Rising from “the dead”
Tops and places visited:
Thursday: After 3 days of resting my body, I finally felt ready to go outdoors again. I had clearly been sick, but from what was a mystery. I hold Corona as most likely, but I’m open to anything. At least, it didn’t resemble anything like a flu. Good thing it was raining those 3 days. If there had been sunshine, I *might* not have gotten the rest I needed. But now I felt ready.
After work, Anne and I drove to Røvhaugane for a small birthday celebration for Ane – Karma’s breeder. Social distancing for 10 people in a small front yard is a logistical challenge. I soon decided to make things easier for the rest by taking the dog for a hike.
The target was Skjeggen. A forest hill just south of Kjørkhovden – which I visited 10 days earlier. I knew that there would be a fair amount of snow left in the upper forest, but that didn’t seem like a problem today. All I wanted was to get OUT, UP and enjoy the sunshine.
Karma and I walked from Røvhaugane up to Åberge and then got on the path towards Bjellastølen.
We left this path after 0,6km and headed up the forest, along a fence. We soon ran into cumbersome forest and rotten snow.
In the upper forest, the snow reached up to my knees in the soft spots, but it wasn’t that bad all of the way. Karma was “swimming” at times, but didn’t seem to mind one bit.
Eventually, we reached the top and Karma could celebrate.
It was tempting to take a different route down, but then Anne called me and said she was her way up to Åberge to meet me. So, we took the same route back down.
Once below the snow, we had a very nice hike through the forest…
At Åberge, we met Anne and then we returned to Røvhaugane. That is – I went to pick up the car, and Anne walked down to the fjord – where I picked her up.
Little did I know that this was just the first of 10 (!) wonderful sunny days in a row.
Trip statistics: 6,3km, 735 vertical meters, 2h:06m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the hike:
Friday: The stunning weather continued, and after work I was soon on my way to Fretland to ski Tylderingen.
As I began my journey upwards for the 16th time, I felt that I needed some other inspiration than just the normal route. So instead of following the ski-tracks, I continued straight ahead, crossed the Spøna river and was curious what kind of forest I had ahead of me.
I was able to follow a good route up the forest and after a while, Vardafjellet came into view. I decided to ascend up the east ridge.
Because, a direct approach seemed out of the question…
As I was about to pass Høgafjell, I found a safe route up towards Vardafjellet.
But then the snow changed. The snow got hard and icy. And as I ascended the final meters of Vardafjellet, I was … focused. If it hadn’t been for that the ice broke when I stomped the skis, then the top of Vardafjellet would have been out of reach.
Next up was Tylderingen. I seriously hoped that the snow wouldn’t be that bad. I didn’t want to slide all the way down to Sogndalsdalen…
The snow was hard as ice, but a number of previous visitors had left a soft track that took me safely up to the top.
From the top, I had a nice view towards Blåfjellet. In this moment, I didn’t know that I would be standing on top there – the next day…
But when I looked closer, I could see a massive slab avalanche just below the summit. Very scary.
With that in mind, I decided I wouldn’t approach steeper terrain in a while…
I took the normal route down and once I reached the forest, I could enjoy butter-soft snow on a hard sole. 7 out of 10 on my scale.
Now, I looked forward to get home and enjoy Enchiladas from Ellevilt, with Anne.
Trip statistics: 7,4km, 630 vertical meters, 1h:36m
Saturday: Another marvelous weather day. Too bad I had to work from 7:30am to 3pm. But once my work was completed, I drove straight up to Hodlekve to ski Blåfjellet. I didn’t bring Karma, as she had been with Anne on a ski-trip above Leikanger earlier in the day.
The snow was perfect as I headed out from the Rindabotn trailhead. I just hoped the snow wouldn’t start freezing until I was back down. Time would show.
On my way up the mountain, I noticed that I wasn’t my usual self. I had to stop several times, not to catch my breath but to protect myself from something I couldn’t put my finger on. There was still something in my chest and I was careful not to make my blood bump go at maximum level.
