A truly wonderful Easter week…
|12.04.2022||Transport day II||–||–||–||–|
|13.04.2022||Tjernsvehaugen||643m||139m||Søndre Land, Norway||–|
Transport day 1 & Kongaberget (160m), Apr 11 2022
Monday: After work, I packed my gear for Easter break and sat course for Sogndal. The drive was nice. The weather was OK, and the roads were dry. Just as I like it.
When I arrived in Sogndal, Anne was at the theatre with friends, and I had spare time to walk Karma. Given the little daylight left, I drove up to Røvhaugane and parked there.
We followed the usual paths and stopped by Kongaberget for the traditional Sogndal panorama.
Then we headed down a path that I’ve never followed before. But before we got down to the road, I decided to try to find my way below the Kongaberget cliffs. That was quite fun, and I had never been here before.
It turned out that there was no graceful way out of there, and we ended up in someone’s backyard – where their dog almost went crazy by the slow-moving intruders. We were welcomed by the lady in the house and Karma-the-grumpy-old-bitch explained to the house dog who the four-legged boss was…
Karma-the-grumpy-old-bitch slept like a log after terrorizing the other dog…
Trip statistics: 1,9km, 215 vertical meters, 40 mins
Transport day 2, Apr 12 2022
Tuesday: Today, Anne, Karma and I left Sogndal and sat course for Hov in Søndre Land, to spend a couple of days with our good friends Eva & Bjørn. Again, the weather was OK, and the roads were dry. Only a few days ago, bad weather was affecting traffic through the mountain passes.
After crossing Filefjell, we stopped in Fagernes to give Karma a walk. Destination: Vesleøye island.
Vesleøye is a lovely, small island connected to the mainland by a bridge.
We talked about whether the ice was safe or not. The plane that landed on the ice ended the discussion…
Eventually, we arrived at our friends’ house and I always relax in their good company…
Tjernsvehaugen (643m), Apr 13 2022
Wednesday: This morning, the plan was to hike Brandbukampen in Gran, but it was snowing, and visibility was low. Noone was interested in a 60km car trip (back and forth) in this weather. I then came up with the suggestion to hike Tjernsvehaugen in Vestrumsbygda. I was confident that I had been there – years ago – but had no recollection about the hike. As such, I was more than happy to revisit this forest hill.
None of the others had been to this top before and looked forward to the walk. We drove to Råum and parked the car. From here, we would follow a forest road almost to the top.
After a few minutes, we passed a “playground” where old people like ourselves attempted things we shouldn’t be doing…
The onward forest road was for the most part covered by snow, but it carried our weight.
The final leg, off-trail up the forest, was slightly cumbersome as the snow did NOT carry our weight. But eventually, we found the unmarked high point and celebration was on!
We followed the same forest road upon our return but strayed onto a forest path just before Råum. Still, I had no recollection about this hike back in 2014 but found later that I had hiked from Vestrumsbygda – along a totally different route.
Trip statistics: 7,5km, 205 vertical meters, 2h:10m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the trip:
Rauddalsfjellet (1205m), Rabalsfjellet (1155m), Apr 14 2022
Thursday: After breakfast with our friends Eva & Bjørn, we packed the car and sat course for our rented cabin near Høvreslie – east of Golsfjellet. It was snowing (lightly) in the morning, but the weather forecast suggested better weather in the days to come.
The drive down to Bagn and then up to the cabin near Høvreslie was short and easy. As we approached the cabin, we sadly had to conclude that there wasn’t a lot of snow left. Quite a contrast to western Norway, where we were drowning in snow! It should be the other way around, if you ask me. Something’s very odd with respect to the winters we have these days…
We found the cabin, checked in and agreed on that we had everything we needed to enjoy our days up here.
Once settled in, it was time to get acquainted with the local terrain and went on a ski-trip with Rauddalsfjellet as the destination. The plan was to follow the prepared tracks as long as possible, but we soon found that we could ski just about anywhere up here, and Karma would be OK. As such, we sat a direct course for the mountain.
The weather was OK, but nothing more. The light was flat, but this wouldn’t be an alpine ascent anyway, so we were more than happy about being “on the road” again.
The terrain was gentle, and there was nothing to worry about with respect to avalanche danger. In case there had been snow! But there was hardly any snow left and our route was determined where there actually was snow, opposed to where we wanted to go.
After descending from the summit, we ended up down by lake Vesle Grevsjøen and agreed to go across Rabalsfjellet on our way back to the cabin. Based on what we could see, we could ski halfway up the mountain and then proceed on foot.
As my mountain skis has seen its best days, I decided to ski to the very top (crossing a significant amount of bush), while Anne carried hers – which was a sensible thing to do.
From the top, we continued skiing eastbound until we found a place where could ski all the way into the valley below us. In this valley, we crossed two prepared tracks which we were sure we would get to know better later in Easter.
