maandag 14 mei 2018

Winter Fun - part 2

Fiercly standing between endless cubes of salty water are the steep mountains of Lyngen. Trapped on the island they overlook the sea, see the clouds coming and soon feel the soft tickling of fresh snowflakes falling on their shoulders. Officially it's spring, but the snowstorm encloses the area in a true winter feeling. Spring only reveals itself in the morning, when you wake up at 4 AM by the first sun rays hitting the bed. I open my eyes and see the mountains looking back behind the window. Lyngen, my home now, strikes my heart.

Majestic faces are coming out of the clouds. The temperature is rising during the day up to a stunning 12 degrees and the sun starts burning on the slopes with snow. Spring is definately on now. From time to time the mountains are roaring, throwing off their upper layer. I do so too, and the ski tours in t-shirt soon colour my skin. Winter has been long and cold up here, and the dark period left me looking like the snow hares here: completely white.

A group of reindeers nibbling on some grasses gets alerted from the clicking noise of my bindings when I walk up the mountain. They look at me, then run away. All reason to do so: tonight on the menu for the clients is reindeer. From february till May I am cooking for the clients of Ascent Descent, preparing sauna, doing transfers and trying to go out skiing myself as much as possible. For 3 months Lenangsstraumen is my home, Storgalten my backyard.

The sky is green, purple, white. Northern lights are dancing around, playfully hunting after each other. It seems like they enjoy the last moments of being out, before the midnight sun kicks in and steals their show. The white mountains glow up in the moonlight and they look beautiful to ski on. But the appearances are deceiving. It hasn't been snowing for two months now and the mountains have turned into big steep ice rinks. Even on the most gentle slopes (ski) crampons were necessary to get up. As a birthday present, fresh powder arrived in the second half of March, now the season really starts!

Hamperokken, picture by Merrick

High season is definately on. Big groups of people are going up Storgalten, and on the end of the day the mountain looks like a battlefield with all the tracks. For me it means long days in the kitchen, with sometimes short escapes on the planks, into the mountains. Having only limited time to go out has its advantages: condition and efficiency are reaching new levels, and quite often I manage to take over the crowds on Storgalten and get the first tracks down. When I finally had some days free, I couldn't think of anything better than going out skiing, with some Spanish guys this time. Great to be out with friends instead of alone!

Summit of Kavringsfjellet

Finally we got some really nice spring powder, and a happy little Aniek made the best out of the situation and ran around like a puppy on the Lille Galtens the whole day long, grinning like a cheshire cat. That the snowpack was not so deep became very clear when I hit a snow-covered stone and destroyed my ski. Hero of the day Magnus helped me out by borrowing me a pair of his skis, and the next day I had the best tour of the season: up Bj√łrndalstindan (in the crowds), down the north bowl (escaping from all the crowds), up Kvasstinden and down a fantastic run with deep powder and no single track to be found. For me this tour was the crown of all the tours I did alone this season, a tour in perfect weather and conditions where my skills gained this season came together. The happiness I felt when standing on the summit of Kvasstinden is impossible to describe, so I'll not even try it. In the evening a strong wind came up, destroying the snow once again. With a temperature of above 10 degrees the skiing season felt over. Rock climbing time! A free week was spent in Ersfjorden/Brensholmen/Baugen, climbing in tshirt bathing in the sunshine. Happy I didn't lost all my strength and climbing skills while standing on the skis!

Congita on Tunga 7a+, picture by Stefan

Sitting on the veranda in Lyngen I am slowly getting sunburned. In one week time a lot of snow has melted, and it's necessary to boot pack to the snow. I am skiing some gullies I didn't ski before, but my head is already in Bohuslän. One more week of work and then I'm off, off to Sweden for 3 weeks of trad climbing! I am very grateful for what I learned here in Lyngen, both about the work and the skiing. I met great people, made beautiful tours and got to experience Lyngen at its best and worst. But hey, that's how good relationships work, and it's good to know that Lyngen will always be there for me. These mountains, rising up from the sea, stole my heart. Thanks for this season everyone, it was a blast!

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