17 April 2009

Easter in the Sunnmøre Alps

Easter is mountain time so just like last year we fled the abandoned city and headed 6 hours north to the Sunnmøre Alps. We stayed in the same place in Ørsta as last year except this time instead of 5 of us in a very small, 4 person cabin, we upgraded to 10 folk in a much larger and more salubrious pad, complete with hot tub.

Great drive up in my new car on Wednesday afternoon and arrived in good time. When we arrived we were amazed by the lack of snow. Last year there was snow down to sea-level and there was about a metre at the cabin. This year the snow line was at about 350 m and Spring was most definitely in the air.

First day of top touring we headed to Skårasalan. Parked amongst a group of marauding Swedes at the snow line and started up the track. Then turned up the hillside. As we started heading up more and more people appeared behind us, all moving quicker than me on my split board. It was a zoo! The climb was too steep for the board and made for pretty heavy going. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it! At one point I was ready to head back down but kept going and the angle eased off enough to make it just a steep slog. At the ridge line it was pretty windy and cold and the final 200 m to the summit was enshrouded in cloud so we stopped for a spot of lunch and watched the queues of people skiing off the top and back the way we had come it. It looked like a busy Saturday at Voss.
We opted to head down the glacier on the other side of the mountain. It was fantastic run down to the snow line with no other people. We then hiked the last klick down to the fjord, called a water taxi and were back in Sæbø in 20 minutes. An awesome first day out finishing up with an evening in the hot tub and an awesome massage and stretch from Sue. Great to have a professional on the trip.

Google earth view of the first day, note the water bit at the end (kml from Andy)

Second day and another tour. This time up Svinetinden. The climb was not so steep at least initially and the split boarding was going much better. Bailed out of a serious traverse at the very two and Katharine and I went back the way we had came while the other guys finished up the last couple of hundred meters. Another great day with some slack lining in the evening.

Google earth view of day 2 to 4 (kml from Andy). There was a bit more snow in the real world
The third day we headed to Stranda whilst the other guys did Kolåstinden, the peak that we did last year with Arne and Vibeke. We drove the long way around, took in the scenery and some HDR. At Stranda the conditions were shit so we opted for a bit of cross country which I am monumentally crap at. It actually went better than previous attempts and I actually managed to do a couple of hours, only ending on my arse twice.

The last day in the hills was a great blue sky day and we headed to Sylvkallen a long day which started with a hike through a peat bog which lead to a long traverse followed by a very long sustained climb . Things were defiantly getting better on the spilt board and I had no hassle as long as I took a less steep line than the other guys. Another great run down.

Last night, drank the remaining booze and eat the remaining food. Everyone too tired for a big party but still a fun night. Scott was leaving for Canada the next day and Amy goes in a couple of months, will be really sad to see them go, they have been good fun to go to the hills with.

Monday was an awesome blue sky day and we drove back to Bergen taking in the amazing scenery that is western Norway, deep fjords, snow capped mountains, dark foreboding cliffs with water falls cascading down. This is such an amazing time of year here.

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