On our way back to the cabin, we stopped by Revshaugen because it was a small hump with a name. Given that this was really Transport day III, we were quite happy about already getting to know the local terrain much better, compared to 3 hours earlier…
Trip statistics: 12,4km, 380 vertical meters, 3h:07m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the trip:
Nystølvarden (1296m) ++ Apr 15 2022
Friday: After an early breakfast, we headed out with Nystølvarden as the primary goal. The weather was gorgeous, and the snow was perfect. This day looked memorable almost before we reached the prepared tracks.
After 4,6km, we reached the Rabalskardet pass and could see Nystølvarden for the first time today.
We followed the prepared track down to the valley and passed the Vassvollen cabins along the way. Whenever we saw an opportunity for a short-cut, we took it. Skiing was just as nice outside the prepared tracks and Karma didn’t seem to have a big struggle with it.
Eventually, we reached the fork below Nystølvarden and headed up the main track, the first ones skiing it today.
The main track runs north of Nystølvarden before it climbs to the top. We chose instead to follow the northeast ridge.
When we reached the top, we met people for the first time today. It was a little windy up there, so we decided to take our pause elsewhere. I expressed interest in also visiting Meitebekkfjellet and Anne suggested we could stop for a lunch break somewhere between the two tops.
The descent from Nystølvarden (along the main track) was big fun. The route was quite steep, but with mountain skis, we could put the pedal to the metal…
We found a nice spot for lunch near lake Hestetjernet.
There was not a lot of snow in the mountains, and some tops looked impossible to ski to the very top. But we quickly understood where snow could be found and made it top of Meitebekkfjellet with our skis on.
From Meitebekkfjellet, we skied straight south, all the way to the track in the valley. We returned to the fork we had passed earlier, but now sat course for Bergaleina.
The unnamed top above Frøysokstølan looked nice, and I wanted to go up there. I had expected that Anne would be more than happy to return to the cabin by now but surprised me and sat course for the top that I for practical reasons refer to as “Frøysokfjellet”.
We had to carry our skis a few meters up to the top. Then we discussed what to do next. I really assumed that Anne wanted to take the shortest route back to the cabin by now, but she surprised me one more time by suggesting that we could return via Bergaleinnatten – which meant even more vertical meters.
We were able to ski to the top of Bergaleinnatten, but then we had to carry the skis along the ridge. Now that we had done most of the tops in this area, I suggested we should also visit Grevsjøfjellet. My request was granted and after a few minutes, we were back on our skis.
We could ski all the way to the top of Grevsjøfjellet but had to carry the skis for one minute in order to find a place to descend to lake Rabalstjernet. I really enjoyed these descents, as I *love* skiing down mountains. Of course, this could never be compared to skiing the mountains back home, but we are here for one reason – we like the variations.
Back on the main track, we now had ~4km back to the cabin. Karma was clearly tired but kept our pace like she always does.
At the cabin, we were hungry and decided to have a barbeque. I had one beer and a glass of red wine and if I were all by myself, I would have called it a day by now…
Trip statistics: 25,1km, 680 vertical meters, 5h:36m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP (w/wrong settings)/ Iphone 13 Pro Max) from the trip:
Holtelifjellet (1152m), Vardefjell (1182m), Apr 16 2022
Saturday: Another stunning weather day and the primary goal was Holtelifjellet. As we planned to drive to Frøysåkstølan and park there, Holtelifjellet would only be a 3km ski-trip away. We were obviously planning to do more skiing, but I didn’t want to suggest that Vardefjell (in Nesbyen municipality) was a goal too. If Anne felt up for the long trip, she would have to suggest it herself.
The hard crust on the snow from the night didn’t last long and we quickly discovered that Karma had a difficult time outside the tracks. So today, we would more or less be bound to the prepared tracks.
We followed the prepared tracks up to the pass between the Holtelifjellet tops and found a good place to ascend. It was still early in the day and some of the snow was still icy – making it difficult to ascend on skis.
On the summit, I asked Anne what she wanted to do next. I proposed that Røggjenatten (1131m) could be an OK target. After a long downhill, we would be at the foothills of the top. The top didn’t have a primary factor of 100m+, but it was still quite prominent with a pf of 86m. But Anne surprised me and stated that Vardefjell should of course be our next goal.
I was very happy now that Vardefjell was on our radar. It would be a long trip, but we had nothing else to do, so we packed our stuff and left Holtelifjellet.
From the pass, we had a long and fun downhill down to lake Pipesjøen. Here, we had to ski up to another pass before we could descend to lake Røggjen.
We now had a good view towards Røggjenatten – which I really wanted to visit. But, as we were on our way to Vardefjell, I let it go. This trip would be long enough as it was.
