The Lyngen Traverse
The Lyngen Traverse - it has been in my mind for almost two years, since I first visited my friend Pia-Maria in Lyngen in May 2015. Last year, me and my friend Anton had planned on doing it, but due to an infection in my fot we had to throw in the towel before we had even started. This year we planned to try anew, but Anton got a new job and a baby, so it wasn't possible. Luckily, two other friends, Oskar and Marcus, were eager and after seven days we had made it all the way from Nordkjosbotn to Lyngstuva, over 170 km and 13000 vertical meters. Great adventure! But lets start in the south...
Going up Steindalsbreen
Marcus and Oskar drove from Sweden, and after spending a day picking up keys to different huts and planting a car at the very northern end, we were ready to start. Oskar had a travel scale, and things got weighted and cut, but since we had to carry all the food our backpacks still ended on aprox. 15 kilos, avy bags tough. So it was a little heavy as we started in the rain in Nordkjosbotn... But spirits were high, and we did the long first day all the way to Steindalshytta in rain, wind and bad visibility. 32 km and 2500 m.
Second day was a little shorter, backpacks were a little lighter, but weather was still pretty bad... Made it to Lyngdalshytta over Steindalsbreen, and were excited to find some left over eggs in the hut! We were already starving and realizing we had a little to little food...
Bad weather and lots of coffee made us linger in the mornings. We were in no rush. The good thing about ski touring in Northern Norway is that it doesn't really matter what time of the day it is, it is light 24/7 :) Still white-out and wind as we made our way towards north. But actually some decent skiing in some places. Late in the evening we found Rørneshytta, that had been rebuilt in another place than what was marked on the map! Good thing the visibility improved slightly for a little while, or we would not have found it!
The sun is teasing us behind the clouds, but doesn't really want to come out
Marcus enjoying some powder in between the rain/snow showers
After ski in Lyngdalshytta
Compass and gps came in handy...
Amazing snow tunnels had formed in the strong winds
Fourth day, we had now made it half way! Celebrated with breakfast "in town", double breakfast actually. Some restocking of food in between at Coop... Hiked to Magic Mountain Lodge for some new supplies and clean underwear. Met the owner Patrik on the way, asking if we wanted a lift. We said thanks but no thanks! Then we would have used motorized vehicles and could not say we traversed the entire Lyngen by ourselfs.
Backpacks got heavy again... And now with even more food as we had had too little on the first section. The sky cleared a bit, and as we skied down Fastdalstind we had a beautiful sunset and knee deep powder! Yeah!! Fastdalshytta was crowded, there was a group of Finns who were doing the Lyngen Traverse in two weeks taking a rest day at the hut. But nice with some company, hadn't met any other people on the mountain so far.
The next day we woke up to a big sun and blue skies. Now we got going a little earlier, since the sun would be causing avalanche danger as it heated the mountain. Lots of "joikas" on the normal way up Taffeltind, as we came up from the other side, and we were happy to not have to battle the crowds. Perfect day and perfect snow! And the best run of the trip as we were descending in the evening light in thigh deep powder from the col between Nordre and Litle Jægervasstind. Awesome! Cozy in the Jægervasshytta, and another night of company, this time from two girls and their dogs.
I had so far not been certain that we would make it all the way, due to bad weather and a little worry about my feet. But weather was improving, and feet were getting better the longer we went. So by now I was starting to feel confident we would make it. Good feeling!
Second to last day was also a powder day! Got three awesome runs in before we skied down the glacier to Vaggashytta, last hut of the trip. The glacier had retracted a lot from when our map was drawn, sad to see the effects of global warming.
Final day! Had a somewhat advanced plan on how to get over from Vaggasdalen to the eastern side of the peninsula. But after some discussion on pros and cons, we decided for the safer route. Two ice axes would for example have been a good idea to carry out that plan... Some back tracking, some good skiing, and then we were on the home run! It was a good feeling skiing the last turns down towards the ocean. Warm weather the last few days had melted the snow, so we had to put the skis on our backs to hike the last kilometers all the way out to Lyngstuva. But we, and the skies, made it all the way!
Feeling pretty content, we hiked to the car and drove to Magic Mountain Lodge for a celebratory dinner and beers. Tired, many new memories and experiences richer, and still eager for the next adventure we eventually fell sound asleep!
Powder in the evening
Up towards Litle Jægervasstind
The evenings are always special at this time of the year in Northern Norway!
More than half way, but still many peaks and kilometers ahead of us..
Yeah! Lyngstuva, the northernmost tip of Lyngen.