Sunndalsnipa, Feb 4 2017

First ski-trip in 2017!

Peaks visited:

Peak Height PF Municipality WCP
Sunndalsnipa 1396m 566m Volda WCP
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Sunndalsnipa (April, 2012)

Going skiing this Saturday seemed like a crazy idea. The grapevine said that the little snow there was in the Sunnmøre alps, was icy. But still, Anne and I agreed to give a ski-trip up Sunndalsnipa a try. We still remembered the fantastic spring ski-trip we had there in April last year. It was just weird that there was far less snow now in February.

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Our Feb 4 2017 route

We drove to the Grøndalen trailhead and headed out 11:37am. We didn’t want a too early start and hoped that the sunshine would melt a tiny layer of ice, so we could enjoy at least some of the descent.

When we arrived Grøndalen, there were 5 cars at the trailhead. The mountain would not certainly be crowded like the last time we were here. A couple with a dog was heading out at the same time, but they were not going up the mountain. But Karma got to play for some minutes. I hoped that she wouldn’t blow all of her steam before the trip had started.

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Karma got a good start to the trip…

A woman from Bjørke head out ahead of us. We followed after her up the birch forest. She seemed to know the best route. The snow was hard and we might just as well have walked up the mountain.

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Up the birch forest. Lake Grøndalsvatnet in the background.

This was my first ski-trip in 2017, and it was SO nice to be out skiing in the sunshine. Man, how I have missed days like this. In the winter/spring season, skiing is part of Anne’s job. She is a park ranger and used to stunning nature, but she’s all big smiles when she’s visiting the Sunnmøre alps in the sunshine.

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A happy Anne, on the way to Sunndalsnipa

We passed a small group of skiers at a place where it’s popular to stop for lunch. We could now see the steepest part of the route ahead of us. Last year, this hill didn’t offer any problems, but I feared that we could run into ice today.

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The steepest part of the route, ahead of us

You have to make the decision before taking on this hill. Either ski all the way up or put the crampons on and walk up. Can’t swap from skis to crampos in the middle of it. I decided to walk up without crampons and walk back down if I ran into frozen snow. To my surprise, the snow was quite soft. Anne also put her skis on her backpack and followed in my footsteps.

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On top of the steep hill, waiting for Anne

It was the final hill before the summit plateau that made me put the crampons on. Most of the hill had frozen snow. If I didn’t have the dog to worry about, I would have skied up here. But I didn’t want Karma to walk unleashed here and it would be too awkward focusing on both skiing and leading the dog. A fall could cause a potentially dangerous slide. Even with skis. Better safe than sorry.

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The final hill ahead

Finally, we reached the summit plateau, put our skis back on and could enjoy the final kilometer “on top of the world”.

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Anne, arriving on Sunndalsnipa summit

The summit views were just as nice as always. If it hadn’t been for a very cold wind, it would have been very nice to sit down and enjoy lunch. Instead, we took the skins off and turned around without any further delays.

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Anne and Karma on Sunndalsnipa
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Summit view from Sunndalsnipa. Eidskyrkja is central in this picture.

Back at the hill where we used crampons, we decided to ski down. I tried to keep Karma behind me, but my stress affected her and she was constantly barking. And she NEVER barks!

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Anne, skiing down the upper hill. Very hard snow!

Then we got to the steepest hill. I skied down the very steepest slope where the snow was soft. Anne went further left where the snow was much harder. My heart almost stood still, watching her descend. If she had fallen, she would have fallen off the mountain. That would have been very, very bad.

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Watching Anne ski down the most exposed part

Now that the creepy sections were behind us, we stopped for lunch. There was no wind down here and we enjoyed the break.

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Karma wonders if she might get some of the human food…

The rest of the descent was OK. The snow was still hard, but we had a good time down the mountain. Karma was in heaven of course, with hard snow and a birch forest full of interesting tracks and smells.

We were back at the trailhead approx. 4 hours after leaving it. It was definitely a big bonus to have started the skiing season!

Pictures from the trip:

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