Temporarily back from “the dead”
Tops and places visited:
|Høgafjell (Kvitablikk)||970m||43m||Sogndal, Norway||WCP|
|Klosterhaugen||20m||20m||Herøy, M&R, Norway|
Monday: Imagination is a powerful thing. As I was sick most of Easter, I just redefined Easter, and stated it began last Thursday – when I felt somewhat fine again and when the nice weather came in.
So today, after work, I decided to make another “Easter” ski-trip, this time to Storehaugfjellet – just outside Sogndal.
I drove up to the local airport (500m elev.) where we could ski from the car. There are many things I love about the Sogndal region. And the number of trailheads at 500m elevation is one of them. Especially in spring!
The 2,3km transport leg to the beginning of the mountain service road is just boring. But eventually, we got there…
After a while, the views began to open up. Bleia is one of the true landmarks in this part of the country, and I’m sure it was a popular ski-trip this weekend.
Storehaugfjellet’s neighbour – Lingesetefjellet – is also popular all year around.
And when zooming it, it could be concluded that it was also busy this weekend. The recommendation to “stay home” only goes so far…
After a while, we got the tower in view. Which was very nice, as my blisters from the day before were still aching as hell.
But one tend to forget petty details with such a view…
I then noticed that some of the road markers were a) almost and b) totally buried under the snow. Which is amazing, as they surely have to be at least 2 meters tall…
Too bad we can’t see all of Sogndal from up here, but a little bit is just fine too…
And then we were up (top picture)!
The time was now 4:46pm, and getting down NOW would be critical in terms of the snow quality on the upper part of the mountain. As I headed down, I could feel the snow freeze under me, and the snow particles on my tail sounded like an avalanche. Nice for me, but perhaps a little too icy for Karma. She was licking her paws many times on the way down.
But then we reached softer snow. And I cursed myself for not having prepared my skis better. The glide was not as I wanted it to be, but it helped to ski outside the service road. And Karma got a run for “her money”…
It was a nice run down the mountain, but then the infamous 2,3km leg back to the airport isn’t steep enough and I had to work hard for just keeping the skis moving. But hey, no complaints. When I got back to Sogndal, I was just over the moon about being well again, the weather and just be able to DO THIS after work…
Trip statistics: 11,2km, 680 vertical meters, 2h:15m
Tuesday: Lunch today was different from what I’m used to. I couldn’t resist chatting with my colleagues afterwards – asking what they had for lunch…
After work, I started to think about where to go skiing. The blisters were almost killing me, but with this kind of weather, complaining is simply not allowed!
I considered Store Haugmelen (1172m) for a while, but found it would take all of the afternoon. Instead, I decided to ski from Fretland and (finally) visit Høgafjell aka Kvitablikk – a top I simply passed by when I skied Tylderingen last Friday.
Anne decided to catch a ride to Fretland and walk back home – with Karma. With more than 10km, it would be a nice walk for both of them. At least Karma wouldn’t have to go “swimming” in the soft snow, trying to catch up with daddy.
The Fretland trailhead will offer snow throughout April. That’s for sure. My latest trip in the season from here was April 30th, 2018.
Crossing the creek Spøna didn’t go as smooth as last Friday. The little snow left collapsed, and I was standing with both of my skis in the creek. Fortunately, I have plastic skins and they don’t mind getting wet…
The trip up the forest was 50% pure delight and 50% pain from the blisters. Again, no complaints but I have to be frank…
It was hard work too. The snow was totally rotten and when I finally reached a snowmobile track, I was quite happy – as it carried my weight. On the other hand, that track shouldn’t have been here. Driving a snowmobile in the terrain with a legit cause is not permitted by law.
After a while, on my way up Høgafjell, I could look back on the small valley I ascended towards Vardafjellet (and subsequently Tylderingen) on Friday.
I was very happy to finally be on top of Høgafjell, although it’s just an anonymous hump in the shadows of Tylderingen. But, I like to visit new places and this was surely a place I hadn’t been before. The view towards lake Svartavatnet (not much of a lake with snow on top) was just gorgeous…
Then it was time to get to Tylderingen. I continued across Høgafjell until I found a convenient place to descend into the valley between the two tops – just south of lake Svartavatnet. I chose the least steep ascent route, in case the snow would freeze while I was on my way up. I wanted a retreat route.
