Afternoon hikes and ski-trips
|Sollia||661m||661m||Herøy/Sande, M&R, Norway||WCP|
|Hornet (Grøntua)||250m||232m||Sande, Norway||WCP|
SOLLIA, FEB 19 2018
Monday; one of the most stunning days in 2018! Anne and I took the soaking wet visitor’s register down from Sollia in the middle of January. Now that it had dried up, I had been looking for an opportunity to bring it back – and today was definitely the day.
The route from Leikongsætra and up to “Skaret” (the first pass) has its upsides and downsides. The upside was that I could ski from the car. The downside was that the snow was hard as ice. That’s OK going up, but going down here was a challenge. Especially on mountain skis without steel edges – I call them “dog skis“. You don’t have to take the dog to the vet in case of contact…
But from “Skaret” and up was just pure heaven. Very nice watching the sun set as Karma and I made our way to the top. I’ve been on many ski-trips, and I’ve been on Sollia many times, but I will remember this particular trip!
VARDANE (SULAFJELLET), FEB 20 2018
Tuesday; today I worked at the Ålesund office, and as I hadn’t been to the top of Sula island in 2018, this was my target for the day.
The day started great, with respect to the weather. But during the day, clouds moved in and I learned that it would start snowing in the evening. The question was – would we make it to the top before the snow came? Snow per se is not a problem, but this is coastal Norway, which means wind too…
I decided to start from Eikrem. The forest road was incredibly icy, so I took the short-cut through the forest. I had to carry the (dog) skis for 1,5km before we reached snow.
The trip up the forest and up the mountain was nice (although short skins was the wrong choice for the mountain ascent), and the light was a bit flat. The most important thing was that snow shower hadn’t come in yet.
When we reached the top, I could see the shower moving in from the ocean. I only stayed for a couple of pictures and to get the skins off. And just as we began our descent, the first drops of snow/rain hit us. But my skis and Karmas feet were faster than the shower, so the descent was quite nice. Except for when we got back on the forest road. Trying to control the speed on this icy road – without steel edges was just plain difficult. So, we ended up taking the same short-cut down the forest.
BLÅTIND, FEB 21 2018
Wednesday; I was working from my home office, and as the weather wasn’t all bad, I decided to ski Blåtind in the afternoon. That would give me the 3rd island high point, 3 days in a row (Sollia on Gurskøya and Vardane on Sula).
I planned to call it a day at 3:30pm (I started early) but by then it was hailing really bad. I checked the weather forecast; nothing but sunshine! Hmm…
So, I concluded that there would not be any more hail showers after this one, and logged off work at 4pm. Looking towards the mountain, it wasn’t quite clear if the bad weather was over, but I chose a route that would give us shelter until we reached 500m elevation, and then I could decide if I wanted to go for the top or turn around.
We started out from Haddal and I had to carry the skis (randonee today) for 0,6km. From there on, the snow was just gorgeous and if we could just avoid snow/hail showers, this trip could be one of the best up this mountain.
And it was! I find it hard to use the word “epic” for a mountain < 700m, but the happiness I felt back at the car, was … Well, I won’t forget this ski-trip in a while…
FROSTADTINDEN, FEB 22 2018
Thursday; I worked from the Ålesund office and the weather was stunning – again! As I recently had done the highest tops on 3 different islands (Gurskøy, Sula and Hareidlandet), I figured it could be fun to do Meraftafjellet – the highest on Uksenøya island.
But Meraftafjellet isn’t really a skiing mountain, and I didn’t feel like carrying the skies for several kilometers and decided to go to Frostadtinden instead. A mountain that I haven’t been to since 2007, but which I knew would deliver on both snow and tracks.
I drove up to the Storsætra trailhead and got into the load compartment of my Caddy Maxi to get changed. The sliding door closed behind me, and it was impossible to open it again. Same for the two other doors. Dafuq? Apparently, the children safety mechanism was on when I bought the car, and I hadn’t even thought about it.
Fortunately, a guy came skiing down the road just as I pulled in. After 2-3 minutes of hammering on the window, I got his attention and he opened the door for me. The trip could finally begin.
There was a nice 4,7km track all the way to the top, making life quite easy for Karma. The sun was setting as we ascended the mountain, and it vanished just before we reached the top. I considered skiing the 450 meters over to the high point (which is not where the cairn is located), but this would mean that I would need to use the headlamp on the way down. Which I didn’t want.
The descent was close to epic. There was a good sole, with fresh snow on top. I could just lean back, stare at the sky and let the skis flow. Karma ran as fast as she could, and I didn’t have to stop for more than a couple of a few seconds, to let her catch up.
We were back at the car just a few minutes before dark, and although I had 1,5 hours of driving (which includes a ferry) to get home, I wasn’t able to wipe the smile off my face until I got back home…
GARNESTUA & HADDALSHORNET, FEB 23 2018
Friday; the plan was to ski to Kongsvollen, but when I looked at the route from the road, I got discouraged. The hillside – with much more snow than usual – looked quite steep. Too steep with skins on, and I hadn’t brought crampons. So I decided to ski Garnestua instead. I was a bit disappointed about giving up on Kongsvollen, and when I saw that there was hardly any snow near the Garnestua trailhead, I expected this to be a trip I would forget already the same evening. But I was wrong.
