Today I hiked the last daylight tour this season. Next Saturday sunrise is 11:25 and sunset is 11:38. The following day a seven week period of polar night will begin.
I wanted to hike onto the top of the Nordtinden (640 m), which I assumed to have a lot of snow after last Sunday’s experience. But it turned out different than planned.
Let’s start with a funny selfie:
What’s that? Winter jacket and no snow? Aren’t you overdressed, Olaf? Well, first I was glad about the fur-rimmed hood, because it was quite stormy already in the lowlands and then I wanted to gain 600 metres in altitude. It would be colder and windier on the top of the mountain.
Part 1 – hiking the icy gravel road
At 9 o’clock – round one hour before sunrise – I parked my car in Skulsfjord on the island Kvaløya. There was enough light to start the tour. First I followed a gravel road for 2.4 km. Easy peasy when not the whole road had been covered with ice. I had snow shoes with me for later use, but no spikes for the shoes. Mistake.
Part 2 – following the trail up
After 2.4 km I turned left to follow the hiking trail up to the mountain Nordtinden. Well, mostly I avoided following it because it was very icy and slippery. I considered cancelling the tour but often I could walk on the bouncy patches of heather beside the trail and so continue the tour.
Part 3 – gaining height
A steep passage made me doubt again. Shall I return? Continue? Well, let’s go a tiny bit further, just ten other metres up. I was lucky. Now the terrain was less steep. First only a bit of snow covered the stones and the heather but soon more and more snow covered the ground.
Part 4 – coming to a dead end
I knew that I lost the regular way. The way itself was not visible anymore, but I could see on my interactive map that I was a bit lower than the trail. Maybe I could go up somewhere else.
It was stormy and gusty and the wind tried to blow me down several times. The snow was not fluffy but wind pressed and hard and therefore slippery. When I had to traverse a slope I mounted my snowshoes. It took a while because I had some issues with the bindings. Now it dared to traverse the snow field, but since I didn’t take my walking sticks with me (mistake) it was a bit hard to walk up in the wind and gain balance.
And then I came to a dead end. A quite beautiful dead end, but still a dead end. I had to return.
Part 5 – returning, retrying and finally returning
So I walked back until I finally met the trail again, at least according my iPhone map. The way itself was hidden under the snow. Beside of that Norwegian hiking trails can be marked quite poorly, you have to navigate by yourself.
OK, I can navigate. I even had paper map and compass with me. But where the trail supposed to be there were only snow and rocks. And it was quite steep. And the snowshoes were a bit bitchy. And sun would set at 13 o’clock. Therefore I made the decision to not to try to reach the summit but abandon the tour and return. And so I did.
First I walked on snow but then I had to put off my snowshoes. In the lower part I ignored the icy trail and walked down on the heather. Much easier! Three and a half hours later I arrived at my parked car.
It was a pity that I didn’t reach the top, but it was a fine though rough tour anyhow. From next week I have to find alternatives that are doable in twilight and darkness using a head torch.
For the records: 9.6 km, ca. 600 metres in altitude.