mandag 24. desember 2012

The summer that was, Part 4!

In part 1, I wrote about the epic canoe trip Ole and I had in Lærdal. At the time I thought the video files where lost on my (still stuck in the mail!) iMac, but as it turns out I had backed them up :) So, after a bit of editing, I am now proud to present the canoe short: 

Part 4

After some "well deserved" vacation time in Norway, (much needed after a winter of hard redpoint climbing in Spain), it was time to do some (payed) work and start saving up for the coming winter. 

In a time where most of Europe is suffering from one financial crisis or the other it´s great to be Norwegian.
The Norwegian "krone" is stronger then ever and saving up enough to live in Spain each winter requires a bare minimum of work on my part.
When I come to think about it, the only reasons I actually have to do a bit of work is because photo and videography is so freaking expensive...

I worked in a "normal" job (driving a forklift in a warehouse) for about 2 months in one of those long summers of my youth. That is probably the longest I ever did the 9-4 thing.  

Now a days I do all sorts of odd jobs like route-setting, bolting, photo gigs and so on for short amounts of time, and then usually only when I feel like it. 
Mid summer, from the end of june until sometime in august, is the only time a year I work more then a couple of weeks.
This is when I go to the mountains!

"My mountain home, "Kassa", parked in front of Hurrungane" 

When people ask me what I do up there, I usually just tell them I work as a mountain guide.
In reality what I do is more coursing then actual guiding. I guess the correct term would be something like a high mountain climbing instructor.

To those that might wonder, the difference is that while the guide works with clients on one day trips and drags them up on what ever mountain they choose. 
I work with the same people on week long courses where they are supposed to learn something, and maybe more importantly, I get to choose where to go.

For me personally this makes for a much more diverse and interesting way of taking people up into the mountains. Not only do I get to know the people better and see them progress during the week (which is rewarding on it´s own) but you get away from the grind of doing the same thing every day, and that makes all the difference.

There are many company´s offering a wide array of courses and guided tours in my part of the mountains "Jotunheimen", and having worked for most of them, my favourite employer is currently Breoppleving. 
Breoppleving (directly translated to something like glacier experience/adventure) have what I think is the best course where, ironically enough, I do not have to do any glacier walking. But I get ahead of myself.

This summer started as they usually do with a "Fjellsport 1" (Mountainsport 1) course for DNT (The Norwegian Tourist association). I tag along on this course almost every year to get back into the mountain thing and hang out with some of my old instructor buddies Hans Petter Håkonsen and Bjørn Balle. 

                                                                        "Petter the pirate"
"Bjørn the bear"

Working with these two guys makes this poorly paid and demanding course worth while. We always have a great time telling jokes, play around and when there are young couples, ruthlessly flirt with the poor guys girlfriend.

"Bjørn teaches the couple about spotting"

The course itself consists of 2 days on a glacier, 2 days at the crag and 2 days on semi guided mountain trips + 1 evening with meet and greet, going through the gear and so on. 

As I have many courses during the summer I will not bore you with the details of each one but rather display some pictures from the different trips that hopefully showcasts the essence of what it´s all about.

It should be said that I never bother taking pictures with anything but my heavy 5D rig, and as I rarely bring my camera out if the weather is bad, the pictures tell a story of nice weather, that is not necessarily the case most of the time.

DNT Fjellsport 1, July, Krossbu, Jotunheimen, (Norway)

"On our way to Skeia (2100+ meters) way early in the morning, Hurrungane in the background"

"Bjørn attempting "the mountain leap" over the Smørstabtind´s. Skeia is second from the right"

"The ridge between Kalven and Skeia just before I lost my 50mm down in a deep hole..."

I did luckily manage to fish my lens out a week later using some fishing equipment a couple of telescope poles and a spoon, and thanks to Canon´s great build quality the lens was unharmed even after having rolled/fallen down several meters on rocks and literally speaking lain on ice for a week.  

