Winter sneak preview – the first snow hike
This article is part of the series “2020-10: New in Tromsø”.
This weekend I planned to take the Fjellheisen. Fjell is Norwegian for mountain(s) and heis for lift or elevator. Fjellheisen however is not a vertical lift but a cable car up to the mountain Storsteinen (421 m above sea level) where you can have an incredible view on Tromsø, visit the café and most of all can start countless hiking tours.
Today morning I took the bus and changed to another bus near the polar museum. The second bus crossed the large bridge Tromsøbrua over the strait Tromsøysundet and ascended to the bus stop Fjellheisen. I planned to buy a multiple ticket (much cheaper) but the payment failed three times. To my delight I got a free return ticket. Soon the cable car arrived, two other guests and I entered it and Fjellheisen started its way up while I was looking down to the autumnal town Tromsø.
I got of the cable car, walked up some stairs, went through the door and then there it was: Winter ❄︎!
First I just strolled around. The snow was 10–20 cm deep and it was quite easy to walk. Few others people were around although the weather was quite fine – even though not as sunny as I expected. I decided to start my hiking tour by hiking up the nearest summit Fløya (671 m). Sometimes I had to cross knee deep snow, but mostly it was less. I followed some footprints – I wasn’t first this day – and soon arrived at the landmark – whatever it is – on a small pre-summit of Fløya and then on the near summit.
That didn’t take much time. So I continued in direction of the summit Romssavákkivárri (Sami) or Bønntuva (Norwegian) (776 m). Parts of the slopes looked steep but still it was relatively easy to ascend beside of the fact that the snow was deeper here. In the lee it was mostly knee deep and wind-pressed. This type of snow it quite easy to sink in and then you have to take the leg up the very same way it went down, since the snow is way too hard to plunge through. Sometimes I felt like a stork with balance problems.
On the way there were many heaps of stones which are used as waymarks. But you should be very cautious to follow these waymarks strictly in this part of the mountains because there are many tourists how just love to build heaps of stones everywhere. Anyhow, they are nice photo motives.
And so are the mountain ranges in the southeast. It could be the famous Lyngen Alps, but I’m not sure.
On the summit of the Romssavákkivárri I took a selfie. It was sub-zero (my Cola froze) and windy and I was glad about my winter anorak. Next time I’ll take warmer pants with me as well as woollen mittens.
What you may forget when you see these photos is the surroundings. All the snowy mountains are surrounded by straits and fjords of the Norwegian Sea. Here’s a panorama photo taken from the summit.
If you take the telephoto lens (most photos were made with it) you also see the snow line, which is quite low but not low enough to cover the lowlands with snow, too. That have to wait probably some more weeks.
After a while of photographing, eating cookies, drinking, watching, resting and enjoying I started my way back. Some other hikers had passed by and left tracks in the snow that made it easier to walk most of the time. I looked down at Tromsø and watched the weather worsen. From the north clouds with dense snow showers approached.
Several times I stopped. Once to talk to a skier – the only one I met today. He was British, lived in the Netherlands and was in Scandinavia quite often. Later I would meet him again at the cable car and he would give me a lift back to Tromsø. Thanks a lot!
Mostly however I stopped to take more photos.
Up here it was quite sunny and when finally the first snow flakes fell down I already was near the summit station of the Fjellheisen, where I had vegetarian lasagne for a late lunch in the café. It was a quite small portion and of course expensive as almost everything in Norway, but it was tasty. After that I went out again. The sun has started to set and the western sky was orange.
When I looked east I looked into a void. A huge shower cloud had approached and it started to snow. Seven minutes the same motive looked like this:
At 17:00 I took the cable car down, got the mentioned lift of the British man and was back in central Tromsø where I hardly could believe, that I just made my first winter hiking tour. Down in the city everything was just wet and just a bit slippery.
Conclusion: That was a great day with hiking through a winter’s sneak preview. I’m lucky since the snow will probably last for half a year, at least in the mountains.
As usual I made most of the photos with my Nikon D750 DLSR and different lenses. Today however I had another “camera” with me, my new iPhone 11 that I got from my employer, the Norwegian Polar Institute. It’s a huge improvement to my old iPhone SE. First of all the camera is much better and it has a real wide angle lens. Then the phone works in the cold! My iPhone SE would hardly have survived this day while the iPhone 11 was still ⅔ loaded when I ended my tour. Having these advantages I can live with the fact, that the iPhone 11 is bigger and feels twice as heavy than the SE. No ad, just my two cents.
iPhone photos today (all edited with Adobe Lightroom): The 1st one, the panorama and the last one.
7 comments to “Winter sneak preview – the first snow hike”
Annika Kramer 2020-10-18 21:06
Toll, das Bild mit den Bergen im Rund. Und auch sonst toll!!! <3
way-up-north 2020-10-18 21:07
Leider kann auch das neue iPhone kein 360°-Panorama. Auf dem Gipfel war es einfach in allen Richtungen schön.
Annika Kramer 2020-10-18 21:29
Ich meine “Mountains in the far I”. Da braucht es keine Panoramafunktion.
Johanna 2020-10-18 22:00
“Summit and sea” gefällt mir sehr :-) und Dir gefällt es bestimmt, dass es nun Winterzeit ist :-)) LG
way-up-north 2020-10-19 17:12
Ja, das tut es, Johanna, auch wenn es nur in den Bergen und vielleicht auch nur temporär ist.
Margrit Schneider 2020-10-20 18:47
Dear Olaf, wonderful photos. I will try to paint your sonny photo. But I don’t know, whether it goes! Yours Ma
way-up-north 2020-10-20 18:48
It’s always worth a try, Ma!