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Awesome good weather was forecasted and I sat down and tried to figure out where to go this Sunday. The main purpose was to test brand new equipment which I got for a project later in the season. The equipment was plastic Telemark boots, skis and some clothing. I was considering any cool mountain in Hordaland until I stepped outside and noticed the night frost. I had troubles walking, and decided I would not go for a long drive after all. In circumstances such as these, Gullfjellet is a convenient place to go.
I have never worn plastic boots before, so this was certainly a new experience. At lake Osavatnet, I figured I should stay outside the trade route and sat course for Kinndalen valley a little after 10:00AM. At lake Svartavatnet, I ran into a group of three other skiers that were heading the same way. Two of them were "hard core" Gullfjellet experts, and I had great interest in picking up some local information. We stayed together all the way to the summit.
The skis were not rubbed in, and since I have little or no clue on what to put under, I was generous in putting on wax. Gullfjellet is a challenge when it comes to preparing the skis, as conditions shift on the mountain. I had adequate grip on snow, but as I had feared, Vossavardane above Kinndalen offered little but a frozen crust. The grip was overwhelmingly missing. The plastic boots were however a nice experience, and I never gave them a second thought.
When we took on the Gullfjellhalsen ridge, I chose to walk the steep part to the top. The hillside was frozen solid, because I couldn't get anywhere with skis on. How much vax does it take? Once on top, the skis came on and we continued to the Gullfjellstoppen summit, arriving on top at approx. 13:30PM. Normally, I would have been back at the car by that time, but we had spent a lot of time chatting, and even included a longer break below Gullfjellhalsen.
As expected, lots of people were either arriving or leaving the summit. I left the group and went off to find out if the new skis and boots would enhance my skiing capabilities down the mountain. They did, and it was altogether a pleasant experience, except for the climb up to point 914m, where I had no grip left. Although the new equipment had helped me descend Gullfjellet in a reasonable style, I still felt fairly clumsy compared to the die-hard Telemark skiers that shot past me down the hills. Even so, for the first time, I fully enjoyed skiing down to Osavatnet, including the notorious Korketrekkeren which was not designed for cross-country skiing. The "trade route" had soft snow, which was a very welcome change from the icy mountain I had crossed.
Back home, it was time to take the dog to Ulriken. The "babysitter" was playing with him in the backyard, and he was howling like a wolf when he realized his .. almost daily .. hike to Ulriken was in the works. Nothing out of the ordinary usually happens on a hike to Ulriken, But Troll gave me the laughter of the day, and I aim to share;
The soft snow inspired me to slide on foot next to the upper stairs on Ulriken. It's steep enough to get some speed. I tried to get the dog to run down ahead of me. He didn't want to, so I ... talked him into it. In no time, his belly had built up a large "pillow" of snow under him, and he was now floating on top, with arms and legs pointing east, west, north and south. Next on the agenda was the matter that he didn't stop where he was supposed to. He kept on sliding. Further down, there was a large cornice that would give him an unpleasant jump. I had to get hold of him before then. To my right was a young girl who found the stairs quite intimidating. I noticed she was clinging to the rails for her life just as I set off to rescue the dog. I am confident I didn't contribute in building up her psyche. The "pillow" had now grown larger, and the dog fell off before reaching the cornice. Before I reached him, he had escaped the hellish hillside and insisted on following the regular trail. A number of people had become spectators and when Troll received their petting, claps and sympathy, it was almost impossible to get the dog moving again. Another good day in the mountains for the two of us.
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