I realized that I was halfway up (regardless of route), I would be in trouble if the snow turned into an icy crust. But so far, I was able to break through it.
5:50pm, I reached the top of Tylderingen for the 17th time. The first visit was in 2010, the other 16 was between 2015 and now.
I reached the top just after a guy that left Fretland after me, and before a girl that I passed on the way up. As I didn’t ski very fast, it only shows that going this way isn’t much of a detour.
After enjoying the views for a little while, I got ready for the descent.
With the rotten snow, I had no hopes that the descent would be anywhere near epic. But I was SO wrong. At least when it came to the upper part of the mountain. The soft snow was such a delight to ski on, and to my surprise, the skis were super-fast. I don’t think I’ve ever skied as fast as this before and decided to slow down a bit to avoid a potential fall and injury.
The snow in the lower part of the forest was really soft and my skis didn’t glide to well. It only took 12 minutes to descend the 600 vertical meters from the top, which included a massive mistake in choice of route – forcing me to climb back up a hill that had a massive drop beneath it.
All in all, a superb afternoon trip.
Trip statistics: 7,6km, 670 vertical meters, 1h:41m
Wednesday: No ski-trip today. Had to let my blisters heal a bit. Instead I went from Anne’s house and directly up the Stedjeåsen forest. Very off-trail terrain.
Not sure what kind of terrain I expected, but it wasn’t this…
Higher up, I came across a traversing path that I followed until I was on my way down the forest. Back to off-trail again.
Then I reached snow, and I realized that I had done a mistake. Terrain shoes was clearly the wrong footwear for 40-50cm deep snow. There was particularly one section where I had to move a LOT of debris so that I could get Karma up a ledge. I’ll remember this section for many years from now…
But just above, I came across a path again. Probably the same path as earlier, coming back around. And here I found a decent viewpoint. And trust me – there are not many viewpoints in this forest!
Eventually, we reached the normal path up the forest and it was a delight to be on a path again.
In the upper forest, the snow was still carrying my weight and I was happy to be up here again.
I don’t think I’ve seen so much snow up here (at this time of the year), since I started hiking this mountain back in 2009.
We took a different path down and stopped by the viewpoint where you get a nice view towards Sogndalsfjorden.
Back at Anne’s place, it was back to doing my “chores“. Today, the main project was cutting trees and treetops. At least, the climbing was fun…
Trip statistics: 5,3km, 560 vertical meters, 1h:25m
Thursday: After a couple of hours of garden work (cutting treetops) I was all ready for a new ski-trip. As I hadn’t visited Reppanipa since 2017, I figured it was high time. I didn’t bring Karma, as the snow was still soft. So Anne took Karma to a hike up to Flotshaugen instead.
I drove up to Gjerde and found a place to park without disturbing any local traffic. Then I then follow the forest road towards Liastølen.
There were snowmobile tracks all the way, which carried my weight. As such, I was quite happy.
A bit later, I got Reppanipa summit in view and chose to follow the snowmobile tracks as far as I could.
Eventually, I reached the top and had some new views.
The time was 5:10 when I was ready to descend. As I was on the shadow side, I knew that I had just minutes before the crust would freeze. But minutes was all I needed and I had a very nice run the upper part.
I then chose to descend along the tractor road to Tuftestølen and further down to Tuftene. I had a house in front of me, and chose to ski in the outskirts of the farmland (covered by one meter of snow).
As soon as I was back at the car, another car came up on my side, with 3 persons in it. They wondered why I was (quote) “sneaking around” on private property. With that kind of opening, you just know that this is not going to be a nice chat. So I just said that I came down the mountain and ended up here. Apologies! They seemed to be content with the apology and told me that they didn’t expect me to see me here again. If they got something to hide up there, it’s none of my business, but I hope that this kind of “hostpitality” isn’t common for the Gjerde area.
