Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal
Høgenipa on skis from Norddalen, Feb 6 2010
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Two weeks earlier, Anne Rudsengen and I were on our way to Høgenipa, but because of a navigational blunder (lack of focus) in the forest above Norddalen, we agreed to change the plan and head up Myrkevassegga insted. All in all just as well, as the weather wasn't very good and views from the top would have been poor.
There were however no complaints about the weather on this Saturday. Given our late start in the morning, the plan for the day was Vorkinna by Syvdsfjorden. But just after crossing Syvdsfjorden, we quickly calculated that we would have enough daylight for Høgenipa and changed the plan accordingly. On the way to Syvden and Norddalen, we enjoyed the view towards the beautiful Syvdsalpane.
The only downside was that my right eye was acing. I assumed I had gotten something in it, and looked forward to get on the mountain and let the wind .. sort it out.
Being already a bit familiar with part of the Norddalen valley after the Myrkevassegga trip, we knew where to find the forest road that would take us in the direction of Høgenipa. We drove up to a house and asked for permission to park. Permission was wholeheartedly granted by an elderly man who informed us that thanks to his tractor tracks, our ascent would be quite easy.
But this also meant that the descent would be more challenging. The road was too fast to just race down, and it would be impossible to make any turns. But we would "worry" about that later. Now we had to reach Høgenipa before sunset. As we left the trailhead, his wife came down the forest road on a toboggan, with a big smile on her face.
As the man had promised, the ascent up the forest was easy, and as we reached the end of the road (420m) we met a man on a snowmobile who offered to give us a lift into Årdalen. Anne's polite, but firm "NO THANKS!" was not to be misunderstood...
It was quite windy above the forest, and we suspected that the summit would be a very cold place. We discussed the ascent route, and settled for a "head on" approach. We were on the alert in respect to avalanche danger, but the route up Botnane appeared to be safe. There was no "noise" to be heard from the snow, and the snow below the upper crust seemed stable.
The snow got harder as we got into the shadow of the summit pyramid, but it was still safe (the north side is exposed) to ski all the way up to the top. We arrived at the summit cairn 3:25pm - 2h:50m after leaving the trailhead.
As expected, the summit was a cold place. We agreed to visit the east top (Litlenipa) before taking a break. Seen from the summit cairn, it wasn't obvious that we could get ski all the way to the other side, but the ridge turned out to be quite gentle. On our way across the ridge we came across a wind-free spot, something we found very odd. In any case, we decided to stop for a break here, upon returning from Litlenipa.
Litlenipa was reached 3:40pm, and holy cow - what a viewpoint! I was SO glad we didn't reach this peak 14 days earlier. I've seen the Sunnmørsalpane range from all different angles, hundreds of times, but I'm still getting filled with great joy - every time. The time, the effort - it's all worth it. And Anne didn't seem unhappy either...
It was getting quite late in the afternoon, and it was time to head down. The wind and the sunset made the descent an unforgettable one. Seldom have I seen such amazing colours in the mountains. The wind-packed snow wasn't easy to ski, but it got easier down in Årdalen, where we could just let the skis flow on the hard crust.
We found a good solution to the forest road "problem" and skied the soft snow on the road's shoulder. We returned to the trailhead 5pm - 4h:25m after heading out. The Mrs. in the house came out and greeted us - seemingly happy that the "strangers" had returned, safe and sound. And only minutes later, darkness fell.
The wind did not sort out my eye problem, and on our way back to Gurskøya, I was in a rather bad shape. I decided to call the emergency ward and asked if there was a doctor present (this is the country side..). Fortunately, there was one, and Anne drove me directly to the ward where I got proper care and medication for the inflammation. On the next day, the eye was as good as new.
The first set of 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.
To the Høgenipa trailhead
Wide-angle view from Høgenipa
Zoom panoramas from Litlenipa
Returning to Høgenipa
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