From autumn to winter – a tour to the Litjeblåmannen
This article is part of the series “2021-07: Back in Tromsø”.
My first concert with the chamber choir Ultima Thule was supposed to be today but due to the increasing COVID-19 cases in Tromsø the board decided to cancel the concert. That’s a pity but gave me a free day and the opportunity to continue with my #onceaweek project. I decided for a tour to the Litjeblåmannen (860 metres above sea level).
At 8:40 I have parked my car and start the tour. Temperature is -5 °C. Brr! I regret that I left my long johns home. That changes quickly when I take the first steep climb up the forest path and start to sweat. All trees have shed their leaves and are bare.
At 8:40 is sunrise. Half an hour later I can see the sun rise above the mountains. Ten minutes later I have left the birches behind and the landscape opens. I am gaining altitude and soon the path starts to cross the first snow fields.
Ten other minutes later snow and rocks start to dominate the landscape. It looks like winter. The autumn is left behind in the valley. I see a radio mast, part of the radio station on the Rundfjellet (472 m). Well, that was easy.
I decide to continue the tour. But where? The tour description mentions that I have to go down 50 metres. I hardly see any waymarks or a track but soon some foot steps that I follow. According to map and compass it’s the right direction. The terrain gets rockier, steeper and is partly icy but at least I spot some waymarks again. I stop to strap my spikes under the boots. Safety first! Less than an hour later I pass another radio station. I do not look closer because the terrain behind the building is very steep.
The terrain continues being steep and rocky but after a while I reach a plateau. Now it’s winter. Beside of some tufts of grass covered with frost there’s only snow and rocks.
From now on it’s much simpler to walk on this snow covered plateau and soon I reach the mountain summit Botnfjellet (844 m).
That’s however not my destination. Well, the summit of Litjeblåmannen looks far away but it takes only 20 more minutes to go there.
Break! Summit selfie!
The fur hood is not only for looking wintry on the selfie. It was colder than expected and after the selfies I put on my down pullover. Checking the temperature at Tromsø airport and subtracting 0.6 °C per 100 metres altitude I guess that the temperature is round -7 °C. The wind makes my mind change about wearing long johns a second time.
I eat a bit of chocolate and drink some Sprite before the frost transformed it into slush. I’m completely alone and I haven’t met anyone yet. It’s just beautiful up here with views on snowy mountain chains everywhere but on the snowless lowlands and the fjords as well.
After 20 minutes break I start my way down. First I follow my own tracks until I met the first mountain hiker today. Now I follow her steps. Does she know a better way?
Some impressions from the way down:
While I descend more and more the sun starts to set. I hike cross-country. Less and less snow covers the ground until I reach a terrain consisting of terraces of wetlands and dense birch thickets. The wetlands are easy to cross, since the ground is mostly frozen and I have rubber boots. The birch thickets however take some time to squeeze through. Looking back I can see purple clouds indicating that the sun already has set.
At 14:40 I arrive at the car. -4 °C. According to my app I walked 15 km and 1120 metres in altitude. I started before sunrise and arrived after sunset. This gives me the right to be very lazy the rest of the day. The blog article I want to write anyhow.
I met three persons in total:
- A woman in my age in clothes that probably have been used on countless tours for many years,
- A young woman in a grey woollen sweater hiking up quite fast while talking loudly on her cell phone.
- A packed sleeping bag on a stone in the wetlands. A sleeping bag with a book. Wait! No, it’s a hood with a book. Wait! No, it’s a person leaning against a large rock reading. In the middle of some wet slope on the island Kvaløya. People here really like being outdoors.
So much for today. And now I have to stretch!
I just went to the kitchen and felt, that the outside light had changed. It had! It had snowed some centimetres and is still snowing. Everything is white. Beautiful!