Another mixed weather week and one magical ski-trip
|Heida||239m||126m||Herøy, M&R, Norway||WCP|
|Kleppeåsen||151m||98m||Herøy, M&R, Norway||WCP|
|Rjåhornet||421m||68m||Herøy, M&R, Norway||WCP|
|Sollia||661m||661m||Herøy/Sande, M&R, Norway||WCP|
|Rjåhornet||421m||68m||Herøy, M&R, Norway||WCP|
|Røddalshorn||563m||100m||Herøy, M&R, Norway||WCP|
Monday: Wouldn’t you know – after a day with a blue sky, nasty weather was on its way in the afternoon. But, it seemed like I had a couple of hours to do some hiking before the weather got too ugly.
I decided to visit Haddalshornet, along a familiar route from Aursnes. It would be a fairly long hike (relative to an afternoon hike) – probably up to 10km if I did the usual round. Which meant that I would be ascending Haddalshornet in a steep slope that could be icy at this time of the year. I had only small ice grippers to put on the boots. They work OK on hard snow but not well on ice. Time would tell. I would of course turn around if I ran into ice, but now there was a “nerve” that gave me energy.
On the way to Aursnes, I discovered something that looked like a path up Hatledalen, and decided to follow it. New routes always give me more energy. After a while, this route joined the normal route from Aursnes and soon we were on the ridge leading towards Haddalshornet.
Due to a strong wind, possible incoming rain and lots of snow ahead, I decided to “suit up” Karma.
When I realized that the left flank (above picture) could very well be icy, I considered the right flank – which is not that exposed in the event of a slide. But the wind was so strong that all I could think of was to get in the lee side and away from it. So, we headed for the left flank.
To my delight, the snow seemed for the most part just HARD, although there were ice here and there. This was good news. I know a route that is fairly safe most of the way and headed upwards.
It was then time to put the camera in the backpack, make sure the dog walked behind me and FOCUS. Because we would have to pass a couple of couloirs that didn’t seem to have any bottom. A slide would be really, really bad. As I’m always determined to return home safe and sound, I decided to take one step at a time. If I ran into ice, I would turn around. No doubt about it.
But there were no ice as we crossed the couloirs, nor in the final hill up to the summit ridge and I felt a sigh of relief once we were on the safe side. One thing was for certain – we would NOT descend the same route!
To Karma’s (and also my) despair, I had forgotten to bring summit treats. Karma alienated me for a little while but decided to come along when I began my descent on the other side.
Descending the Havåg route meant dealing with a whole lot of snow, mostly deep, but that was not a concern I had today. Anything but our ascent route would be perfect! I then noticed a military vessel in the fjord and stopped to take a picture. Karma naturally assumed she was the model and posed 😉
After zooming in, I could see it was a frigate and when I googled it, I learned that it was KNM Fridtjof Nansen – probably returning home after operation Cold Response in the north.
As mentioned – the route to Havåg offered a lot of snow. On the picture below, we’re at an elevation which was as good as free of snow on the other side of the mountain.
Halfway down the forest, I decided to follow footsteps towards Britahaugen. Which meant more walking in snow, but less distance along the main road.
And when we got to the fork above Britahaugen, we followed another path that took us to Aursnes. This was my first longer round trip across the mountain without ANY walking along the main road. Something I was mighty pleased about.
And a couple of hours after returning home, the nasty weather sat in…
Trip statistics: 8,6km, 750 vertical meters, 2h:40m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the hike:
Tuesday: As I’m writing down this report, I’ve passed 80 hours in voluntary isolation and it’s 80 hours since I spoke with anyone face to face. Working from home is a delight, as I don’t have to get up 5am in the morning. My productivity is higher than ever and it feels just obvious to contribute to the “Stay Home” (if you can) campaign. However, tomorrow morning I will need to get some groceries, and then I should be good for another 90-100 hours all by myself. And the dog, of course…
The weather today was really crappy and the forecast is crappy too. Which fits perfectly with the situation we’re in.
But isolation doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy being in the nature, as long as there’s just me and the dog. So, even if it rains, we just HAVE to get out. A sentence appeared in my head; “when the winds go high, we go low“. I really liked it, and googled it when I got back home. Darn – one person had used that expression before.
And low we went! More precisely, to Eika island where a long forest hike awaited. Well, it wasn’t really a LONG hike, but it felt LONG due to the cumbersome terrain.
My plan was go to Sundet, then hike across Nakken, Eikenakken, Grønnakken and an unnamed top on the southwest side of the island, before returning along the main (and basically only) road on the island. If possible, weather permitted, visit the southwest tip of the island – where I’ve not been before.
The terrain was partly easy, partly cumbersome. Karma was on “deer alert” most of the way, but the highlight was when a giant eagle lifted from a tree just above us. It looked like an airplane from below. The trees did a good job protecting us from the hail, but let the rain through.
From Nakken, we sat course for Grønnakken and I enjoyed the terrain here. First, open and friendly forest, and then fun obstacles…
Eventually we reached the island high point – Eikenakken.