After crossing the meadows between Røggjen and Bekkjeset, we could finally begin the ascent towards Vardefjell. The route went on and on, but I comforted myself with a 4km consecutive ski-descent from Vardefjell to Bekkjeset.
Eventually, the top of Vardefjell came into view.
The track went all the way up to the ridge and we climbed the final hill from the south, with and without snow.
It was mighty nice to be reach the top! I wasn’t tired but my feet were aching from blisters. I still haven’t bought proper shoes for my 75mm bindings, and I am still skiing with my Scarpa T4 (plastic boots) from 2004. I typically skate or ski with Randonnée equipment and so one year apart from the T4’s is enough to lure the blisters out. Luckily, I had enough band aids to keep the pain at arm’s length.
Vardefjell was a marvelous viewpoint. I didn’t pinpoint all the mountain regions we could see in the distance, but the usual landmarks stood out – like Hallingskarvet, Reineskarvet, Hemsedal mountains, Jotunheimen, Synnfjell, etc.
After a nice stay on top, it was time for the descent. 4km of non-stop skiing. Unfortunately, the warm snow didn’t offer a good glide, but it was a welcome break from the skins.
Back at lake Røggjen, we had to climb the same hill that was much more fun coming the other way. But eventually, we got on the new route from Pipesjøen that would take us to Andsjøstølan – where another uphill awaited us. This route is 2km longer than the route we followed to Pipesjøen, but following a new route was worth it. Even though 7,5km back to the car felt like a LONG distance…
From Andsjøstølan, we skied up to the pass west of Nosi where another delightful downhill was awaiting.
At lake Rauddalsvatnet, we still had 3,8km to go and the final part of this trip was nothing but painful. Not only had I blisters, but the plastic boots were also squeezing my heels. I told myself – like I tell myself every year – next year I will buy leather boots!
I was extraordinarily happy when we finally returned to the car. Happy, because I had two new pf100 tops, but far happier about the trip having come to an end. Now, it was straight back to the cabin and nurse my feet and fill up my body with 2 liters of water…
Trip statistics: 27,3km, 800 vertical meters, 5h:50m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP (w/wrong settings)) from the trip:
Tempelhaugen (1002m), Rauddalsfjellet (1205m), Apr 17 2022
Sunday: The weather was just as beautiful as the past two days, but today we decided to let Karma rest – for several reasons. We were worried about potential snow blindness and moreover, she had some tough trips in the last days.
We then decided to go on separate trips and Anne was more than happy to have a relaxing morning. Me, however, isn’t built for relaxing mornings and decided this would be a fine day to use the skating skis.
I like to have a goal for my trips and my goal for today was Tempelhaugen – a modest forest hill that we hadn’t been to yet. I took the usual track from Høvreslie to lake Rabalstjernet, but I didn’t particularly enjoy skating this early in the day. The ski-tracks from the days before were frozen and it was difficult to find a good flow.
At Rabalstjernet, I decided to ski outside the track and my goshness, how wonderful it was. I was flying across the meadows at 20-25km/h.
Tempelhaugen is probably a top seldom visited. It was quite cumbersome to get up there with skating skis, but eventually I found the high point and my primary goal was in the bag.
Now what? Skiing across the meadows was so beautiful that I simply had to continue.
I sat course for Bøvi and after a while corrected my course and ended up near Hellebekksætri. I then learned that Anne and Karma were out walking and met them east of Høvreslie. We walked together back to the ski-track just below our cabin and I decided to go for a second round.
This time, I had my eyes on Rauddalsfjellet – which we visited after checking in on Thursday. As the weather was mediocre then, I figured it would be nice to be on top and enjoy the sunshine.
As the sun was melting the hard surface, skating up a mountain wasn’t exactly easy. But, I got up and enjoyed myself big time!
From the top, I took the fastest route back to the cabin, assuming Anne was eager to get started with her ski-trip.
Back at the cabin, Anne had made banana pancakes (we had way too many bananas that were about to go bad) and we enjoyed lunch at the cabin before she went on her trip.
Meanwhile, I discovered that I was only 9km short of 100km on skis since we got here. As I like round numbers, I decided to do something about that once Anne returned.
She did a round that I had recommended, and it turned out that this round was 9km exactly. How convenient! I offered Karma to come along, now that she had rested all day long, but she wasn’t interested.
So, for the third time today, I went up the tracks from Høvreslie. Round #1 was bad due to an icy track. Round #2 was perfect and now – round #3 was really bad due to soft snow. But, when I got to Rabalstjernet, I could enjoy 3km of downhill before the final climb back to Høvreslie begun.
This was our last full day at the rented cabin, and everything superseded my expectations. The weather was great, the cabin top notch and the tracks were great, given the little amount of snow left. It was altogether a very, very nice Easter break!
Trip statistics (both trips): 35,6km, 710 vertical meters, 5h:25m