If there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes, then there were a lot of bad clothes in this group! We arrived at the Klatrehytta (climbing club hut) soaked to the skin, after a gruelling, relentless, never ending scramble over first an interesting array of boulders, and then the snow covered granite ledges that lead up to the col. We set out hoping that we would reach the snow-line & the rain would turn to snow, a much nicer form of precipitation to walk through because it does not penetrate in the same way, but luck was not with us; even when we were sliding in the snow it was raining down on us. Only the knowledge that we would be spending the night indoors and the possibility of drying out and getting a nice warm cup of tea kept me from crying out ‘stop this madness & lets go back into town!’.
Just when I began to wonder how much more scrambling and slipping around I could put up with, we came through the col (~760m) and suddenly the hut was right there, only a few hundred meters away. Never has the sight of shelter been more welcome. In bad weather one really comes to appreciate the simple beauty of solid walls, a good roof, and heating. With the paraffin heater going full blast, the hut was soon warm & cozy & full of washing lines laden with wet things, while we raced into dry clothes and snuggled into sleeping bags to warm up.
The main focus of the evening was on preparing a really good meal together, so a frenzy of chopping began. Chicken & vegetable curry was the main dish, followed by homemade apple cake & cream, & jolly good it was too. After dinner Harald explained some interesting things about Fjellsportgruppa, & we all explained some things about our backgrounds & interests, to get to know each other better. The evening continued with an epic game of ‘Uno!’, before we retired to bed to listen to the wind howling, & the rain beating on the windows.
Awakening, I became aware that there was light in the windows where there had been only black. Sitting up to peer out, I was greeted by a huge surprise, row upon row of mountains where the previous evening there had been only boiling cloud & rain. This is why we battled against the wind & the rain, this is why we head for the hills, for the privilege of awakening to something such as this:
Breakfast eaten, bags packed, hut cleaned, group photo taken, and we were off! Our objective was to reach the top of Styrmannstinden (955m). A fairly easy angled slope leads up from the col to summit. Our way lay over icy boulders with snow banked up between. The snow was definitely the surface to trust! The summit was a properly pointy one, allowing us to enjoy the view in all directions. To the south-east the graceful curve of Tromsdalstinen stood out on the horizon. To the north-east we could admire the steep face of Hollendaren and to the west the small glaciers that adorn Revbergtinden and the other Hollendaren (yes, why are there two mountains with the same name within a few km of each other?).
But we could not linger on the summit forever. Down down down down down, any direction so long as it is down. We made steady progress with a couple of break stops, following the line of cairns through the maze of granite ledges, back past the boulder field and down alongside slabs that yesterday were running with torrents of water, today partly frozen. Going was much easier without the pouring rain to contend with!
We arrived back to the cars with the satisfaction of a hard won summit under our belts; and new friendships forged and plans made. This is the other reason we seek out the mountains: to find that sense of community, that camaraderie, that comes from working together with like minded people to achieve the objectives of a trip.
I had a fantastic outing despite some problems with pain in my back where it hadn’t quite recovered from going ‘out’ in a horrible fashion last week. Again I was really touched by how much effort people made to include me and I hope I have made some friends that I will see again, including people to go to the climbing wall with, Yippeee! ! 🙂