From Eikenakken, we sat course for the unnamed top. I didn’t even consider visiting the tip of the island. I was quite wet and my fingers were numb and all I wanted to do was to get back home. Despite the grim reality awaiting on the TV. Which made me appreciate this stop-life-for-a-little-while moment we had in the Eika forest.
Trip statistics: 7,6km, 410 vertical meters, 2h:05m
Wednesday: Oh my, today the weather was bad. But, I felt really good after the working day had ended and decided to take the dog for a forest walk. On a day like this, it’s a win-win. A forest providing some shelter for me, and forest smells for the dog. And so I decided to hike Heida. If the weather was just too bad, we could just return back to the car. If the weather got slightly better, I had several options for extending the hike.
We spent 10 minutes inside the car, waiting for the incredible rain/hail shower to pass. Once the worst part was over, we headed out. On the below picture, you can see how it looks like when the shower had “passed”…
On our way up to Heida, mother nature decided to add thunder to the mix. But, it wasn’t right *here* and it faded out. So, we continued to the top of Heida.
Now that we were all wet and accustomed to the bad weather, we might as well continue. We sat course for Kleppeåsen and had an off-trail hike in awful terrain.
We crossed the main road and the grassy field I had set my eyes on – as a route up to Kleppeåsen – was occupied by a woman and her two horses. So I had to find a different route.
That route was bordering to a violation of someone’s privacy, but I don’t think anyone saw us – as we sneaked past the house. Just as I thought we had passed all obstacles, a mighty tall fence appeared in front of us! The fence was too tall to lift Karma across, but then I found a rock that I could climb on and get both of us across. And a few minutes later, we were on top of Kleppeåsen.
We descended along the normal path back to the road and followed the gravel road in the direction of the car. Then I figured that we could visit Brendeåsen as well. It seemed to be quite close. The terrain turned out to be a nightmare. In several places, I had to lift Karma up and cling to bush to get myself up. It didn’t work the first time, and I landed on my back in a sea of juniper bush. But I got up on second attempt and – what seemed to be a small lifetime later – we were on top. Or so I thought…
It wasn’t the top. To get there, we had to pass through similar terrain and I was now so wet that it felt that water was coming out of my hiking boots. When we got to the top, we followed the (vague) path down to the gravel road and then the car was just a few minutes away.
Trip statistics: 5,5km, 410 vertical meters, 1h:38m
Thursday: Although the weather was not good, I still looked forward to get out and find somewhere to walk the dog, after my working day (from home) had ended.
When I got on the main road (still not knowing where I would end up), I could see that the higher mountains had fog – and a lot of snow. So, I decided to hike Garneshornet, which was just 450 vertical meters straight up from the parking at the Garneskrysset junction.
Higher up, it began to snow. And the snow on the ground was deep and rotten. I would still make it to Garneshornet, but that would surely be it!
When I got to lake Garnesvatnet, it seemed to be clearing up. And there was less snow here. So, I decided to make Flåna my target.
Karma had the time of her life…
Just before we reached Flåna, I figured that the weather was good enough to go for Garnestua. It would not be good to be up here if a new snow shower accompanied with strong winds came along. But it seemed like we had a “window of opportunity”.
Walking towards Garnestua, I was SO happy. This was a GOLDEN window of nice weather, the snow carried my weight and … I don’t know. I was just … happy!
When we reached the top, there was no imminent threat in the horizon, and we took our time up there. But the best thing was yet to come…
Back at Flåna, we got sunshine. Not just any sunshine, but the just-before-sunset-sunshine. And it was the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long while…
Back at lake Garnesvatnet, I decided to also visit my original target – Garneshornet.
It was just so nice. Forgotten was the crisis we all are in for this very brief moment in time. And some of us don’t even know there is a crisis…
Trip statistics: 7,3km, 800 vertical meters, 2h:34m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the hike:
Friday: Healthwise, this was a crap day. No, I haven’t gotten the Corona-virus, but the body was running on low-gear throughout my working day. Afterwards, I needed to rest, but my body was in so much stress that I wasn’t able to relax. I was also too fatigued to get up and it was the sense of blue sky that finally made me pull myself out of bed. I’ve had 5 good days, so what was the problem now? Yesterday, I had an onion in my vegetable mix and I enjoyed a little bit of chocolate. Damn, which had nuts. I totally forgot. My plan was to stay the away from nuts, to see if would make a positive difference.
I have absolutely no idea what causes this “stress” inside my body, and my only current lead is potential food allergy. So, I’m writing down everything I eat and “score” my days in red (bad), amber (so and so) and green (OK). Hopefully, I can see a pattern after a while…
I wondered what weather I would get, once outside. It had snowed and cleared up multiple times during the day, but right now – it was clear. I decided to go to Rjåhornet, which was a good target – given the amount of daylight left.
I drove to Leikong and we followed the normal route upwards. It was pretty obvious that this was a snow shower day, and the snow showers seemed to be everywhere but just right here…
The first 1/3 of the ascent was fairly easy, but when I reached the snow – everything just got much harder. And now I really felt the fatigue. Still, the energy I got from NOT being in one of those snow showers suppressed the fatigue.
