Norwegian Mountains, Sogn og Fjordane
Under Nigardsbreen, Feb 15 2010
Under Nigardsbreen (a side arm of Jostedalsbreen - Norway's largest glacier) you can go under the glacier and experience amazing caves/holes under the glacier. These caves (obviously) change from year to year and are very popular during winter. Not that a glacier is ever considered to be safe, but it's clearly most stabile during the cold season. Do not go under the glacier in spring, summer and autumn!!
Today, I had the opportunity to go with Anne Rudsengen - field inspector (Naturoppsyn) in the Jostedalsbreen national park and get a close look at this amazing ice scenery. We started out from Nigard and followed ski tracks to- and across Lake Nigardsvatnet (285m). Then the route climbed up to approx. 345m where we found the entrance to the main cave (UTM 32 V 405099 6839524 per Feb. 2010) after a 4,6km ski-trip. And holy cow - what an amazing place!
The cave consisted of one main "hall" with incredible details inside the ice. "Neural networks", perfectly shaped holes, translucent ice, tunnels out in the open, rocks frozen in "mid flight" and lots more. Oh yeah - and a pond with running water when the temperature was about -10 deg., and I was introduced to the concept of friction and pressure. I was marvelled by all the beauty, and felt like a child who just had to touch everything I could see.
After exploring the first cave, we moved over to a smaller one (UTM 32 V 405008 6839438 per Feb. 2010), 140m to the southwest. This was more a small cave than a hall, and to our surprise, we found a red "T" painted on a rock. Anne told me that there was a "T" trail leading up to the glacier in the past, so unless someone has left us with a (very funny) practical joke, this must mean that the glacier has advanced.
It was quite interesting to see rocks frozen into this ice and one can certainly better understand how the fjords and the valleys were formed, by being in a place like this. Books can take you far, but nothing beats this.
I could probably have been up here all day, but Anne's mission was completed, and I had a long drive back to Sunnmøre ahead of me. The sun was shining as we came out from the cave, and Jostedalen was just as beautiful as I remembered it to be from my last (and first) visit in 2005. Anne lent me a pair of lightweight skis for this trip, and we swapped pairs upon the descent. I've been so accustomed to heavy skis that I'd almost forgotten how nice real skiing is.
Other trip reports from the Jostedalsbreen region:
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 450D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
Outside and inside cave #1
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