Discover Splitboarding episode 3. – Conquering the mountain

March 22, 2016 | 6:38 pm | No comments »

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Blåbaertinden south face, photo : Jani Kärppä

In the third episode we ascent and descent a mountain, Blåbaertinden, Tamok, Norway, from bottom to the peak. We will go through the basic techniques and information what you need for climbing and riding a mountain, a full tour. Everything from the essential planning, skinning and hiking techiques, on tour route finding to preparing for sudden changes while conquering a mountain.

 

 The most important in the mountains is to stay alert and pay attention to the surroundings and conditions at all times. Try to think well ahead while ascending and riding down too. It prevents you from getting into “what the hell I am doing here”-type of situtations, which happen easily in the mountains when conditions suddenly change or you lose your line for any reason. It is always good to have a back up plan.

How to choose a mountain to conquer then? If you are on an area you don’t know, the best way to start is ask questions and tips from locals, dig into touring guides and consider hiring a mountain guide who can open the gates for you.

Locals usually know a good place to start and something about the snow conditions but always trust your own gut feeling too. After asceding one mountain you will see more yourself and pick the next peak to climb and ride.

Touring guides are great help for planning tours. They usually point out the commonly used routes, difficulty and time estimate. It is not easy to figure out the starting point or estimate duration of the tour when entering new zones and the books provide this info cheap. Good planning will make the tour lot more relaxed.

Hiring a mountain guide is always the best option if you don’t feel comfortable stepping into new terrain by yourselves. They ensure the safety and you can learn a lot by just obeserving their routines and ways in the mountains.

Book tips:

For the Finnish readers there is a great book about freeriding and stepping into the mountains. Vapaalasku -kirja is highly recommended for any one interested about snow, mountains and freeride culture.

“Staying alive in avalanche terrain” by Bruce Tremper is a classic. The name pretty much sums it up.

Fjordland in a mobile basecamp

March 12, 2015 | 12:01 pm | No comments »

Senjatripping (3 of 4)

This season I decided to ride more local and not chase snow all over the globe. It has been a dream to explore the nearby mountain ranges and wait for the conditions, not chase them. Also, the birth of our first-born reduced the desire to travel in to distant mountains and made the desicion natural. She was born at the heart of the winter. It has been wonderful to watch and share her first everything.

Most of the good mountains here above the Arctic have fairly short approach from the road but the winding roads are in desolated areas and there is no accommodation around. RV makes the perfect transport-basecamp combo in Northern Norway. During summer, I found a great one that has gas powered floor heating, good insulation and big trunk where I can store and dry snowboard and surf quivers, camping and fishing gear, other equipment and even mountain bike. A perfect basecamp which parks at the foot of a chosen mountain. There is no better way to start the snowboarding day than by gazing at your line while still sipping your morning coffee (while waves are breaking on the other side!!)

 

Senjatripping (4 of 4)

 The arctic sky put up an amazing northern lights show for us one night

Our (Me, Jani Kärppä and Miikka Peteri) plan was to scope out conditions and ride in Lyngen, Senja and Tamok. Forecast history didn’t promise much for the riding part since warm temperatures and high winds had been plaguing the regions but you never know what you are going to find until you go.

Season start in Northern Norway has been slow this year, like it has in many ranges all over the globe. Winters are turning weird, or worse solid winter seems to be fading. Winter jumps from early season straight to late season. Consistency of winter conditions is lost. At least, this is how it appeared to us again on this trip.

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The forecast history was pretty much spot on. Conditions seemed more like late April than mid February. Snow pack was fairly thin and it was wet even higher up or really wind beaten. Our trip turned out to be more scoping and less riding. On the positive side, it is early season in these latitudes and  the base is solid now. We found  lines that went straight to the hitlist and all they need now is a new cover.

fugl (1 of 1)photo: @jkarppa

The weather continued to be warm and windy through out the week. We drove around in different regions but conditions were more or less the same everywhere. We  stuck to poking snow, exploring new places and enjoying the scenery, wild life and camper life.

Karvis (4 of 5)

I also wanted to catch some surf while exploring the coastal mountains. There was a big swell approaching but winds were a problem again. Good swell waves were ruined by high cross shore winds that generated small wind waves against the good ones. Yet again, arctic winter surf turned out to be more of an beautiful and raw experience than good surf.

arctic surferphoto: @jkarppa

We almost decided to leave and return only after the conditions got better but the suddenly weather at least calmed down. You can’t pass a sunny spring day in the mountains with the ocean below. We were scratching our heads to find a sheltered couloir that might still have some good snow. We ended up in Lyngen after some detours and cloud dodging. Our pick of a south facing couloir turned out to be great surprise with some soft and dry snow at the top part. It brought back the good feeling of climbing and riding pow. Now, let it snow and the season to begin in the Arctic.

 

Karvis (3 of 5)Miikka Peteri putting in some steps for the turns

Senjatripping (1 of 2)

 

Maypow – the long wait for the right conditions

November 5, 2014 | 11:13 pm | 1 comment »

Big plans were made already before the season had even started. I wanted to get in to alpine terrain and ride bigger lines than before. My goal was to ride lines in Japan, The Alps, Alaska and Norway – My dream locations. On paper the plan and schedule looked perfet. I was aiming for my best season ever and I was ready for it but Nature didn’t get the memo. Season 2014 turned out to be a lesson of patience. Everywhere we went the conditions forced us to change the plans. It was either snowing too much or not enough for the alpine terrain to open its gates to the dremy lines. It was May before I got to drop in to terrain I had been planning on.