It was really good to reach the top, with all the stunning scenery all around. Now, I was ready to handle a snow shower.
But we got fog instead. For a few minutes. That didn’t matter much, as Karma had to be “fed”…
Then the fog started to lift, and it felt just awesome to be on top of this mountain.
On the way down, it seemed like we would have nice weather throughout the hike.
But then a “biggie” same along.
The “biggie” first hit the Myrvåg/Dragsund area – where I live.
Then it came our way.
At Bakkehornet (roughly halfway down), I decided to go off-trail down the forest, where I’ve never gone before.
And then we got it…
After a little while off-trail, we stumbled onto a path that I decided to follow. This path led us to Bakkehammaren – a viewpoint that I’ve heard about, but I never knew the location. This was a big bonus! From here, I followed a path down the forest that eventually took us back to the starting point. And – I saw other forks that I’m very eager to explore.
So, all in all – a very, very nice afternoon hike, despite the tough start.
Trip statistics: 6,2km, 610 vertical meters, 2h:03m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone8) from the hike:
Saturday: My, oh my – what a wonderful day. This was absolutely the best ski-trip I’ve had on Gurskøya island – ever. But the day didn’t start out so good.
Let’s just say that my weird condition lately is food allergy. Yesterday was a bad day, and today started equally bad. I got up, had breakfast, worked for a couple of hours and then had to go back to bed to rest.
But at noon, the blue sky was just too blue to ignore and I pulled myself out of bed, got dressed and decided to give skiing to Sollia a try.
At Leikongeidet (160m), it didn’t look like this would be an epic ski-trip…
But after 5 minutes, there was enough snow to ski between the turfs and it got better and better my the minute. Karma was in seventh heaven…
When I realized that the sole was rock hard (it was sub-zero temperatures last night, and it snowed the day before), I was super-happy. Today, I would just keep on skiing until I got bored – or got a blister.
We headed up to point 598m, where we got Sollia in view. There were lots of cars at the parking, but not many skiers were seen on the mountain. I later discovered that there were 4 persons on the below picture.
And then we reached the top of Sollia – for me the 69th time.
What an awesome view…
Next stop was Rjåhornet – via Sletteheidane.
The skiing was so incredibly nice. I was having short and narrow skins, which made the skis glide very well, even in downhills – and provided at least a minimum of grip uphill. Just wonderful!
And then we reached Rjåhornet again – a little more than 20 hours since we were here the last time…
There were not only skiers on this mountain. Hikers had a wonderful day up here too…
Skiing Sollia and Rjåhornet was the original plan, good conditions permitted. But now I just wanted to ski more. And on the way down from Rjåhornet, I decided that we could ski Røddalshorn too.
Røddalshorn was a little too steep for my short and narrow skins, and I had to work hard to get up there. But the “golden carrot” was of course the descent. The only downside was that the mountainside was now in the shadow.
Once on top, I just wanted to keep on skiing. But that would mean going towards Storetua, and we would end up far away from the car. So, the only option was to descent back to Leikongsætra.
Although we descended in the shadow, the skiing was superb. I’m no longer able to run Telemark style on these skis (no practice in many years) but parallel turns was no problem on this delightful snow.
The foot of the mountain didn’t offer very nice skiing, but still I was able to ski all the way down to the Røddalshorn trailhead. And the car was only 200m away – along the main road.
Trip statistics: 16,4km, 1080 vertical meters, 3h:33m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the trip:
Sunday: Yesterday’s extraordinary nice weather was history and I woke up to a very windy Sunday. I wanted to be sheltered from this wind and decided to hike to Eiksundsætra via Svenskevegen. If conditions improved, then we could perhaps also reach Blåtind (697m). I drove to Gjerdet near Eiksund and we headed out on the ~2km path along the fjord.
We both like this route, for different reasons. I don’t think there are many places in this region where you can walk along the fjord – in the forest! It’s a fun route, but has a reputation of lots of ticks.
While the route doesn’t start at sea level, you reach sea level along the way.
The higher tops still looked hostile.
Then it was time for 400 vertical meters – straight up!
It was a little cumbersome with the soft and deep snow between the forest and the meadow by Eiksundsætra. Eventually, we got the Blåtind ridge in view. I wasn’t too optimistic.
But we gave it a try. We reached almost 500 meters elevation before the cold wind just blew straight through my wind-proof clothes. Or, at least they used to be…
So, we turned around.
At Eiksundsætra, there was no wind at all and we hung around for a little while.
Karma was confused by not being on a mountain top and tried desperately to earn her summit treats. She succeeded…
Trip statistics: 6,8km, 650 vertical meters, 2h:26m
Sunday: After the hike to Eiksundsætra, I drove to Aurnesvatnet to do the round trip hike across Tuva. There was still some daylight left “to spend” and some extra vertical meters are always welcome…
There was no forest to protect us from the wind, but at this low elevation it wasn’t a problem. So, it was a nice way to end a content-rich hiking – and skiing(!) week.
Trip statistics: 3,2km, 140 vertical meters, 45 minutes