"At the base of the climbing, Skeia rising up in the left corner of the picture" 

"Climbing (a new variation) on Skeia"

"The couple we decided to play around with, here coiling the ropes after finishing the climbing"

"The girlfriend posing for my camera after skilfully having been separated from her boyfriend"

The second mountain on this course was Store Austabotntind (2200+ meters). The weather was not great, and as one of the guys got sick I got to turn back and lead him back down after just an hour and a half.
Forgetting that my car keys was locked into another car then the one we borrowed to drive back to camp, I ended up spending a couple of hours learning how to break into my own car instead.
This was surprisingly easy using the oil measuring pin and a Swiss army knife (Macgyver style) to fish pick the lock wire at the front window.

Breoppleving Fjellsport, July, Lom/Hurrungane, Jotunheimen

After finishing the Fjellsport 1 course for DNT, I was off to solo instructing (something I prefer to avoid as it is more work and responsibility) on a 3 person customised "Fjellsport" course for Breoppleving.

Since I had lost a camera lens up on Skeia the week before I brought my new group up there as well so that I could fish it back out (which I did!).
 It was snowing almost all the way down to Krossbu and we saw no more then 10 meters in front of us all day. The climbing was suddenly in "winter" conditions with ice and snow all around, but I got no pictures of that as the camera remained in the car.

The second trip got canceled as two of the three had to go home and the last girl bailed as the weather forecast was horrible.
We did however get a few nice days down at the crag in Lom where I set them to work on multipitch trad climbing.

"The first pitch, grade 4-ish"

"The second pitch, grade 3-ish, "hanging" belay in a tree 20 meters off the deck"

"Great view of the "Lom delta" from the top of Tronoberget" 

Breoppleving Klatrekurs i Lom og Hurrungane, July, Hurrungane, Jotunheimen

Next up was my favourite course, Klatrekurs i Lom/Hurrungane, (Climbing course in Lom and Hurrungane).
This course gives me the opportunity to hang out in Lom and climb at the crag for 2-3 days, got no glacier coursing and only contains 2 "hard" days of walking in the mountains. 
The mountain climbing is of course great, but the problem is the long walk in and out. To get to the climbing we usually have to hike 1000 vertical meters up before we even tie in. Then walking the same or more back down is a killer on my knees if I do it often.

Breoppleving usually attracts a reasonably young clientele with the occasional 40 year old here and there. This time for some strange reason the occasional 40 year olds all ended up on the same course, making for an unusual but great week for me with both a dinner inside the way expensive hotel Turtagrø and a tip at the end of the course.
Added to this I got an apprentice to look out for and give a written review.

The groupe dynamics where great, my apprentice could take care of herself and for the first and hardest trip, we got lucky with the weather. The goal was Dyrhaugsryggen from the south and yes, I brought my camera. 

"The exposed first pitch in the morning fog" 

"The fog lifting as we reach the third belay"

"My apprentice leading up the crux pitch"

"Following on the "crux", Norway's third highest mountain Store Skagadølstind (2405m) in the back"

"Moving out of the "chimney" on the final pitch"

"Mountain jumping!"

"Leaping the Skagadølstind" 

(I sold a similar picture last year that now hangs on big national park posters down in Lom.)

"A happy crew at the end of the Dyrhaugsrygg traverse" 

On the final trip we went to "Store Austabotntind" at 2200+ meters. The weather was bad with a strong wind, fog and rain/snow. One girl bailed at the beginning because of the weather and all the slippery rocks and on the final ridge a second decided to turn back. My apprentice waited with him in a survival bag (as seen here in one of the only pictures I tok that day) while I ran to the top and back with the only guy left standing.

"Close but no cigar, a few hundred meters from the top"

While walking off the mountain, marking the end of the course, my next group was already gathering down at the car park.. 
Tired, wet and cold I entered the camp to welcome the new crew while still saying my farewells to the old. 
With no downtime I was now starting the dreaded hardest course of the summer, Fjellsport II for DNT. 5 days + 1 evening, a one day trip and a two day trip (with sleeping out in the mountain!), one day on a glacier and just one "rest" day at the crag... 

But in the spirit of not making epic long blog posts I will keep the story of the rest of my mountain summer for Part 5.
Stay tuned and marry christmas!

1 kommentar:

  1. Dette var et trivelig inlegg Henning! Dette er det vi drømte om når vi gikk på Nordfjord. Å bo i kassebil og guide i fjellet. Gleder meg til å lese del fem. Mye mer spennende med fjell og ruskevær enn sol og sport! Godt nyttår.