthest West you can get on Lofoten roads (and the last letter in the Norwegian alphabet apparently...). The scenery was simply stunning:

An absolute top notch day in the mountains - great skiing, great team, great summit, great views... what more can you ask for?

Lofoten 2014 - part 3

Day 6, with a great weather forecast and sunny aspects rapidly transforming, we headed initially for a North-facing objective spotted the day before, however on arriving back at the teepee we witnessed an early-starting team triggering a slab partway up the route. Having made sure they were OK we swiftly revised plans and headed up the sunny side to Trollsadelen.
The pictures speak for themselves:

A couple of photos courtesy of Nick Mason/Summit Photographs:

Our funky residence for the second week:

Monday, 28 April 2014

Lofoten 2014 - part 2

Day 4
A mixed forecast which turned into a belter of a day with 3 great runs on the East, South then North sides of Rundfjellet with untouched powder on all sides!

Skinning to the ridge after a great run on the East face:

An untouched South face in perfect powder? Thank you very much!

And back onto the East face for what I believe 'the kidz' would call 'cold smoke':

And some twilight powder on the North side back down to the cars:

Did I mention I quite like these islands?

Day 5 and we headed back round to the 'Big G', with Kristin joining us once again. This time we ticked the summit (nice to see the views this time after some poorly-timed mist last year!) and had a good run down the Krokelva valley followed by some 'interesting' combat skiing through the trees!

Morning view from our flat in Henningsvaer:

Geitgaljern is a stunning peak:

A couple of other teams out today:

Geitgaljern summit is a real classic 'Aiguille':

South gully looking good again:

Obligatory team shot on the summit:

It's a fair way down!:

Good powder in the top of the Krokelva:

And good spring snow lower down:

Norwegian Indians?:

A rest for weary legs on the skin back out:

Once again another high quality day in the context of one of the worst winters for snow in recent history in Lofoten!

More to follow - including another stunning result in the Wild West...

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Lofoten 2014 - part 1

By cod its good...!

Last year I spent an amazing 2 weeks in the Lofoten Islands in Arctic Norway. Round 2 was swiftly arranged (for even longer!), but then doubts set in. In 2013 Lofoten had experienced the snowiest March in 25 years, 2014 was shaping up to be the least snowy winter in 25 years - had I made the mistake of going back to a place we had skied in exceptional conditions?

Of course not:

Photo ©Nick Mason/Summit Photographs

Despite some areas having almost no snow, we managed to ski from and to the car every day for the first 9 days - not bad considering the lack of snow this winter. For comparison purposes check out the photos looking up Presten couloir this year and skiing to the waters edge in the same spot last year...:

So with this in mind I am now even more impressed with Lofoten - a poor (really poor) snow year and we still managed to have amazing skiing!

A selection of photos:

Day 1 - Half of the team were held up by a cancelled flight out of Heathrow, so Ian, Jim and I had a short morning leg stretcher, finding some heavy powder to lay down some tracks in:

In the afternoon, with the team now complete and settled into our accommodation we all headed into Trolldalen for a cheeky little couloir:

Day 2 and with a good forecast we made tracks over to Geitgaljern. A wind-loaded bowl stopped us heading right to the top, but we had a good run down the West face, followed by an incredible powder run in the South gully!

Joining the team today was Kristin Folsland Olsen, a local journalist/photographer/explorer who we had helped rescue almost exactly a year ago to the day only a few kilometres from Geitgaljern when we came across her lying with a broken pelvis on a stormy day... (for more details see here...) It was great to see Kristin back up and ripping again!:

Day 3, and the forecast was decidedly Lofoten-esque so we stayed on one of the local bad weather spots, with a couple of laps for the keen team:

Variable visibility, but nice soft powder in the gullies, and great views over Svolvaer in the clear spells.

The evening saw Nick once again celebrating his birthday in style above the Arctic circle with a fine cake courtesy of Matteo at the Climbing Café:

More to follow...