Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal
Heggdalshornet and Oppstadhornet on skis from Nord-Heggdal, Apr 6 2008
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My good friend Petter ..
was visiting me in Ålesund this week-end. As I had some kind of a virus infection, Petter went solo to Sprovstinden on Saturday. The weather was really bad. Upon descent, he called me during his lunch-break on Sandtinden and reported: (chewing sounds) visibility 10 meters, (chewing sounds) the GPS is reporting batteries low (chewing sounds), and icy conditions below Sandtinden. I told him to stick to the left. He concurred (still chewing). Good ol' Petter ...
A "big project" was ..
scheduled for Sunday. The plan was to ascend Middagstinden (1569m) in Rauma and that Daniel would join us at the trail head. Middagstinden is not simply a gentle hill and I had been looking forward to this ascent all week. But the body failed me at the crucial hour, and after only having slept one hour during the night, I cancelled the Middagstinden project early Sunday morning. The weather forecast was a bit confusing and ended up with reporting snowfall throughout the day.
Petter and I decided instead to visit Oppstadhornet on Otrøya. As Petter is (mostly) collecting tops with a high primary factor, Oppstadhornet would be his carrot. Mine would be Heggdalshornet, which I hadn't been to yet. It would be a low-key ski-trip with plenty of exit options, should I be in need of some.
When is winter officially over?
At least not this Sunday morning. A good dump of snow made driving conditions difficult. Those responsible for maintaining the roads probably bet on a rising temperature during the day. At least there were no signs of any plows this morning.
Passing Brattvåg, the snow was gone and we had timed the 09:15AM ferry well. 10:17AM, we had found the trail head in Nord-Heggdal and were on our way with our skis on our backpack. We had assumed that we would have to ascend several hundred meters before entering skiing terrain, but this wasn't to be the case. 15 minutes after leaving the trail head, we had our skis on and it was raining.
Skins or no skins?
As we reached the end of the forest road, the rain had stopped and we made our way towards the mountain. Creeks had to be crossed - always amusing when skiing.
I decided to try my luck without skins today. I had vax-free skies and the snow seemed perfect. I was curious about how far I could get. Petter chose skins, mainly because of his choice of skis. As the snow began to stick firmly to his skins, he repeatedly uttered exactly how he felt about skins..
As we reached the Heggdalshornet - Oppstadhornet saddle, several sections with hard snow/ice had to be crossed. Some leftover glue (from skins) made some snow stick to the skis, allowing me to continue without putting the skins on. Bonus!
Heggdalshornet and "the light"
We arrived on Heggdalshornet 12:45PM. The weather was not bad for sure, but not great either. Clouds came and went. But I'll always remember the magic light when the sun broke through. There was not a trace of anything in the snow. It was a virgin landscape, and it felt a bit wrong to leave tracks all over the place. But it couldn't be helped. We were here for the top. To me, the light alone was enough to make the trip especially memorable.
Skiing down Heggdalshornet was fun. The hillside was a bit steep (approx. 30 deg.) and almost 700m below was the fjord and a landscape in full spring. Incredible contrasts! Skiing towards Oppstadhornet was even more fun. We skied close (not too close) to the cornices and enjoyed the coast-to-mountain dimension that places like this offer.
We reached Oppstadhornet's summit 13:45PM and as expected, the summit was completely fogged in. Just like the last time I was up here. On the other hand, the weather could have been far worse, and the fog was only sitting on top of the summit. I had now skied two tops without skins or vax. Double bonus! I was particularly happy about this, because I find skiing so much more fun when I don't have those things to deal with.
The descent was very enjoyable. The skiing conditions weren't top class, but still allowed for a lot of fun. I felt strong and fine. Except for a strong headache. I had asked my body for the strengths needed for this trip, and I got them. I postponed wondering at what cost? until later in the day..
A lot of snow on the forest road had melted during the day, and in several places there was no snow left. It would make sense to walk on foot instead, but the next section with snow always looked too tempting. We were back at the car 15:04PM, almost 5 hours after leaving.
Our ferry didn't leave until 17:20PM, so we had time to kill. At Dryna, I noticed a sign saying "Franskhelleren". I decided to go and find out what it meant. Pictures can be seen here.
During the afternoon, my physical shape got worse by the hour. The headache was now splitting and my chest sounded funny. But at least I got a very memorable ski-trip in return.
Petter's trip report can be found here.
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