Our trip to the Norwegian Fjords exceeded my (and hopefully all participants) expectations. The lands along the Norwegian Coast have been inhabited for thousands of years and yet a lot of the primeval character of the landscape remains. The meeting of mountains and ocean in truly remarkable. The coast line may very well be the most complicated one in the world. Thousands of fjords ranging from a few hundred meters to over 100 kilometers make up the coast of Norway. The water culture seems omni present and at first the mountains appear to be an afterthought in the Norwegian life. Obviously the mountains and the fjords are closely linked and evidence of ancient glacial erosion is visible everywhere.
Our trip started in the town of Molde. The area around Molde is dominated by the enormous Romsdalfjorden. Here we got onto our boat in the afternoon of the 26th of March and made our way across the bay or Vestnes. On our day we toured up a peak called Ytstetinden (1162 meters). The climb was quite simple, though some touchy depth hoar was waiting for us on the steep summit slope.
After the tour we transferred to Andalsnes. One could describe Andalsnes as somewhat of a Norwegain Outdoor mecca. Anything from fishing, hiking, sailing, mountaineering, skiing, ice climbing, bigwall climbing is possible from here. There is some tourism, but the development is a far cry from the resorts in the Alps. This might have something to do with the fact that the only coffee shop in town does not open until 10 am!!!!!! But more about that later.
Our trip was car assisted. This allowed us to drive the short distance to Innfjorden the next day and start touring at a whopping 40 meters above sea level. Our objective was the famous Skjervan at about 1500 meters. Once above timberline at around 450 meters, the terrain started looking alpine quite quickly and the ski tour as a whole is absolutely outrageous. There was a little bit of climbing to get to the true summit, the skinning had some challenges, skiing was great and of course the view down to the Fjord was amazing.
The next day the weather was bad. This was especially impact full, since the only coffee shop in Andalsnes did not open until 10 am.!!!!!!!! We ended up driving up the road to the famous "Trollwall", which is to be said the biggest wall in Norway. Who knows, but it sure seemed like a big objective.
In the afternoon, we transferred to a bay near the hamlet of Mandalen. The next morning we toured up the valley to summit Kaldtinden (Coldmountain) at 1115 meters. We found our way back off that cold mountain. Our Spanish cook Maria del Mar would always wait with coffee, cheese, crackers etc. for our return. The bay of Vagsbukta put us into position for our last tour. We went fishing a bit and this is where the clients started to loose some of that hard earned respect for me.. The weather had turned excellent and quite cold. Everybody was fit, conditions were good. Let's let the pictures speak for themselves.
Mike Hattrup and Jake Peters had had too much breakfast that day, so they ended up touring up Trolltinden as well to make it a solid 7000 foot day. We could have totally done it, we just did not want to.
All in all the coastal mountains of Norway offer great ski touring. Coupled with the fjords, the boat and the people of Norway it becomes a world class experience. We will do it again. Thank you Paul, Jake, Trina, Holly, Peter and Gayle for going along with our crazy ideas.
Maybe Spitzbergen next time.. Ever heard of it?