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Monday, 30 July 2012

Went up another Ultra

Store Lenangstind from Breivikeidet - the previous day


 
Morning view of Jiehkkevarri (Ultra, 1833m, P1741)

28-07-12

The picture above was taken at about 5.00am, whilst I was still literally lying on my bed and just opened the van door to have a look. Fantastic, isn't it? And look the sky is still almost clear (but maybe I should have noticed the cirrus). Now here is the chance to go for another Ultra - Store Lenangstind (1624, P1556) - but not Jiehkkevarri as I think it might be beyond my reach.
Parked at Koppangan
Started from Koppangan. Once a fishing village that looks like it has been overtaken by tourism, but not a lot. You will see in the pictures most of the houses are a dark red. It seems to me that two out of three houses in Norway are that colour - most of the rest being yellow or cream. Almost as if someone accidentally added rather a lot of zeroes on the end of the number of litres when ordering that colour and the Norwegians are despearately trying to get through the vast reservoir created. It is not as if it is the same colour as the red on the Norwegian flag.

Koppangan village
Koppangan from above

I started by walking along the shore, then following the glacial stream through, yes, you have guessed right, birch trees. And then the first stretch of boulders and rocks, up a steep slope and on to a seemingly endless boulder field. You get a real sense of geology in the making - no vegetation to mask things. Then up another steep slope to the Koppangsvatnet glacial lake - where unfortunately the fine day disappeared and the rain came in and stayed.



Endless boulder field

Store Lenangstind and the Koppangsbreen glacier

Moraines on the glacier snout
Then I had to get up the steep ice on the snout of the Koppangsbreen glacier - time to put on crampons and wield the ice axe. The ice was crystallised so there was quite a good grip really - not that I was too happy coming down here later and I used the rocks and grit in the moraines to help keep from slipping.








Store Lenangstind across the crevassed glacier

A long walk up the glacier looking out for crevasses - some looked deep but most were not too wide to jump over.
A crevasse to avoid
A steep snow covered section of the glacier lead to the Strupbreen glacier - it was obvious this was a different glacier that moved in a different direction, because the crevasses were now running alongside my route rather than across it. There were pools of melted ice and slush to go round, too. As I got nearer to the circle of tops there was evidence of past avalanches. The penultimate part was definitely the hardest, the snow became quite steep - thankfully it wasn't ice. There was no visibility because of the cloud cover and there was a bergschrund to avoid. The last part is just a rocky scramble and I had no idea of the exposure as there was no visibility. I did not hang around by the summit cairn.
Coming back was tough going, I was wet through and those boulder fields. I did enjoy the controlled bumslides down the steep snow slopes.
However, it was also wonderfully eerie and primeval. Geology in the making and it makes it easy to understand the more familiar hills of upland Britain seeing the processes before my own eyes.

The summit in clouds

It was close to 11.00 pm when I got back. Thanks for the 24 hour daylight. If not the weather.




Koppangsvatnet glacial lake in the mist













Another view from Breivikeidet







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