Lofoten Islands at its very best
Lofoten Alpine Climbing event fulfilled all my wishes last weekend. One day climbing in spectacular surroundings and the next day powder skiing.
Weather was absolutely stunning with blue skies, sun, a nice temperature and almost no wind. What is the probability for having conditions like this when you pick two random days during a year? Especially considering that the norwegian coast line is known for its sometimes “moody” weather and it can really be heaven or hell. I am so glad that “heaven” decided to meet up this weekend.
Mona, Trude and I started our first day with an alpine ridge traverse with the typical Lofoten feel: sea, snow and steep mountains. I love that scenery!
We had a great day enjoying good company, some mixed climbing and a somewhat exposed terrain overlooking the fjord Djupfjorden and the sea. Apart from the approach with snow up to the waist and the last rappel where our rope got stuck, we had a perfect day outside. Mona and I had a quite interesting session in a snow couloir trying to “jump” down the rope. Trude who watched the spectacle from above, admitted she waited for the moment where the rope suddenly would cut loose with the result that we would slide down the slope like rolling balls…
We had a fun ridge climb and enjoyed both the scenery and the terrain.
Back in Svolvaer Mona got news from our friends Joel Frans, Magnus Erikson and Thomas Meling. Despite the late hour, they were still climbing upon Abrahamstind. They where about to reach the summit after having opened up a new line and were in good shape. We also got to know that Andreas Klarström and Martin Skaar Olslund had climbed a new route on the same mountain that day. What a successful day for everyone!
Read more about their ascents (in Norwegian) on Drammensgranitt
The guys estimated to be down sometime in the night so we left the hotel to go listening to the evening lecture by the famous Norwegian adventurer Stein P Aasheim.
Stein P Aasheim has undoubtly had many rich experiences in his life: climbing Mt Everest, Trango Towers, skitouring in the Gobi Desert, the south pole, living a year on Svalbard, crossing Norway on a horse back an other adventurous things you can or cannot imagine. He shared some of these moments with us and showed pictures from his trips. It was very interesting and I was happy to be there and listen to this norwegian “legend” whose name is clearly written in the history books of mountaineering.
Our second day on Lofoten was destined for ski touring and powder skiing!
We teamed up with Maren Eek Bistrup, who is an old friend of ours as well as one of the organizers for the event. Maren also runs the company Northern Alpine Guides together with her husband Seth Hobby. They live in the little village Kabelvåg since last year and have developed their guiding business (in climbing, skiing and mountaineering) in these perfect surroundings.
We headed up towards “Rundtinden”, a mountain that offers excellent skiing with a moderate ski touring approach. You walk up to around 800m altitude and can enjoy skiing every single meter on the way back down. And enjoyed we did. The snow was great and again, it was Lofoten at its best.
Merrick Johnston is a girl from Alaska who nowadays live in Harstad, Norway. I had the pleasure of having her company on the way to the summit and back down. I learned that this girl is a lot like myself and we had a great time skiing and searching for creative lines and small jumps to play with! The energizer bunny Merrick got down the mountain only to jump into her wetsuit and head in the direction of Unstad beach. Whereas we started driving north to go back home, she ended her day surfing in the sea! .
This was the 4th year that the Alpine Climbing Event was arranged and the third time on Lofoten Islands. Marius Olsen from the Norwegian Alpine Club has been one of the organizers during the years and he could tell that the Lofoten Alpine Climbing Event is of course coming up again next year!
It has become a yearly tradition to gather climbers (and skiers) from several countries, to come to Lofoten in the winter for a week of alpine adventures. Although the focus is upon climbing and mountaineering, Lofoten also offers one of the best areas for skiing that you can imagine.
The event was on between the 26th Feb – 4th Mars with activities during the days and lectures and slideshows by invited climbers in the evenings. I hope to have more time next year and stay a couple of days longer. The combination of climbing and skiing is a winning concept: bring both climbing gear and skis.
Thanks to Visit Lofoten and Maren Eek Bistrup for inviting us!