Total days en route

32


Distance covered:

580 km

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Preparations tour in Norway

Thursday, 23 February 2007

At 8:00 PM the train finally stops at Finse. The temperature is nearly below zero degrees. It's a warm start.
At the station we make the last preparation before we start our 120km long trip to Haukliseatter.
Our first kilometres on Finsevatnet start under the lights of the ski slopes. Between the kites we reach the other site. Here we find a spot the set up the tents.

Friday, 24 February

At 7:30 AM the alarm clock goes off. We get dressed and start melting snow. Raimo and Edwer are out of the tents first. Under the use of a nice cup of oatmeal they watch the remainder of the team come out of the tents. The sleds are packed and at 10:00 AM we finally start the journey. The sun comes through the clouds soon and the Hardangerjökulen lies beautifully for us. With a quick rising of the temperature to a value of +5°C, it is now really warm. Everybody starts to complain that it much too warm. Where is the cold weather that Norway is famous for? In the Netherlands it is even colder at the moment.

For Raimo and Edwer this will be the first time they travel with a sled. Pulling the sled up hill causes only minor problems, but descending steep hills with a sled turns out to be a different story. In the first descent, Edwer crashes. It is definitely not so easy to get control over the sled. This trip will be a good learning experience.

The team speeds up and think they can easily travel the planned distance for the day. A steep hill causes the team to split up. Four persons decide to follow the steep but shorter route. The rest decides to follow the longer less steep route that was initially planned.

The steep route turns out to be so precipitous that Henk-Jan has to help Edwer with keeping his sled in balance, because the sled is gliding downwards continuously. After an hour, the group reaches the mountain pass at 1450m. On the descend, the sleds take control over their owners which again results in a number of crashes. The two groups reach the agreed point at almost the same time. It is now only two kilometers to Langavatnet. Here we set up our next camp. Henk-Jan and Jeffrey decide to camp on the frozen lake, while the rest stays on land. The temperature is -7°C with almost no wind. It is a perfect evening to cook outside.

Saturday, 25 February

After a good cool night, the usual morning routine follows to get the sleds prepared. After 1,5 hours we continue the journey to Haukliseatter. At first, the terrain is flat. With a beautiful sun and no wind it is a perfect winter day. In the distance some kites are visible in the air. Pim, our kite expert, is happy with that sight. It also means that we are close to the road that we must cross. Within an hour we are looking at a 5 meter wide snow-free road. We carry our 20kg heavy sleds over the road and continue. At 5:00 PM we decide to stop for today. When setting up the tents it starts to become colder. Within the hour, the temperature drops from -7°C to -20°C. That night the temperature even drops to about -26°C.

Sunday, 26 February

The next morning it is cloudy and it started snowing. The temperature sticks to -15°C. The wind comes out the NW corner. It is a cold, but beautiful morning. That day, nobody wants to pause and stand still for more than 2 minutes. Later that day the weather clears up. At 4:30 PM we reach our camp site. We set up our tents near the hut Sand Hauge and start to meld snow. That night the temperature drops to -17°C.

Monday, 27 February

The alarm goes off again. We start melting snow for our breakfast. While we are packing our sleeping backs Sanne comes to tell us that Guido decided to stop because of two enormous blisters which turned into open wounds. We go to the nearby hut and find it still warm from the people that spend the night there. Raimo and Henk-Jan walk to a nearby hill to try to reach the Red Cross. The Red Cross advises Guido to stay in the hut and they promise to pick him up later that day with two snow mobiles. They first want to send an expensive helicopter but we can fortunately talk them out of that. They tell us not to wait for that and to continue our trip.
Reluctantly, we do so and start our trip around noon. The weather deteriorates fast. Within a short amount of time, we have to rely on our GPS-man Jeffrey. In a total white-out we walk close behind each other. Despite the weather we move quickly and we set up our tents at 5:30 PM. It starts to get dark already. We are on a lake and start digging to look for water. Despite digging deep and long, we do not find it. The hole will serve as a restroom.

Tuesday 28 February

Our first look outside the tent the next morning is not promising. A will be a stormy day with lost of wind and snow. The temperature is -15°C, but with the wind it feels a lot colder. Again, we walk close behind each other in the white out conditions. Everybody looks unrecognizable. We keep focusing on each other to make sure our group is still complete. It is easy to lose someone with the visibility of only several meters. We change our route a little to visit a hut to have a break. We have to dig out the entrance to the hut as it is completely snowed in. In the hut it feels warm. Pim and Sanne have cold fingers and toes, but a heat pad helps for that. After the break we have to go back into the storm. Pim complains about bad visibility. This seemed to be caused by the snow that was blown underneath his snow glazes. Despite the storm, we cover a respectable distance of 13 km.

Wednesday, 1 march

The storm has passed and the sky is blue. However, it is cold. We break up our tents and packing the sleds takes less time since we are getting used to it.

The snow is in good condition, but at some places it disappeared and an icy layer is the result which gives us some problems. At the Hellevasbu hut we stop to have a break. The people inside are surprised to see us. And they can't believe that we were outside yesterday and able to make 13 kilometers. After 30 minutes we are moving south again. At some places the snow is nearly gone but sometimes we must pull the sleds trough 50 centimeters of fresh snow. We make al lot of progress until the cable binding of Henk-Jan breaks. Raimo and Henk-Jan are able to fix the binding within 30 minutes. The binding however only holds for another 15 kilometers. On approximately 8km before Haukliseatter we set up our last camp. In a narrow wind-silent spot of a mountain we set up the tents densely to each other. We stand so densely to each other that the sticks and skis of the tents stand each other in the way. Norway is nevertheless so big. A fuel leakage causes a small fire in the tent. One pair of thermo hand shoes of Edwer are burned because of the fire. After dinner we all dream about the luxury of Haukliseatter .Only 8 kilometers of easy terrain stand in our way. Even the worst storm can't hold us here.

Thursday, 2 march

About 7 o'clock the alarm clock goes off. Despite it being the last day, Edwer doesn't want to go out of his sleeping bag. That night, he slept very bad because his sleeping bag appeared to be frozen and he also discovered that his down jacket was covered with ice. Actual nobody wants to get out of his warm sleeping back.
However, since it is the last day, we know we will sleep in a warm clean bed tonight. With that in mind we get up and move on. With a merry balloting we head for the last stage. It again is reasonable cold weather with some snowing. Along the route we do not find any difficulties. Only during another white-out Pim almost falls into a huge gap of several meters deep. He can just correct himself with his ski poles. After some help from Raimo he carries on for the last 3 kilometers. And after 7 days we finally reach Haukliseatter. There we met Guido again who decided to stop in Sand Hauge. After a relaxing time in the sauna and a good meal we went to sleep. We were so used to the cold temperatures that the cabin with proximity +25°C felt extremely warm.

Friday, 3 march

Finally the rest day that everybody was looking forward to. Henk-Jan and Edwer have the idea to slide off in hillside with a sled. Quickly after the first run Sanne joins them. With a speed of 35km/h we sledded down the hillside. It is the perfect playground for us. At 5:00 PM the bus to Oslo arrives. We are going home.

You can download the Google Earth log: w-noorwegen-hardangervida-skitour.kml