Blæja, May 10 2017

Ski-trip to the highest top in Vanylven

Peaks visited:

Peak Height PF Municipality GPX
Blæja 1142m 654m Vanylven GPX
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Blæja (center) seen from Koparneset. We went up the pass in center.

Halfway through my working day, I got a text message from Bjørn Skoge, who announced a ski-trip to Blæja directly after work. It was my on-duty week, and when I learned that there was no cell coverage up there, I turned the invite down. But then I asked my colleague Morten if he could have my back for a few hours, and when he said “go!”, it was game on!

I met Bjørn and the others at the Årvika ferry at 4:15pm. “The others” were Sindre, Leif Ola and Karsten – and Karsten’s dog Aya. My dog Karma came along too, of course. We drove to Syvden, then into Saurdalen and finally up Røvsdalen. Or is it Sørdalen and Ripsdalen? The trailhead was Røvsdalsætra. Or is it Ripsdalsætra?

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Getting ready at Røvsdalssætra

In any case, the elevation was approx. 300m and we had to carry the skis up to Tåbrotet  (approx. 520m) and then some, before we could put the skis on. The other guys put up a furious pace, which took me by surprise. My shape is not top notch yet, but if felt PLAIN WRONG to be the last in line. I decided to pick myself up and in not too long I was in front with the other guys.

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On our way up from Røvsdalssætra

It was a wonderful evening, but the big question was if the snow up to the Blæjeskardet pass would be too hard? As the temperature was 11 deg. at the trailhead, I had good faith.

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To the mountain!

We skied up to the cabin by Blæjevatnet and then crossed the lake. From a distance, the route up to the pass didn’t look too steep, but I assumed it would be slightly steeper than it appeared to be.

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Crossing Lake Blæjevatnet

When we reached the foothills of the slope up to the pass, we got some sunshine. I welcomed the sunshine, as it didn’t make the light quite so flat. I hate flat light in steep slopes. My sight is not as it was when I was younger. And the slope was indeed steeper than it appeared to be from a distance.

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On our way up to the pass

Once up in the pass, I looked up the ridge and didn’t like the route ahead. But then Bjørn told me that we had to ascend on the back side. I’ve been to Blæja once before, but then I hiked the narrow ridge between Litleblæja and Blæja, and never noticed the terrain below.

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In the pass. The route does NOT go up here.

From the pass, there was an icy crust on the snow and Karma struggled a bit. But things got better as we approached the summit. In fact, in the final hill, the snow was perfect!

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Ascending Blæja with Blæjeskartinden in the background

We left the trailhead just before 5pm and arrived on top at 6:45pm. The distance was approx. 5,5km. I had kept a steady pace all the way from the lake, and I was curious how my “comfort pace” sat with the others.  I couldn’t shake Bjørn off. And Sindre was closing in quickly. I hadn’t eaten any useful food since 11:30am, and I knew that extra gear I had couldn’t be used without “fuel”. Leif Ola was the last one up, and had the “what the…?” look on his face. “Are we having a race?”

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Sindre, arriving on Blæja

In this modern day and age, everyone was all over the place with mobile phones. And then there was me, with my Canon EOS 80D. Well, I also brough my Iphone, which is quite OK for panoramas…

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Photo session on Blæja (taken with Iphone)

 

We all could agree that the summit views are… pretty good!

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Summit panorama from Blæja

Time for descent! I headed down first. Karma has a nasty habit of staying very close to skis, so I didn’t want anyone else around her. The upper descent was beautiful. The traverse to the pass was the opposite (that icy crust…). The descent down to the lake was semi-OK. The snow was good, but the light was totally flat and I struggled to see contours.

I watched the other guys descend this hill. I was quite impressed with their skiing technique – and their overall shape. Don’t go on a trip with these guys if you’re in bad shape!

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The others, descending from the pass

Then we had a 1km flat pitch across the lake. I tried to get Karma to pull, but she wasn’t interested. Aya, on the other hand, dragged Karsten as if it was Iditarod

The snow was much softer on the leg back to Tåbrotet. Karma struggled big time, and Aya “killed her” in the downhill. I’ve had some words with Karma about her performance, and she admitted it wasn’t her finest moment…

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Karma – with severe performance problems…

We were back at the trailhead at 8pm and reached the 8:30pm ferry with good margin. Bjørn insisted on buying a round of soft-ice at the Larsnes gas station (where his wife works), and given the time of day, that soft-ice became the Wednesday dinner…

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The route

Pictures from the trip:

 

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