This is Eulee's great story about her recent adventure - and doing it for such a good cause too! This year, W.O.T.S is raising money for Sightsavers for our Charity Event 2017. Read her story and come lend us some support!
Stetind – a 1391m granite formation rising straight from the fjords of Northern Norway, 1.8 billion years old and exposed by glaciers. Its location in the Artic circle meant that it receives 24 hours of daylight in the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter. It was voted Norway’s national mountain by a popular vote, and has a very distinctive appearance. When asked to climb a mountain to fundraise for Sightsavers it seemed like the most appropriate challenge. To put it in context Pen y Fan is 886m, Snowdon is 1085m and Ben Nevis is 1345m. However while it is possible to walk up these peaks, the easiest route up Stetind requires scrambling (using hands as well as feet to climb), a technical climb as well as an abseil.
After mulling over it for a few months,I planned a trip with my climbing partner ( who is conveniently Norwegian – meet Åke – his comments are in this report). There are a number of routes up Stetind but we decided on Normalveien (‘The Normal route’)
The trip started with an early drive from Cardiff to Heathrow, flight from Heathrow to Oslo and then from Oslo to Narvik. We spent a few days in Lofoten Islands getting used to the climbing and then drove and took a ferry to Ballengen.
We started from the car at about midday - having had a slow start after getting to Ballangen past midnight. It was a couple of days after midsummer (June 23) and a beautiful clear Artic Summer day. The first couple of hours was a gentle uphill walk through the woods and next to a river. Top tips for Norway 1 - Bring spare socks. It is a very boggy country even high up as I will learn by the end of the day. Top tip 2: Take the estimated walk times in Stetind and Narvik book ( Dancing on the devils dancefloor by Ekenstam, Topptur Förlag) with a pinch of salt - a mutiplication factor of 1.5 is about right if you don’t get lost and have short legs rather than long Nordic strides ( and have less snack stops… )
We then came above the tree line and had a Bamsemums break (1) as well as filled some bottles. Top tip 3: there is lots of water on walks up so carry an empty bottle. Also see tip 1.
Walking along the paths and following cairns we came across a snow covered place - it was early summer and there was quite a bit of snow, which was slightly unexpected and made path finding difficult (and feet wet, see tip 1). After some trudging through snow and walking towards the waterfall we finally saw the lake - it was frozen - and had some Seigmenn (2).
Bit more snow than expected – cold and soggy feet. Beautiful views though. Don’t forget your sunglasses.
We then came across a postbox with a logbook - the local division of DNT (Den Norske Turistforening - the Norwegian Hiking Federation) maintain the paths, logbooks and huts.
We then got slightly lost - the cairns ran out and we ended up too high in the gully (trying to find the diagonal gully while it was covered in snow was a bit difficult). Fortunately the view was beautiful.
After some scrambling, walking and crossing snow we were at Halls Fortopp (false summit) - quick Lefse break (3) and roped up. This was about 5.30 pm and Stetind summit looked steep and intimidating from this angle.
Stetind summit in the background, view for Halls Forstopp
After some gentle encouragement (Åke: ‘I’m not doing this walk up again’) we set off. A scramble down a slab, across a narrow ridge with some straddling, down a chimney (bolt at top) and we were by the infamous fingertip traverse.
Åke led it and after some struggle I followed it as well( in full view of a guided group waiting for us). More scrambling with a couple of tricky sections found us at the top of the Stetind with amazing views at about 8.30pm. The first logbook entry of the year was from the day before - June 22. After writing in the logbook, obligatory photographs and Kvikk Lunsj break (4) we started walking off - which essentially was the reverse of the walk, but with an abseil thrown in to avoid the fingertip traverse. This was the only time I got cold - the sun had started setting and we were out of the sun.
At Halls Fortopp I remembered the extra Kvikk Lunsj - to great excitement - which we had at midnight as we walked off the mountain. Which was the great benefit of doing this in June - 24 hours of daylight and being belighted rather than benighted.
After almost losing a shoe to the bog (see tip 1) and more walking we were at the car with the sun rising at 1.30 am. 40 minute drive later we got back to the cottage for wine and dinner - pasta and Sommerkoteletter (5) - and bed in bright daylight.
So a fun but long day - helped by the midnight sun. I hope you enjoyed reading this and don’t forget to donate to Sightsavers at http://www.justgiving.com/welshophth
1. Bear-shaped chocolate-covered marshmallows, bit like Tunnocks tea cake but chewier and very moreish
2. Literally ‘stretchy men’. Haribo but softer and chewier
3. Potato-based flatbread with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, traditionally carried by sailors (dried, and rehydrated with seawater)
4. Kit kat (Åke: no it’s not! not comparable…!!) but with nicer chocolate (Åke: much nicer, not comparable with kit kat) - Norwegians get very upset when you compare the two (Åke: yes they do). Traditionally eaten on walks - the wrappers all have walk suggestions
5. Summer cutlets - smoked pork chops. Bit like bacon but a different cut and normally cooked on BBQ.