Back at Anne’s place, I had received a message on Facebook from someone in Hyllestad – who seemingly had come across one my trip reports from the area. One of the pictures showed a house where I started my hike from (and where no one lives), and the owner wondered who gave me permission to publish the picture? Again, no point in arguing that I was following a path on the national map and that I take pictures from all over the country! I just deleted the picture and made a note in the trip report that this is private property (although there were no signs indicating this) and that hikers are NOT WELCOME. Can’t help wondering what’s up with some people…
This was the 2nd time since 1999 I’ve received a complaint on my trip reports. The first one was from Estudio de Variables Ecológicas en el Parque Nacional de Garajonay – who made me aware that we had been visiting two tops on the island of La Gomera where access is prohibited. After explaining that this was done in GOOD FAITH – as there were no signposts saying that hiking these tops were off-limits, and not a single visitor page for the island was in English The conversation ended in a good tone and I removed the information about which route we took.
But all this was kind of an “negative end” to my outdoors activity today. And I had to remind myself that it’s not the mountain’s fault that there can be strange people living at the foothills…
Trip statistics: 6,9km, 525 vertical meters, 1h:25m
Friday: After work, I spent a little time in Anne’s garden, building a small stair up to the walkway around her shed.
But then I felt the need for going to the mountains drove up to Hodlekve to ski Helleberget. I assumed that there were good tracks to this top, and so I brought Karma.
There were few cars at the Rindabotn trailhead (part of the Hodlekve skiing centre) and I assumed that the Sogndal locals were “fatigued” from 8 consecutive days of brilliant sunshine. But as I later learned, it was because this was too late in the day for nice skiing.
In any case, the trip was on and we followed the “autostrada” going to Høgehaug for 1,2km before we got on the track towards Fjærlandsete.
I then noticed that the snow was freezing and that we had to leave the main track in order to get to the top. I followed the tracks of a friend (I later learned) up the north ridge. The crust was really sharp and I had to put socks on Karma.
Near the shadow side, the snow was so hard that the skis didn’t leave a mark. I had to find a different route and moved over to the west side, where the sun was still warming up the snow. It was two different planets, 50 meters in between…
But we made it to the top on good snow, and I had to decide if I should return the way we came up (like, quite while you’re ahead…) or take my chances on the shadow side and make a round trip hike.
I had a couple of minutes to make up my mind and decided to enjoy the views for a little while.
This was my last trip in the Sogndal region for a while. I’ve been here for 3 weeks and experienced sickness during Easter, “low key” walks and a number of phenomenal ski-trips. All in all, I was very thankful for this unexpected stay in Sogndal during spring.
Then we went down on the other side and the descent was as far from fun as it can get. The mountainside was almost polished. But almost was enough to make it down in a safe manner.
I admit I was happy when we were back on the Hodlekve – Fjærlandsete track.
I decided to follow the track towards Hodlekve. Well it wasn’t really a decision. Going off the track would have been just cruel.
The track wasn’t easy street either. Every ripple in the snow had frozen, but it was far better than being off the track.
But all in all, no complaints. Just being out in this kind of weather is a huge privilege!
Trip statistics: 9,1km, 440 vertical meters, 1h:40m
Saturday: After 3 weeks in Sogndal, it was time to get back home. Not that anything was awaiting back home – I just wanted to check if the house still was OK. Working from “home” has been a blessing, as my company doesn’t really care what I call home as long as I’m doing my job. I can’t express how much I appreciate not getting up at 5am in the morning to commute to Ålesund.
I didn’t have the same energy level as I’ve had after being sick during Easter. After rising from “the dead”, I had 9 wonderful days with a little bit of hiking and a lot of skiing. Did I “jump the gun” too soon? Was I on a downward spiral again?
In any case, I decided to take the long way home. It normally takes 3 hours from Sogndal to Sunnmøre, but now I was in for 11 hours which would give me 3 new tops along the way. There’s no way I will reach my annual goal of 100 new pf100 tops in 2020 (given the Corona situation), but I don’t want to end up with 0.
I sat the course for Fjaler in Sunnfjord where I planned to hike Håheia, Vardeheia and Arsteinheia. When I got to Vadheim, I decided to drive across Guddal – a road I’ve never driven before. It was a curvy road, but nice (although not spectacular)
Eventually I could see my goal – Håheia – in the distance.
We then reached Solheim by Flekkefjorden and located the trailhead – which had an information board describing a round trip hike. Perfect!
I chose the forest path over the tractor road and then we were on our way up the forest.
As nothing much exciting happened on our way up the forest, we’ll just skip to reaching a cairn that I thought was the top. But according to peakbook.org, the high point was 100m to the east.
