May 17

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Lyngen day 7

Unfortunately for Will, after we dropped him off at the ferry in Svensby the weather started to pick up, and today the weather is glorious.  We wanted to have another go at a higher altitude peak which would offer glacier snow, and opted to take on Tafeltinden, a classic summit just shy of 1400m.

We drove the car all the way around the bottom of the peninsula, past Lyngseidet, and parked the car in the small fishing village of Koppangen at 710304.  The snow here came almost all the way down to the sea so we were able to put the skis on immediately.  We made our way west across the valley before linking up with the small stream which disappeared every now and then underneath the snow and rocks.  There was one slope before getting on to the glacier proper which was steep and loose – it felt like it might be prone to avalanche so we kept our spacing and moved over the slope as quickly as possible.

Once on the glacier the conditions changed markedly, with the snow colder and fresher.  To our left the north facing slopes had shed a lot of snow in a series of avalanches, some of which were quite big with chunks of snow the size of a large chest of drawers.  We stuck towards the north of the glacier’s flow, hopefully out of reach of any more avalanches which might slip into the valley.  On this hot, sunny day we could hear little avalanches being triggered on the steep slopes around us, and so for much of the ascent we maintained a good amount of separation, and kept our eyes open.

The skinning conditions were perfect, with a couple of inches of fresh snow overlaying the hard re-frozen snow underneath.  The view behind us, down to the sea, was spectacular, and the climb passed by in a very pleasant fashion until we’d got to around 950m in grid 6632 where one of Iain’s Dynafit bindings pinged apart, sending pins, springs, and screws into the snow.  Fortunately we had a multi-tool, the ever useful duct-tape, and some cable ties, and managed to bodge the binding together well enough to see us through the rest of the day.

Some clouds were threatening to form over the peak in front of us, but we pressed on, agreeing to turn back if conditions worsened.  Even though visibility wasn’t too bad, there were a couple of bits of skiing which would be a little tricky in less than perfect conditions, especially with a fragile binding.  As it was, the weather held, and we skirted to the north of Tafeltinden’s summit.  We bumped into a couple of Norwegians we’d met before on Storgalten, who were on their way down after skiing what they assured us was fantastic snow.  With this promise we picked up the pace and after curling to the south we climbed one last slightly steeper slope, and were on the summit.

This was without doubt the nicest climb of the whole trip, with good visibility all the way up, great views down to the sea, and some classic, steep, beautiful alpine peaks.  We were too excited about the ski down to spend too much time on the summit, and we set off, broadly following our tracks down.  The snow at the top was indeed fantastic, very light, knee deep powder – had the climb been unpleasant this would have made it all worthwhile, and as the climb was great it felt like a real bonus.  The snow stayed nice down to around 700m where the coverage was a little thinner, but here the slope was too shallow for good skiing anyway.  The nasty slope we’d hurried over in the morning was even less pleasant after several hours’ sun so we moved over this quickly after struggling a little to find a route through the rock bands which were coming through as the snow melted.  We were back at the car in time for tea and medals, or in this case, in time to try to purchase some dried fish from Koppangen’s fishing port.  Alas no one was there to sell us any (which I viewed as a fortunate turn of events given how the dried fish looked) and we drove home in high spirits.



Permanent link to this article: http://www.snowgenius.com/2012/05/17/lyngen-day-7/

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