Frostisen

  • Frostisen
  • 1724 m
  • Primary factor 1054 m
  • Location: North 68.24750, East 017.17893 (GPS on the summit)
  • Near Narvik
  • Climbed April 30, 2016
  • Difficulty: (YDS) class 2.
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Information:

How to get there:
This mountain is south of Narvik. If you drive Hwy. 6 south from Narvik, the first fjord you get to is Skjomen. The Hwy. crosses this fjord on a big bridge. Do not cross the bridge, but turn left and drive along the north side of the Skjomen fjord. As you get to the end of the fjord, turn right following signs for Sørskjomen. This smaller road will take you to the very innermost part of the Skjomen fjord. As you arrive at the few farm houses at the very end of this fjord, a road forks left and a sign with a "T" points that way. Continue along this road until a new fork, the road now has the character of a forest road. Park here, location N68.18446, E017.30078, elevation about 45 meter.
Route description:

Continue directly up the forest road that climbs steeply higher up. This road eventually crosses the creek and will often connect with snow that can be skied higher up.
The valley forks higher up, take the right fork that leads into a basin.
As you enter this basin, there are two possible routes in order to access the Frostisen glacier higher up. The left side of this valley (as you look uphill) is steep and avalanche prone. One possible route climbs the slope at the very end of this basin, possibly partly on its right hand side. This is the most direct route as it runs on the left hand side of the peak Gangnesaksla (1318m) that is located uphill on your right hand side. An alternative, possibly slightly more safe with respect to avalanches, is to turn right and ascend the slope that leads up to the south side of Gangnesaksla. In this alternative, you ski around the peak on its east side, but then the route descends about 150 vertical meter in order to reach the glacier.
In both alternatives, as you reach the Frostisen glacier, you must ski northwest directly towards the peak. If you come around on the east side, then the summit peak is hidden behind some other peaks when you have descended to the glacier. The last part of the glacier before the peak is pretty flat and pretty big. There is a fairly dominant peak on your right hand side that connects to the highest peak with a connecting ridge. You are at the base when reaching location N68.23705, E017.17891, elevation 1305 meter. From here, just ascend directly up the face in front of you, that is to the left of the summit area. When reaching the ridge, turn right and ascend to the short, pretty level summit ridge. Be aware that there is a vertical cliff with huge overhanging cornices along the summit ridge. Do not get close to the edge!.
Trip Report / Comments:
The forecast was excellent, so I decided to fly north for the weekend and ski this mountain. I left Bergen at 1805, via Oslo, arrival Evenes airport at 2130. I picked up my rental car and drove to the DNT hut Skoddeberghytta. This hut is convenient to use as a basecamp when climbing peaks in the Narvik area. Last time here was back in 2007.
I got up early and drove via Narvik to South-Skjomen, quite an isolated place. The road that transformed into a steep, farmers road was easy to locate and I parked at 0700, ready to go at 0705.
The road connected nicely to snow and I ascended into a bowl with several avalanches on the steeper, left side. My intention was to ski up towards the center and pass the peak called Gangnesaksla on its left side. However, the route looked steep and with the current avalanche conditions at level 3, I decided to ascend up to my right hand side, this side was also the only place where I could see some old ski tracks.
The route was nice for skiing, higher up the terrain is less steep and nice to ski. As you traverse around the Gangnesaksla, there are great views across to the opposite side of Skjomen. This choice had the consequence that I needed to descend about 160 vertical meter in order to reach the Frostisen glacier. Thus my total vertical on the trip rose to 2000 meter. Aside from this, the route was nice and I soon traveled up the glacier, reaching a pretty flat section that connected with the peak.
It is kind of sad to report, but the only recent visit to this peak was three (illegal!) snow-scooters. They had driven up from the north side. The ski tracks that I had seen all went to Gangnesaksla. Unfortunately, the law restricting motorized travel in the wilderness is not enforced in Northern Norway.
I made the short summit ridge at 1215, there is a huge overhanging cornice, care is absolutely needed. This is quite a spectacular summit with a fantastic view. Mountains all around, with the Lofoten peaks forming a rugged wall in the distance. The weather delivered as promised, blue sky and only a very light breeze. I took a 360 degree set of pictures in order to make some panorama pics, generally rested, but decided to make a longer rest at the base of the peak, with less wind and a bit more heat.
After about 15 minutes at the summit and another 30 minutes at the base, I skied back the same route as I had ascended. The snow was getting very wet and unsupportive in the last and steepest part of the descent. I skied a bit further into the bowl compared to my ascent route and discovered that the slope that leads up to the left of Gangnesaksla was much better than what it looked like from further down. This route avoids the elevation loss and should be used unless the avalanche conditions are really bad.
I was back at my car at 1650, so 8:45 for the total trip including stops.

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