Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal
Kvitegga, May 10 2008
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Sveinung Klyve ..
is a friend from Voss. While being an expert on the Voss and Vaksdal mountains, he also enjoys to visit other mountain areas too. In addition to his job, he's also a photographer, an author/writer and a mountain guide. So, during Pentacost, Sveinung would be my guest in Ålesund, and I had to decide on where we should go. It would have been easy to pick mountains that I knew already, but this would also be a good opportunity to visit some new mountains.
The first mountain simply had to be Kvitegga. I had promised myself to visit this mountain during spring, but as I have been sick all through spring, it never happened. I also asked Svein Myhre if he wanted to come along, knowing he wanted to visit this mountain in spring too. Svein gave thumbs up, and the three of us left Ålesund on the 07:50AM ferry towards Sykkylven.
It was just a gorgeous day. And hot too. We left the Snødalen trail head (300m) 09:30AM. We had to carry the skis up to 450m, and it was a pure delight to continue on skis. Svein wanted to visit Blåfjellet on the way upwards, and at 1140m, we turned north and skied up to Blåfjellet summit (arriving at 11:27AM), where we had lunch. The view towards Norangsdalen was outstanding, and we also got a good view towards the Kvitegga ridge from here. It was certainly worth while to visit Blåfjellet.
Close to noon, we continued towards Kvitegga. On the way up the looong hill above Blåfjellet, the first skier came down in blizzard-speed. With Norangsdalen in the background, I could have got myself a really fine picture, but the skier was long gone before I could even think.
We passed point 1586m 12:48PM and the broad Kvitegga ridge opened up in front of us. I had the feeling that I was skiing a branch of Jostedalsbreen. And just "up the alley" - an infinite number of wild and rugged peaks. The contrasts were enormous. Sveinung stated what we all knew - "Hordaland doesn't have mountains like these.."
We reached the top of Kvitegga 13:13PM, and after a round of pictures, we headed down to the viewpoint where some rocks had surfaced. There were a number of skiers on the mountain now. And a dog (not mine) too! We chatted with some locals who knew the region quite well, relaxed and enjoyed the day.
The views were simply breathtaking. We identified mountains on Ørskogfjellet, Lodalskåpa, Snønipa, Gjegnen in Nordfjord, mountains between Skei and Byrkjelo, Puttegga, Skridulaupen, as well as most of the peaks in the Sunnmørsalpene mountain range.
Kvanngrønibba and an "interesting" descent
We left Kvitegga 14:08PM and agreed that we should pay a visit to Kvanngrønibba. I reached the top 14:37PM and the others followed shortly after. Running on vax-free skis, I didn't have to deal with skins. We then discussed whether we should descend to the southeast or return on the normal route. From what we could see of the southeast ridge upon ascent, it didn't look too steep. I volunteered to ski ahead and report back.
Skiing down from Kvanngrønibba was just brilliant. I didn't find the will to stop and skied all the way down to a plateau below 1220m. I noticed I was too close to the edge and corrected my course. The ridge fell steep towards Vardfjellet ahead of me. I dreaded a 300m re-ascent of Kvanngrønibba. For natural reasons. Our vertical gain was already 1550m.
I took the skis off and went over the edge to get a good overview of the terrain beneath. I saw a hillside that was not too steep, and slabs halfway down. I decided to proceed. To my right was chaos terrain, and I wondered if I was on a glacier. At this elevation? Nah. Down by the slabs, I understood that the chaos were blocks of snow that had fallen off the steep cliff above.
I found a route down the slippery slabs and proceeded carefully. I had no intention of falling into a hole, should there be one. Once down, I called Svein on his cellphone and told them to proceed.
I watched their descent from my position on a rock point on Vardfjellet. A large cornice broke just meters away from where I had skied. The sound resembled deep thunder, but they didn't hear it. In any case, they seemed to stay in safe distance from the edge. Sveinung and Svein decided to ski down (except while crossing the slabs). I won't pretend I wasn't concerned about the snow conditions, but I didn't feel unsafe upon descent. Watching is a different matter, though..
More fun skiing awaited as we descended into Snødalen and joined our ascent route at 680m. We caught up with another group and they asked where we came from. When we told we had descended via Kvanngrønibba, the response was that we had been in a high-risk area. We sort of understood that already and continued down the forest. At 450m, the skis had to come off. We were back at the car 16:00PM, after a 6,5 hour brilliant trip.
Extra credit goes to Svein, who took our skis in his car, allowing Sveinung and myself to drive convertible back to Ålesund. At Stranda, we decided to shop for beer and food for the weekend. To our surprise, all stores (throughout Norway, presumably) closed 16:00PM this Saturday. And they wouldn't open until Tuesday. Doh! Well, we could always shop for bread and dinner at gas stations, but gas stations don't sell beer. But my good friend Per in Ålesund had plenty beer to spare, and saved the day.
The next day, we skied Sylvkallen.
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 300D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
To Snødalen trail head
Wide-angle view from Blåfjellet
Wide-angle view from point 1586m
Wide-angle view from Kvitegga
85mm zoom views from Kvitegga