February 28th. 2016. The forecast called for a very nice day.
Ingunn Lunde wanted to come along, she is a strong skier that also masters
Telemark turns going steeply downhill in powder snow. I was excited and very happy that
she would be my partner today.
We left her house around 0900 and we were ready to ski at 1000 after a nice drive. We followed the forest road, I thought it would go all the way to the lake, but it ended before an uphill step in the terrain. Soon, we were up at the cabin that overlooks the lake on its north side.
I had studied the map carefully and knew that the most critical section of this route would be to find a safe way up the lower, very steep section of birch forest above the lake. One could try to ascend from the south end of the lake, or one could traverse above the lake, then try to connect across a short but steepish looking section in the middle of the trees.
We tried the second option, it was nice avoiding to descend down to the lake. We made it across to the first small basin without much trouble. Unfortunately, there was no continuation up from here, steep cliffs everywhere. The only option would be to traaverse around the ridgeline below. The terrain here looked steep and uninviting. Still, it seemed worth a try. Ingunn seemed a bit reserved at this point. Well, such terrain is (sometimes) easier than it looks when you are right in the middle of it. I soon advanced to a spot where we needed to traverse across the top of a steep snow chute below us. Steep enough to be dangerous if anything would go wrong. I considered the snow and the possibility for a small, but dangerous snow avalanche. The snow seemed stable and I carefully made a short ascending line across to safer ground. Ingunn followed without much trouble. We were now in steep, but more straightforward terrain and we could see more level ground above us.
Soon, we were in a basin and could see the terrain above us. A distinct ridge led upwards and connected with a large snowslope that would get us to the horizon. We zig-zaged up in deep snow and I was happy that Ingunn would break trail almost all the way. Reaching the main crest, it was still some more uphill before reaching a more level section. The snow was easier to ski and the route from here fairly obvious. We truly enjoyed the fine weather, the nice snow and the fact that this mountain was only for us. We reached the summit at 1340, 3 hours and 40 minutes. A break and some photos, the view was fine all around. We could see people across on Kvitingen, however, a pretty deep and steep valley separates the two summits.
We left at 1355. There were several reasons to arrive back home in reasonable time. It was, of course very tempting to continue to the 1250 meter high Gavlen, about 1.5 kilometer from here. This mountain requires a full day to climb, now we could have climbed it by using an extra hour.
The return ski was pure delight, nice snow and easy terrain. We were back at the top of our ascent route to the main crest in seemingly no time. Here, Ingunn showed off and practiced her skills in making Telemark turns down the pretty steep slope. The skiing among the trees went fine and soon, we were back at the somewhat precarious traverse above the chute. An easy crossing now with a solid track. A few more turns down to the forest road and then arrival at the car at 1530 - not bad at all.
On the way home to Bergen, we stalled completely in a traffic jam due to an accident on the Hwy. above Trengereid. Obviously, we should have skied Gavlen, a much better alternative than being stuck in traffic.
Big thanks to Ingunn for coming along. She did most of the trail breaking uphill and displayed great Telemark style going back down. Very nice company on a near perfect day at the end of February.