Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Norway Finse Tour

Mark had previously been to Finse and done some Nordic skiing, he was keen to get back but this time with the boys. Plans were made last year and I made an early decision not to go, there was Mark, Ian and Ga three of the Norway paddling trip, I unfortunately started late in my skiing career and although I had tried it it I found that I did,nt bounce very well, broken ribs,a popped calf only confirmed my ineptness in a sport I loved or more importantly the environment it took place in. Plans were made and I wilted and stated I would go, I had an impression of open areas possibly going up and down meadows ha! you silly silly boy..more to follow. Plans were made and we were set, reasonably prices from Ryanair to Rygge airport a short shuttle bus and train trip to Oslo. Some time before the trip we had two meetings talk about organised, what could go wrong! Up at 0200 on Monday 19/03/12 Norway here we come, a very long day, Rygge airport is very small, also a military base, so a very quick turn around regarding baggage,free shuttle bus to the airport around 6 mins away and then pre booked tickets to Oslo which took under an hour.
Ga and Ian
On time and very comfortable why can everyone other than us in the UK get it so right!
A very tired Ian in Oslo train station don,t try this alone there
Mark had been in Oslo for some days and we were meeting him later for the 1600, ish train to Finse so we had a very very long wait. Just a quick warning about the train station it lies on the outskirts of the mixed and visiting races to Norway so as the station is dry and offers opportunities be careful of your belongings, don,t get me wrong I have been to New York and its no different to Liverpool or M/cr. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. We joined up with Mark and onto the train and off to Finse, its the Oslo, Bergen train apparently its in the top 10 of train trips, we managed a few hours before darkness and it was beautiful. We arrived at Finse at 19 mins past eight, yes on time into the Finse 1222 Hotel for our skis and boots. As we came off the train and walked a short distance to the hotel it was an absolute blizzard with strong winds and snow,Ga stated that he loved such conditions although he might regret those words later. OK first time with such skis, head torch on did I mention the darkness and my rucksack of around 12 kgs the ideal way to get into Nordic skiing. Off we set, I appeared to be doing well, I heard Ga fall a couple of times and as we approached our accommodation there appeared to be a slope ahead of me, well not to be out done I joined in with the Pope greeting and fell forward luckily landing on my right face cheek and bending my left thumb badly, what a great start..................not! Booked in a quick pint ha! the girl stated it was special beer brewed on the premises so it makes the £8 well worth it for home brew. Bed, broken sleep with the sound of gusting winds outside.
Up and a wonderful breakfast this hytta is the biggest and the food throughout was fantastic. It was still blizzard conditions outside  so it looked as if it might be a duvet day, reading and hey were in Norway on holiday.
Mark made a suggestion as to perhaps continue on the tour or do some practising outside, as we entered the boot area there were some experienced looking Norwegian dudes sat on a bench as people went to the door they explained that they had returned due to the white out conditions and advised folk of the dangers.
It was difficult to open the door, I did an about turn and back to my room to get into my book, Mark and Ian continued.
Later that afternoon they returned and we tried again, it was,nt much better and I should have carried on reading, trying to put the skis on in strong winds was not good and it had rained so combined with the winds it was now ice, three times over and I withdrew, Ga hobbled in he had badly twisted his ankle.
Mixed emotions and aware the following day that for Mark to do the planned course he and Ian needed to go so I put it to them,they left that morning and it had improved although it was not clear.
Views from my room yes that's the roof

MTJ and Ian ready for the off

Ga and I put our skis on and off we set along the frozen lake, it was very different, Ga fell a couple of times and on conclusion of the 5 miles a unanimous  decisions was made snow shoes for us.

That,s better

That afternoon we headed up towards the glacier and had a pleasant trip, back and who did we meet but the boys, it had been a whiteout and they could,nt follow the sticks many had gone.

Reindeer spag ball for tea delicious, plans made and we met a guy from Seattle and we also consumed my Jura whisky which was to prove to be a bad bad decision.
Our destination was to the Geiterygghytta and we would meet the lads there, it was an uphill slog with poor visibility and it also rained deep joy.
Very tired on our arrival and we saw MTJ and Ian throughout the route.The hytta was nearly full so we were in the dorm with two other Norwegian guys and a German couple.
We sat at a table set for six so deep joy the food kept coming for that number, main course Elk meat balls mmmmm.

These guys were transporting luggage 

Even the most experienced found the snow conditions difficult

This is where we were layed to rest

I wonder if they will fit the wife?

mmmmm better not open that then

On our arrival the word had got round the two lads from Wales on snow shoes were now famous loads of guys approached us.
The guys were heading further out to Raggsteindalen and we would meet them again on Sunday, we took a different rout back to Finse and it was an amazing day.

I could,nt capture the sun shining on millions of particles of ice from the rain it looked like glitter as far as the eye could see magical.

Students had stayed in the ice holes the night before very comfortable

We arrived back to a very busy Finsehytta and had a four bunk room for two nights that evening we were joined by two Norwegian guys and one girl very snug.
The place was crowded and mattresses were spread throughout the place, they have a policy where they never turn anyone away well what do you do there is no where else and it can be on a good day -20c
Plans for the next day lets do the glacier.

Another demanding one with many experienced guys commending our snow shoes, many both walked up and down it was very icy.

Up and up

Lunch break

What a plateau 

Some great cloud formations

That Saturday the guys joined us for the last night, the place was very crowded with meal sittings at 1900, 2100 and 2230 we were lucky and had the first one.
Ian was keen to do the glacier so the following day yep we went and did it again same GPS track some more photos.

Ian's mascot 

We had met this guy the day before a bobby from a small village

Meal break

Back again very tired

A great week a pain with the days travelling on each side but unavoidable, great hyttas, friendly, good food, demanding mountains and unless I have surgery on my bottom I can,t see me skiing up or down such mountainous conditions.I will not discuss the bar prices its pointless.
A memorable week with landscapes and conditions that I will never forget.


Erling said...

What a great write-up! Sounds like you guys had a great trip, even with those weater and snow conditions. I'm off to the mountains tomorrow myself, for a week and a half of skiing, skiing, skiing. Cheers!

Dr Blug said...

Enjoyed reading that Dave, some tongue in cheek, but really telling it the way it was. Certainly the type of trip you need good advice and experience to help you on your way.