Journey to Lyngen Alps

Climbing up towards Tafeltinden - Day 4

Friday afternoon and school was out! We were off to Tromso, then further north to spend 10 days in the Lyngen Alps. We flew from Trondheim in nice spring weather, to arrive very bumpily into Tromso airport in 4 degrees and driving rain. We were questioning our decision to come north.

We located our 7 seater hire car and dropped Tim and Ally off at their comfy hotel, before heading back to the airport to collect Cris and find some bushes to camp in. By the time we found somewhere suitably grovelly to camp the rain had turned to snow, and we put up our tent and the three of us crammed in. It was a rather damp night - but it was free.

We met Tim and Ally in the morning (they were pretty happy because they had found a great techno party the night before) and we hung out in their hotel as the snow came down thick and fast. After that we decided to drive north, take the ferry across to the Lyngen peninsula . Shortly after the ferry crossing we parked the car and skied the few kilometers into Jaegervasshytte and found it cosy with 3 friendly Americans who had been doing loads of skiing in the area.

Serious route sussing on board the ferry between Tim and Ally

We made a big salmon dinner and enjoyed the evening in the hut. The following day the weather was still crap, snowing heavily and very wet. Cris, Chris and I decided to embark on a 'valley ski' straight through to the other side of the Lyngen range directly to the place we had booked in Kappangen, while Tim and Ally would drive around and pick up Hallvard on the way.

Cooking dinner in the cosy hut

We skied across the frozen lake and then on up the valley into the clouds. The wind was howling down the valley and the steep mountains towered up on either side of us. We had to cross a very low saddle (about 300m) before dropping slowly down the other side right back down to the sea. We couldn't see a thing on the initial descent, but fortunately it was very gentle.

Dropping down into Koppangen

We arrived at the sea and located three little red houses right on a jetty with a fish rack right beside them and a great view out towards the sea and some dramatic snowy cliffs plunging straight into the sea. It turned out we were staying in one of these wee red houses!

We found Tim inside cooking us up some delicious dinner, things were looking good. The snow kept falling and began piling up all over the jetty outside our house. Night came slowly, but eventually it got dark around 10.30. In the morning it was still clagged in and snowing, and we saw a powder avalanche come down from the cliffs above straight into the sea.

Cold and snowy out to sea - the view from our front window shortly after we arrived.

Things were not looking so good for heading high into the hills, so instead we drove on the windy roads through to Tamokdalen. There we were able to ski in some powder amongst the trees and stay beneath the cloud line. On the way back it was still 'puking' (an Ally-ism) and it was hard to see the road. Once we got home Hallvard cooked up a storm with a yummy fresh cod soup and some home made foccacia bread.
Throwing pebbles on the drive to Tamokdalen

Tuesday morning and the sky was a bluebird! We could see all the snow clad peaks around our place and the sun was out. After some deliberation we settled on a mountain - Daltinden (1533m). We skied up a nice valley alongside a brook amongst the birch forest. We crossed one massive avalanche debris, then started the climb up through the trees and out into the open. Once we got a bit higher we had our first great views over the fjord and the whole Lyngen Massif. The climb steepened and then finally we approached the flat summit cairn.

There were some big ice avalanches dropping off the surrounding peaks

Emily slowly climbing up towards the summit
A little picnic on top before we all got too cold and it was time to slash some powder!

It was nippy on top - around -10 with quite a breeze so we didn't muck around. With headcam on we started down the 30 degree descent and it was absolutely delicious! Fresh fluffy powder that made it feel as if you were floating. All too soon we were back down at the tree line, and then skinning back out down the valley to make it back down to the supermarket to buy some beer to enjoy out in the sun on our jetty.
SkiTrab-race-man crossing the bridge on the way out of the valley

Tuesday's meal was curry a la Chris, Cris was general dog's body. The forecast wasn't quite so good for Wednesday, so we decided on a smaller peak called Rørnestinden (1041 m). We met a friendly Australian called Richard who was living next door to us and he joined us on our trip. We skinned up a broad hillside along with several other skiing groups who were heading for another peak nearby.

The 'gang' on the way up

After lunch in a little windscoop which Chris dug out we climbed the gentle snowcap to the top. On the way up Chris and Richard took a high speed ascent of a nice looking slope out to the side of our mountain, then raced up to join us on the sunny and absolutely still summit. We enjoyed an awesome 300m descent down to the ridge in really nice snow, then decided it was worth a second run.

Heading up to the top for a second run

Chris on top with a great view down into the fjord

From the ridge we dropped down into a shady valley and snow conditions rapidly deteriorated to crusty ice. There was ice hard avalanche debris, and as we entered the trees we started crashing all over the place. Twenty minutes later we made it down to the valley after battling our way down amongst the trees and Chris ran back up the road to pick up the car.

In the evening we decided to try out the sauna, so after heating ourselves up to some warm temperatures we ran out onto the jetty and jumped into the freezing cold sea. It was kind of horrible, but felt amazing afterwards and there is something cool about jumping into the sea this far north. Hallvard made some delicious almond buns for dessert after all of that!
About to leave our front door - on skis!

Thursday morning (this morning) the weather was great again and we wanted to ski Tafeltinden (1395) which we could climb right from our house without any drive. There were several other groups heading up there, including some guided groups. We had to climb up a narrow gorge, then up a fairly narrow valley until we reached the Kopangen Breen (glacier). We climbed the gentle glacier for quite some time and ate lunch on our way up.

Heading up the majestic glacier

Crispin was enjoying himself a little too much on the way up!

We climbed into the upper part of the glacier with an amazing veiw out to the sea and also to the toothy peaks around the neve. We turned right and skinned up a steeper snow slope onto a great summit. Skins off, ski boots buckled down (or in Ally's case split board stuck together) and we skied down the long and gentle descent all the way back down to the gully and then right out to the sea!
Chris and me on top

Nice lines right off the summit
I really enjoyed the ski right back down to the seashore!

We hung out on the wharf until a few rain clouds popped up, then we retreated inside to create dinner. This time it was Ally's turn as head chef, and he made us real fish and chips. So we have four days left in Lyngen to enjoy more yummy dinners, good skiing and general sillyness, and of course eat plenty of Easter eggs along the way!


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