 

I spent half of March and April in Tamok and Lyngen filming with Approach&Attack crew. We had good snow and great times but got only glimpses of the bigger lines. The conditions were just not right for the bigger stuff like it had not been in Japan, Alps or AK. I started to give up on the hopes of riding bigger stuff. It just was not happening this season. I went home end of April with thoughts of maybe still coming back from some spring snow. But then the forecast turned around. Cold low pressure hit northern Norway bringing lot of new snow still this late in the season and after a cold high pressure was supposed to roll in.  I contacted Jonas Hagström and Justin Lamoureux and gave them the thumps up. The end of the long wait was in sight finally.

 

MayPow (4 of 8)

Backside of Lakselvtindane – the famous Lyngen massif

It was still snowing when we met up in Tamok. We decided to start straight with the Tamok classic, Öksehögget, since it was protected couloir and didn’t need clear skies for visibility. Conditions proved to be as good as I hoped. Month in the area had given a knowledge of the snowpack.  The next day the strom cycle moved on, skies cleared and the snow was stable. It was on now! The warming may sun was the ony thing we had to watch out for. In May it didn’t really drop below the horizon anymore. We shuttled between Lyngen and Tamok day and night riding classics and possible first descents of the area. “Good things come to those who wait” – proved to be correct. We rode and hiked two lines and over 2000m of vertical on the best days. Season truly climaxed at the very end!

Öksehögget (1 of 1)

Öksehögget (english: axe cleave) – Tamok classic. 500m vertical of narrow and consistant 40-45degrees couloir.

 

 

Check Justin’s blog  for his take on the trip as a first timer to Tamok and Lyngen.

One tiny day

September 5, 2014 | 5:14 pm | No comments »

Small is beautiful, sometimes. Tiny surf and trekking day in Lofoten Islands with Mikael Sangder. Clear sky, light and atmosphere compensated the ankle high waves.

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Endless sun

July 15, 2014 | 10:13 am | 1 comment »
midnight surf

Midnight sun and surf

I was eagar to head north again when I saw that a good size swell was about to hit the norwegian coast. It’s rare to see forecast this good during the summer months; 6ft swell with a good perioid, decent winds and warm temperatures. An opportunity me and Iisakki Kennilä could not pass. We packed surf boards and camping gear and started the still longish drive norhtwest from the Arctic Circle.

We arrived to one of the more famous surf bays just when the swell started to pick up but we were not alone on the beach. About thirty cars were parked around the beach and water was swarming with other norhtern surf enthusiasts. We decided to set up camp and wait for the “night”. Day does not end during the summer months in this latitude (68+). Sun does not even touch the horizon but stays well above it all day all night. There is only different tones of light in the bright sky which makes the active time last for about two months straight! We paddled out just after midnight when there was nobody out anymore and most cars had left the beach. Swell had definitely picked up but an onshore wind messed up the perfection a bit. Nonetheless, it felt great to be out in the water and it was way warmer than I thought. Last time was few months ago when snow was still on the ground and it was freezing!  We stayed over two hours and had to paddle in only when the arms gave up.

 

Arctic surf 2

Unknown surfer. When we were not in the water we were staring at the surf.

Next day the wind died down a bit and the swell continued to pick up a little still. Waves were overhead at best but they were also fast and closing out which, on the positive side, kept the line up uncrowded. Surf was not easy after a long break but that did not spoil the fun at all. Arctic surf between the jagged peaks is always an unique experience and even more so in sunny and warm weather.

The swell died after the next mornings session. Locals said that this kind of surf only happens few times during the summer. So we got lucky with 48 hour window of waves. We were also surprised how lively the surf community is above the Arctic. Cold water and ficle conditions only seem to make people appreciate the surf but also the fellow surfers even more! The line up was happy, friendly and also very international. Scandinavians were well represented but there was also surfers from Brazil, South Africa and Australia!

camp vibes

camp vibes

After the sea went flat we went exploring the coast line more for future trips. The coast line is endless and unbelievably beautiful. Mountains protect and hide big part of the coast. Pristine beaches can be found just byt hiking from the road for few hours. I never get tired off the scenery here, not even from the car window but you can’t come to Norway and not hike a mountain. Things do look different from the top. It is the most traditional, natural and beautiful thing to do here.

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Midnight hike. These views are hard to beat. Oh, and there is surf below.

 

24-hour sunight is hard to deal with. Not that I wouldn’t be used to it since it’s light all night at home too but there is just so much to do here where to sea meets the mountains! After the surf was done we still went fishing, hiking, cheked out some mountain biking trails, snorkeling, climbing and etc. You can pick your active or chill time of the day but it still feels that 24 hours of sun is not enough to cover it all.

 

arctic surf

When weather was this good we didn’t even bother bringing a tent.

 

The most prominent landmark between Sweden and Norway - Lapporten - Looks like a huge half pipe!

The most prominent landmark between Sweden and Norway – Lapporten – Looks like a huge half pipe!

 

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