End of April, and this was my first new pf100 top in 2020! It felt both bad and good at the same time. Bad – realizing that my annual goal was out of reach this year. But – if I could just get a decent number, I might even out the scores next year? I’m sure my girlfriend will be “happy” hearing about that…
We descended the other route and met a couple of hikers on their way up. Two of them were teachers at the United World College in Fjaler – which I had never heard about. It was an interesting chat!
A bit later, we reached the tractor road that we started out from on, and reached the trailhead a little bit later. Time to move on to my next goal(s).
Trip statistics: 3,6km, 425 vertical meters, 1h:40m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone8) from the hike:
Still Saturday: It didn’t take too long to drive from Solheim to Dalsleitet, where one of the hikers I met on the way down Håheia suggested I should begin my hike to Vardeheia and Arsteinheia from
Again, I was met by an information board with a map. Good job, folks! Very helpful!
The walk through the forest was possibly the highlight of the entire day. The sunshine – trying to make its way through the trees – just awesome!
It was a nice hike all the way through the forest and it was *almost* sad to rise above it.
We passed the Nedgardsstølen cabins and continued towards the top, where we met a group of 4 coming down.
The views were great, but it was this signpost that caught my attention. There was something – just not right. Why are the sticks skewed and the signposts straight?
Then I focused my attention towards Arsteinheia – my next stop. Where would we ascend the cliffs? As the map at the trailhead had suggested there was a path between the top, I assumed this would sort itself out.
And it did. The path forked. The left path was clearly going towards Åsnes, so I followed the path in the direction of Arsteinheia and the path led us to “Gravarstien” – a cool path that took us up the steep cliffs.
Along the way we passed a bunch of Primroses (Kysymre in Norwegian and Primula Vulgaris in Latin) – the county flower of Hordaland. Very nice. Nothing “vulgar” about it…
And soon after, we reached our 3rd new top for the day…
The views were just fine!
I was eager to get back down and begin my journey home. I had 260km and 4 hours of driving ahead of me.
Or – a little bit more. I had to stop several times on my way back home. Like – when passing Kvamshesten above Bygstad…
…and Eggjanibba in Våtedalen.
…and Skåla above Loen.
Looks like some skiers had a great time down this famous mountain. I’ve actually run up this mountain (“Skåla Opp” (2014) – annual challenge”. Or – more precisely – I ran 1100 vertical meters up until I got the cramps. The remaining 700 vertical meters were excruciating. But, I got up the 1800 vertical meters in 1h:41m. Not too bad!
When I got to Grodås, the nice weather ended suddeny. A wall of sea fog was trying to get across the Kviven mountain, but failed. When I got to the other side of the Kviven tunnel, there was no longer any trace of sunshine. And 40 minutes later, I was back home.
Trip statistics: 7,3km, 500 vertical meters, 1h:53m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone8) from the hike:
Sunday: This didn’t come as a huge surprise, but when I woke up Sunday morning, the clock was turned back 10 days and I was … sick again!
Not sick as in sick, but the “battery” was flat out … flat! And I just felt like sleeping all day long. But, the dog needed to get some sort of walk and so I drove out to the small island Herøy – where we could have a nice walk along the shoreline.
I do like hiking along the shore and Karma also enjoy this. As such, it wasn’t such a bad ending of week that offered a lot of nice skiing and hiking.
My plan was to visit a small island (except on low tide) close to the island we were on. I’m not sure what it’s called, but I abandoned the plan when I saw sheep with lambs on the island. No need to disturb them just to get to a new place. The island will still be there next time I return.
Instead, we headed over to the Herøyspelet scene, where I tried to entertain Karma.
To get to the high point, I had to climb across a fence – now being on the land belonging to the farm. I figured it would be OK as long as I didn’t bother the sheep and the lambs. The high point wasn’t what the signpost calls “Klosterhaugen“, but the two points are only 47m apart, so to me – it’s the same hump.
I was quite sad when we returned to the car. I realized that next week would be “sick week“, but would I have traded those 9 wonderful past days in Sogndal with rest, just to be able to have a good hiking week back home? Heck no!
Trip statistics: 2,8km, 100 vertical meters, 1 hour
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the hike: