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Come Skiing above the Arctic circle this spring!

Come and join me this April in the Lyngen Alps of Norway! The preliminary date is the week of the 13th to 20th.

The summit plateau of Fugdldalsfjellet

The summit plateau of Fugldalsfjellet

Ski Touring above the Arctic circle with the long spring days, tracing lines down beautiful open slopes above the thawing fjords, the vistas are nothing short of spectacular, the open calmness of the place, liberating. 

skiing great snow, alone with the clouds and the shadows on the south island

skiing great snow, alone with the clouds and the shadows on the south island

I have a good knowledge of the area and conditions as I spent six weeks skiing in the area in 2011 and have contact with locals who can update me on recent happenings in the conditions. You’ll get picked up from the airport, eat and sleep in the comfort of a lodge and be guided for six days of ski touring. 

Skinning up towards Jiehkkevárri, the highest summit on the southern island.

Skinning up towards Jiehkkevárri, the highest summit on the southern island.

This trip is not extreme skiing, we will aim to do classic tours on beautiful summits where just being in the mountains with these surroundings is a pleasure and risks will kept to reasonable minimum. We will also be looking to ski the best possible snow we can find on each day.

skinning on the spring morning snow above the Sørfjorden

skinning on the spring morning snow above the Sørfjorden

There are literally hundreds of possibilities, we will decide our objectives day by day depending on the mountain conditions and the motivations of the group. The height gain will be between 600 and 1500m per day. We’ll do summits such as Kavringtinden 1289m, Sofiatinden 1222m, Stetinden 920m, Storgalten 1219m, Tafeltinden 1395m, as well as many other possible itineraries.

It will be a maximum group size of 6 people and a minimum of 4. If you would like more details, let me know and I will e-mail  you a detailed program with a price list. Hope to see you there!

on our way to Trollvasstinden..

on our way to Trollvasstinden..

enjoying the ride down to the ocean!

enjoying the ride down to the ocean!

Contact me

Powder days are here again!

Hearing about dry mountains and thin snow cover from my sweaty bungalow in south-east Asia, I wasn’t too optimistic about the skiing this January. Arriving home to an unpredictable snowpack thanks to the constructive metamorphism of December’s meagre snowfall lurking beneath the new layers in the two to three thousand metre range on northern aspects and a general lack of covering confirmed my doubts.

Skiing the trees in Italy last December, yesterdays conditions were similar..

Skiing the trees in Italy last December, yesterdays conditions were similar..

However, since new year the snow has been falling in the Alps and yesterday was a good powder day in Courmayeur, Italy. The snowpack is a bit thicker over there and we had a great day in the trees. With careful route choice and some local knowledge the skiing in the Alps is quite good now.

Here’s Erik’s new little edit from a fun day last April:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKJRJYFHvQs&w=560&h=315]

End of season summits: Weissmies traverse, Mt. Blanc de Cheillon traverse, Gran Paradiso

With shadows lengthening and becoming more defined on the alpine landscape, fresh snow dusts the summits and the leaves change colour as the mornings come with a crisp freshness and the shy sun takes early refuge behind the horizon, leaving the natural world to dance on its last touches of warmth before the darkness lays down its cold, calm blanket.

The autumn can be one of the most pleasant times to climb in the Alps. With decent weather one can climb the classic summer routes and with the new snow and colder temperatures it is often an ideal time to climb some of the steeper ice gullies or north faces in the Mont Blanc range.

The end of the summer and early autumn have included the following ascents:

Weissmies traverse

This is an aesthetic and varied traverse of moderate difficulty on one of the 4000m summits surrounding the Saas valley.

sunrise above the Allmageller Hut, nearing the start of the climbing

sunrise above the Allmageller Hut, nearing the start of the climbing

the Mischabel chain across the valley just after sunrise

the Mischabel chain across the valley just after sunrise

The exceptionally snowy summer makes it possible for teams to gain more height on the snow than is possible in most years.

The exceptionally snowy summer makes it possible for teams to gain more height on the snow than is possible in most years.

The team putting on crampons on the subsiduary summit.

The team putting on crampons on the subsidiary summit.

the summit ridge

the summit ridge

the Weissmies summit

the Weissmies summit

 

Mt. Blanc de Cheillon is one of the less famous summits of the Valais mountain range due to the fact that it doesn’t quite reach 4000m but is a very worthwhile objective with an imposing pyramid form above its plunging north face, bordered by seracs on both ridge lines. The traverse is an excellent journey up the expansive glacier below the Serpentine and along the airy east ridge to the summit, the descent by the west ridge is easier than the ascent. It’s an AD rated climb taking between 6 and 8 hours from hut to hut.

sunrise from below the Serpentine with the Pigne d'Arolla in the foreground and the Matterhorn in the distance

sunrise from below the Serpentine with the Pigne d’Arolla in the foreground and the Matterhorn in the distance

Mont Blanc de Cheillon east ridge

Mont Blanc de Cheillon east ridge

 

Gran Paradiso is the highest summit entirely in Italy, not sharing its summit with France or Switzerland, more importantly it’s an ideal climb for beginner mountaineers, requiring more fitness than technique even though the scramble to the summit virgin Mary is exposed. The view is exceptional and the challenge not negligible.

an autumn afternoon approach to the Rifugio Chabod

an autumn afternoon approach to the Rifugio Chabod

taking in the first views of the objective

taking in the first views of the objective

view from the well equipped winter hut

view from the well equipped winter hut

everyone on top!

everyone on top!

 

 

 

Plenty of space to play in the Burnese Oberland

The climbing in the Burnese Oberland is slightly different to the other areas of the Alps. The summits are high, with steep limestone on their northern flank, to the south of the watershed its a maze of peaks divided by expansive glaciers really giving the feeling of being in a big, slightly wild place. It is a long range of mountains extending from the Col du Sanetsch in the west to Grimsel Pass in the east with a lifetime of mountaineering and rock climbing possibilities if we start to look at the sub-four thousand metre peaks.

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View east into the Oberland from the Mutthorn hut with left to right: the Eiger, Junfrau and Abeni Flue dominating the skyline.

Looking west into the Oberland from the Engelhorner. The horizon from left to right: Froschkopf, Kingspitze, Kastor, Rosenhorn, Mittelhorn, Wellhorn and Wetterhorn with the huge face of the Scheideggwetterhorn to the right.

Looking west into the Oberland from the Engelhorner. The horizon from left to right: Froschkopf, Kingspitze, Kastor, Rosenhorn, Mittelhorn, Wellhorn and Wetterhorn with the huge face of the Scheideggwetterhorn to the right.

A few weeks ago the Rosenlauistock and traverse of the Kleine and Grosse Simelistock were the objectives with Laurie from Australia. Here are some photos from these two days of alpine rock climbing in the Engelhorner:

The Rosenlauigletscher behind good limestone climbing.

The Rosenlauigletscher behind good limestone climbing.

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traversing pitch on the Rosenlauistock with the Wellhorn behind

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overhanging abseil on the descent

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taking in the morning views from the Kleine Simelistock

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great climbing, perfect setting

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Engelhorn ambiance

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Another party on the summit of the Kleine Simelistock where we had just come from.

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climbing the ridge up to the Grosse Simelistock

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on the crest

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summit sandwich

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looking back up at the “mountain goat” descent

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relaxing in the meadows below the imposing cirque

 

The Oberland is most famous for its high alpine summits and the biggest glaciers in Europe, here are some photos from the Finsteraarhorn, Hinterfiescherhorn traverse, the Grunegghorn and the Monch in late July.

the Finsteraarhorn in the morning light

the Finsteraarhorn in the morning light

the rimed up summit cross of the Finsteraarhorn

the rimed up summit cross of the Finsteraarhorn

Finsteraarhorn summit view over towards the Aletschhorn, Grosse Grunhorn and the Jungfrau

Finsteraarhorn summit view over towards the Aletschhorn, Grosse Grunhorn and the Jungfrau

the Grosse Wannenhorn  with the Valais behind

the Grosse Wannenhorn with the Valais behind

Grunegghorn summit view up the Ewigshneefeld with the Hinter and Grosse Fiescherhorn on the right and the Eiger at the top of the valley.

Grunegghorn summit view up the Ewigshneefeld with the Hinter and Grosse Fiescherhorn on the right and the Eiger at the top of the valley.

sunrise from the Monchjoch hut

sunrise from the Monchjoch hut

The view down the Aletschgletscher from the top of the Monch

The view down the Aletschgletscher from the top of the Monch

The Monch summit ridge

The Monch summit ridge

Spring powder to end my Chamonix ski season

Here are some photos with a film in the previous post from a couple of runs around Chamonix, ending my ski season:

Tomas climbing up to the Col des Cristaux above the Argentiere glacier.

Tomas climbing up to the Col des Cristaux above the Argentiere glacier.

Tomas skiing the face

Tomas skiing the face

Col des Cristaux with the head of the Argentiere basin behind.

Col des Cristaux with the head of the Argentiere basin behind.

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Eric enjoying some powder at the top of La Noire NNW face.

Eric enjoying some powder at the top of La Noire NNW face.

Skiing down a steeper, narrow section to make a small rappel.

Skiing down a steeper, narrow section to make a small rappel.

Good powder turns all the way down the face!

Good powder turns all the way down the face!

skiing the Glacier de la Noire with the Glacier de Periades and Mer de Glace below.

skiing the Glacier de la Noire with the Glacier de Periades and Mer de Glace below.

Painting lines on mountains winter 13

Winter 2013 has been filled with good powder turns, here are a few images from the last couple of months.

Good pow on the south faces round Chamonix this winter!

Good pow on the south faces round Chamonix this winter!

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Beautiful terrain near La Grave

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Couloir skiing near to La Grave, France

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Laying some tracks on a ski tour from Grands Montets

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Getting the goods in Les Aiguilles Rouges near Chamonix

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A guest from Canada discovering a powder day, Chamonix style! 4900m of descent in a day with runs like this couloir off the Grands Montets..

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Touring in Les Aiguilles Rouges delivers as always.

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Touring near Chamonix yesterday

a cogne classic

That familiar ring tone of the alarm that breaks the silence of the night, an unwelcome visitor arriving well before sunrise, this is the standard start for a day trip to the ice centre of Cogne in Italy. After the obligatory coffee and croissant stop in a warm Italian café, Magnus and I set off down the trail as the first glow of a new day toyed with the jagged horizon of the Gran Paradiso range. Being early and Monday we were first at the foot of Repentance in the Valnontey valley.

repentance

repentance

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starting

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Magnus reaching the belay, pitch 1

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Start of pitch 2

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leaving the belay on the third pitch

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topping out on the first steep wall

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the team on the plateau above the route

Walking for wind-crust and lift served pow

Skinning up a wind scoured valley to the Col du Grand St. Bernard last Saturday it didn’t look like good skiing was on the menu for the day.. We stopped for some tea at the Hospice before climbing a small summit between Mt. Fourchon and Pt. de Drone. We got some great views over the Mt. Blanc range and some good turns on the ride down.

 

Envers du Mt. Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses

Envers du Mt. Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses

Olivier and me on top

Olivier and me on top

The first descent on the day

The first descent on the day

We then went back over the ridge into Switzerland and got some great practice in skiing wind crust from the shoulder of the Pt. de Drone.

On Sunday Max motivated me into going for a run off the Midi, wasn’t bad.

Max in action

Max in action

same

same

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Aiguillette en Decembre

Enjoying some sun and fresh snow last week, on a morning ski tour near Les Houches

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Skiing is Pretty Fun