After a while, I got the huge slab avalanche below the summit in close view. While it was big in size, it no longer seemed so dramatic as when I watched it from Tylderingen the day before.
I could easily imagine that if it was skier who set it off, then that skier would most likely get out of it alive. Still, it was a clear wake-up call. The upper layer (15-20cm) could not be trusted in steep slopes!
Eventually, I reached the summit plateau, but instead of aiming for the cairn top, I sat course for the high point. Which – used to be in Leikanger municipality before Sogndal, Leikanger and Balestrand merged.
The views were well known to me, and few peaks really stood out. But the Hurrungane massif always stands out from the crowd…
And so does Bleia…
I stopped by the cairn top (the gap between has surely never been smaller?) and had a chat with a skier from Italy. He was quick to point out that he lived in Sogndal, so I didn’t have to wonder if he was a ski tourist, straight from northern Italy. That would be kind of sending the wrong message, in these Corona-times.
On the way down, I stopped by Kambafjellet, before preparing for the main run down the mountain.
Unfortunately, the snow had just started to freeze, and so my descent from Kampafjellet was OK, but FAR from epic. Just a little too much ice. But the final pitch down to the skiing centre was perfect. Very happy to have skied Blåfjellet again.
This was my 9th visit, and I’ve been an annual visitor since 2014.
Trip statistics: 9,9km, 850 vertical meters, 2h:11m
Sunday: Finally, I could go skiing in the daytime. Which was a requirement for enjoying perfect snow. Originally, I planned to drive to Grindsdalen and ski Hest (1340m), but the avalanche I saw on Blåfjellet the day before scared me a little. And the routes up from Grindsdalen can quickly get a bit steep. So, I decided to play it safe and ski Kjeringi above Leikanger instead.
It was yet another gorgeous weather day and I was a bit “moved” when I saw lambs for the first time this year…
Then I drove up to Kleppa (approx. 400m elev.) and parked the car. Based on the amount of available parking, we seemed to be early although the time was 10:44am when we headed out.
The first part of the route follows the cross-country trail and isn’t too exciting. And Kjeringi seemed very far away. The signpost said 6,2km, but it felt longer. And based on my GPS, it turned out to be 8,2km!
Not that it mattered much. It was just darn lovely to be outdoors!
Karma seemed happy too, at least as long there was a bush nearby. Higher up, there was little to explore.
The mountain was busy today. No wonder, with this weather and a prepared trail all the way to the top.
Eventually, we had Fagreggi on our right-hand side and a 300m climb ahead of us. This was the steepest section on the route, and NO FUN if the snow is hard as ice (I’ve been here twice before, first time in 2010). But today, the sun had melted the upper layer of the snow and the conditions were just perfect.
When we got on the summit ridge, I got a good view towards Hest – which was my plan A for the day. And now I could see a fairly safe route to the top. Which I will enjoy some other time.
Right now, I only looked forward to get to the top. More on that below…
What I didn’t remember was that there was a building just below the summit. All snowed and frozen in.
The view was outstanding. First, towards the Sognefjord…
… and then towards Hurrungane – an amazing massif with 2000m peaks on Sognefjellet.
And THEN it was finally time to take care of my foot. I call this blister an effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Far too little skiing this year. My boots require to be worn on a frequent basis…
After a good stay on top, it was time to head back down. The skiing was delightful, but Karma was not in her best shape and I had to wait a lot for her. Is she getting old (she’s 7,5 years old) or just lacked inspiration to run as fast as daddy skied? At least, she could not complain about the snow not carrying her weight.
But, we got back down eventually and returned to Anne’s place in Sogndal. Anne was busy in her garden and signaled that a “male contribution” would be welcome. And after a lot of moving rocks around, I was quite happy with the result. This section was just a pile of soil and rubbish before I went to work.
Trip statistics: 17,1km, 970 vertical meters, 3h:14m