The Lemming-a-lanche!

This weekend we took off on Friday night for an overnight trip with our mad keen ski friend Bård - the aim was to try and find some more snow before it all goes. We drove out to Stjørdal and met Bård there, then onwards towards Meråker. After that we crossed the Swedish border and headed into the Snasahøgarna mountains.

The weather was a bit average - cloudy with patchy rain. We were able to ski up a river that was still full of meters deep snow - even though the surrounding land was completely snow free - it was some kind of lee valley where all wind blown snow must accumulate. There were great cracks like crevasses where the thick snow was slowly falling into the river.

Bård pokes the snow crevasse - it looks more dodgy than it was

The craziest thing of all on the way up however was the lemmings! The little furry creatures were scuttling everywhere, and there was also a multitude of dead ones sprinkled about on the snow. Bård told us they carry a disease and you shouldn't touch them or drink from water the may have contacted. There seems to be a great swarm of them this year!

Chris had to try chasing one - you would expect said lemming to run away, instead it stayed to fight ie. jumping, squeaking and ferociously eyeballing Chris's ski boot.


Cross lemming!

We found the wee emergency shelter we planned to stay in, it was quite cosy and seeing it was 9.30 and raining it was time for dinner and some within sleeping bag banter.
Our house for the night

It was quite windy and rainy through the night and in the morning it wasn't much better. We decided after a lazy morning in our little shelter that we should still try to ski some peaks. So we first headed up Getryggen (1382) in the complete fog. We skied down a cool narrow colouir and into a nice valley. It was at this point Chris realised he had dropped the camera somewhere on the way up!

After some deliberation of proceeding course of action we skied up Tvaraklumparna (1409) while some rain turned into a little snow. Bård had picked out a particularly challenging (for me) steep line off the top into the mist. Fortunately the line did have a good run out, but my heart was beating a bit as I made the first few turns off the ridge.

We set off a series of slush avalanches which you had to take care to avoid skiing through because they can knock you off balance. Halfway down we noticed all these little blobs in the avalanche and realised it was hundreds of lemmings being swept down in the snow!

After that it was 'camera retrieval' time - Chris climbed Getryggen 1382 from a slightly different angle to us and we met at the top - and he had located the camera by retracing our earlier steps - phew!
Great summit views of the mist once we finally got the camera back

We skied back to the shelter to pick up our things and then enjoyed a very gentle slide back down to the car.

On Sunday we ran in the Freidig Relay not far from our house, Chris won the first leg of the relay and set some new fashion trends after the race.

Chris looking very stylish in pink
Nice springtime orienteering in Bymarke

I did some research on the lemmings after-wards because I was very curious about them, so here are a few facts I learned:

- The population seems to fluctuate between years and there is speculation this may be a peaking year
- They get very angry when you try to go near them, but they don't explode (rumour). They may die due to shock however.
-It is a myth that they all run off cliffs in mass suicide
-They do carry some disease, especially tulameria (also known as “rabbit fever”)
- One Norwegian skier has already reported getting one stuck to there ski this year, but managed to get it off without the lemming hurting itself (-:


Tim said…
Yeah Chris looks great in pink. That is quite an impressive mess inside your tent there
Anne said…
I thought you had mistakenly put a photo of Ian in there, Em - sorry Chris!
Emily said…
Ha he, yes it was a stunning 'Ian'ish' photo of Chris.
Tim - that is all of our club's o gear - of course its a mess! (-:
Lizzie said…
Cute! (the lemmings that is, not chris in pink)

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