Knowing the mountain well, I was able to ski from the car. I know where the winds blow, and where there are pockets of snow. A bit higher up, skiing was just delightful, and Karma had a proper floor to walk on.
On top of Garnestua, I decided to do a round trip. I wanted to return to the car with skis on my feet, and that would not be possible if I returned the same way. Well, I could of course ski all the way, but my skis wouldn’t like that. So, we headed towards Flåna, and along the way, I was a bit nervous about the descent from there. I know that the hillside towards Hasundhornet can be icy.
But, today the snow conditions were good enough for skiing, but not the light. I don’t see half as good as I used to, and on the way down, I was not able to see any form of contour in the snow. I decided to be brave, hoping that I knew the mountain well enough, got into hockey position, closed my eyes and ran down…
After a short ascent up to Hasundhornet, I started pondering on my return route. The road across Fjelle would be a safe bet – with snow. But also – possibly – some gravel. But the lake (Fjellsvatnet) seemed more exciting, and I decided to return across the lake.
I had a pretty nice run down to the lake, except for the very last part, where I had to fight a dense birch forest. Once on the lake, I had 1,5km of skating on randonee skis back to the trailhead. All in all, quite a fun trip!
VORAKINNA, FEB 24 2018
Saturday; not a great start to the day. My back was aching, for unknown reasons. It was hard to stand upright. Worse; the light outside was totally flat. I had to figure out where to go, and after thinking long and hard, I ended up with Svartetua (842m) in Vanylven.
I postponed departure, hoping the back would improve. It didn’t, so I aimed for the 12:45 ferry to Koparneset. I had never skied Svartetua before, so I didn’t quite know where to start from. While driving back and forth to find me a good trailhead, Anne called from India. The reception was poor, so I decided quickly to drive to Fiskå (better reception there) and ski Vorakinna instead.
I parked where I had parked one week earlier, when I skied Storebøra, and hoped that the owner would suddenly turn up, like he did in 2009, 2012 and last week. And suddenly, there he was…
Not much had happened in a week. I could still see my old tracks down the forest road. On top of the forest road, I sat the course eastbound, aiming directly for Vorakinna.
The snow was a bit deep, but Karma managed OK. I struggled a bit crossing the creek from Vorkinndalen, but once that hurdle was behind me, the rest of the route to the top went without any problems. As I hadn’t been to Okla before, I decided to pay this small top a visit before aiming for the top.
The descent from the top was not nice. I practically didn’t see anything, even though I had put on glasses and snow goggles. From time to time, Karma was ahead of me, which helped. I looked forward to reach the forest road, where the light was less flat. But what I hadn’t noticed on the way up, was that there was an icy crust on top of the snow, and the fun disappeared in an instant.
Back at the car, I realized that I had completely forgotten about the back during the trip. But as soon as I got back into the car, it was just as bad again. But all in all, it was nice to have been out skiing again – for the 6th day in a row…
Back home, I took Karma out for a round of soccer. She’s a natural talent. Textbook precision…
SANDSØYA, FEB 25 2018
Sunday; my back had not improved, and I did not feel like lifting heavy boots and skis today. The weather forecast wasn’t great either, with rain moving in sometime in the afternoon. I wanted an easy hike, wearing my light terrain shoes. Sandsøya island was a perfect candidate. Hardly any snow left.
I took the 11:45am ferry to Voksa, and decided to return with the 4:15pm ferry. That would give me approx. 3h:45m for hiking. So, I decided to hike across Rinden, Øyna, Dollsteinen, Hellandsfjella and Hornet. By 12:20pm, Karma and I were on our way up to the island high point – Rinden (369m).
This was an easy and nice, and the weather was OK so far. We continued across Øyna, which was the only place where we had to cross snow.
I looked forward to Dollsteinen. The view from Øyna is always dramatic (ref. the above picture)
Dollsteinen may look steep, but it’s actually an easy hike. Well … perhaps not easy enough, as it’s the only top on the island that’s not part of the popular 7-top route. Fortunately, there was no ice on the path.
From the top, I could see a major rain shower moving in from the ocean, slightly north of us. We descended from Dollsteinen and aimed for Hellandsfjella. We were now in the outskirts of the shower, and I felt some drops of rain.
The last top on the agenda was Hornet/Grøntua. When we reached the top, we had ascended 1000 vertical meters in total.
When we reached Sandshamn, I looked at the clock for the first time. 3pm. I reckoned it would be 25 minutes to the trailhead, and any plans about hiking Vorakletten and Kulen were put aside. 12,9km was a good hike anyway.
Even if I had 45 minutes before the ferry came, it was nice to just relax, stretch a little and check the news from the last day of the Olympics. Some games for Norway – on top of the list of medals. Not bad for a small country…