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Ski Touring in Arctic Norway March 2012

Vanda a doctor from Sheffield, Garry my son and I planned to fly to Bodo, a Norwegian coastal town just above the Polar Circle. After taking a train and taxi we would spend thirteen days on a leisurely ski tour, south west through the eastern side of the Salten area via eight huts to our last hut near the Lonsdal railway station.  We spent one night in a small hotel/hostel in Bodo and next morning we had a ten minute walk with heavy rucksacks, skis and the WMC pulk (available for use by all WMC members)  to the train station. We caught the train to the town of Fauske then a taxi to the small village of Sulitjelma.

Setting off in Deep Snow

From here a four hour ski up a steep road covered with two feet of snow, dragging a very heavy pulk to our first hut “Ny Sulitjelma”

Ny Sulitjelma at last

We spent a very comfortable night in the newly refurbished Ny Sulitjelma hut and next morning skied to Lomihytta, Where after a few adventures with a bridge we moved into a much more primitive but cosy hut on the lake shore.

Adventures with a bridge

We had to spend two nights at Lomihytta due to bad weather. On Saturday we skied over the tops and down to Calalveshytta.

Over the tops

We had started out in rather poor visibility but later in the morning the clouds broke and we had a little sunshine for the ski down. That night after a good meal we stood outside and were treated to a good show of the Aurora Borealis.

Excellent cuisine due to Garry’s catering

We followed the high level route but where do we go now?

After a further two nights, we followed a high level route to Coar’vihytta where we met a large party of folk from Edinburgh who had just arrived from the other direction; they were skiing back along our route the way we had come. We had a pleasant evening in their company, unfortunately we didn’t get any contact details from them so if anyone from their party should read this please get in touch via the web master, it would be good to swap stories.

Scottish party who are they? Please get in touch

Where’s me Slippers

We spent two nights in Coar’vihytta; I said it was to be a leisurely trip, before skiing across a large regulated lake, Balvatnet, and staying the night in the small Balvass-hytta.

Are you sure we cross here?

Opening up Balvass-hytta

We had been watching the weather for several weeks before our flight to the area and they had been having rather unusual heavy falls of snow, also during our stay we had rather more than our share of bad weather so maybe you can imagine our disappointment when we woke Thursday morning at Balvass-hytta to find it was raining! If we had stuck to our plan, the next part of our trip would take us two days through a narrow steep sided valley. With all that snow on those steep mountain sides there was significant avalanche risk and it would have been foolish to travel through such a narrow valley for two days so reluctantly we turned tail, skied back across the lake and back to Coar’vihytta then Calalveshytta with a taxi back to the train and after two nights in Bodo the flight home.

Peace and quite in Coar’vihytta

A proud Father and Son

Homeward Bound

I have now reached the grand age of 72 years and this was to be my last ski trip to Arctic Norway, but now we have unfinished business. Hmm, ok, maybe next year! Also I have just heard there is a good forecast for Northern Lights next year!

The author

© copyright Pete Dutfield 2012 and thank you Garry Dutfield for some of the photographs.

Hope you enjoyed this little read and the photographs. Anyone who is interested might like to download my book “Pete’s Himalayan Adventure” from here, Cost £3.50 all proceeds go to The Mountain Rescue Association via the WMC funds.

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