/ Hemsedal, Lærdal, Valdres Winter Conditions
The start to the winter season has been very mild with periods of cold followed by rain. Not a good start.
We climbed on the 22nd december Haugsfossen in Hemsedal. Good, but wet ice. A bit hollow in places due to the melting. Indre Haugsfossen was thin the pillar section looked just like an icicle. Didn't look secure enough for an ascent. Had a look at Rjukandefossen, not good. Some short pillars but more water than ice. Plunge pool open. Toresetfossen looked like it had ice but to far away to see if it was doable. Grøtenutbekken looked like it was forming, couldn't see the if there was any ice in the narrow section. Hydnefossen looked like it was forming. To far away to see if it was climbable or not.
On the 23rd drove to Bergen and back today. Drove down Lærdal from what I saw from the road nothing remotely in. Lower and middle Lærdal, nothing at all just waterfalls at the moment and little if any snow until the upper valley is reached. Some good looking ice over Filefjell.
Gudvangen. Waterfalls, some ice very high up. Drove through today less ice today than on the 23rd :(
In Vang kummune quick drove pastt Langåni. Forming but the first pitch looks thin and maybe not complete. Top pillar looks very sporting right now. The rest of the ice routes in this area were not in at all.
I´ll try and keep this updated through the season if i remember.
Ha! Tell me about it... The "winter" in Gothenburg has mostly consisted of rain and wind. Today it was sunny and +9.
A friend of mine desperately went to Rjukan last weekend. Basically nothing formed, little bit in Krokan and Ozzimosis (he didnt go to Gausta due to strong winds)
Anyway, we´re heading over to Hemsedal 1-5th january. The forecast looks pretty good. When did you drive past Langåni? If Grötenuten or Hydne doesnt look appealing we might head for Vang for a day.
Drove past Langåni today (28th). Will probable taking a tour over to Hemsedal in the next day or to. Will past afterwards.
Ouch today, was hoping it was last week or so! Fingers crossed for hemsedal then... We´ll go there no matter what, always something to climb, def. more than back home.
@Nick, no need to panic. If you base yourself in eastern (higher) Laerdal you always have Hemsedal in reach as well. In early feb both Hydne and Grötenuten are more or less guaranteed to be formed. They arent as long as some of the longest lines in Laerdal but still very worthy and super classic climbs.
Helsinki has been the same. A cold snap in early December with some snow and some ice forming but all has melted away now with endless rain through the shortest days.
I'm in the UK now but going home on New Years day - it looks like it might cool down a little to the end of the week, enough to snow, but not encouraging for any southern Finnish ice for another few weeks. Inland and North is better I've heard but not much.
Thanks Jamie. Things don't look very promising at the moment!
I wouldn't loose to much hope, the long term forecast for the area is below 0 temps, and there is snow at hight and lots of water about. Temps don't seem to extreme so ice will build.
Also I meant the West end of that tunnel.
February is 4 weeks away anything could happen in that time. West end of the tunnel (as in Lærdal tunnel?) your time to Hemsedal ski center is 1h, 10mins so options are still good. The temperatures over the next week are -5 in Hemsedal with lots of snow, I think ice will build fast in these conditions. The problem is we often get a settled cold periods (think temps -20 and the rest) each winter. Normally this has happened in november and again in late january / feb but this year we mist the first cold periods. For what I have seen poor snow years in Lærdal produces lots of climbable ice.
Personally I would wait right up to the last mins and then decided.
Aurland is a great place to be based and you have a choice of 4 fantastic valley systems to explore and climb in. A 30min drive up the Hol road from your cabins will have you at 1200m having passed loads of thick fat ice on the way. Keep your eye on the weather at Osterbo, approx 600m elev. on the same road to give a better idea of how it's all looking.
I can send a digital guide to the ice climbs in the area if you need it.
I didn't realised the road went so high - that's good to know.
Was over in Hemsedal yesterday. fantastic powder conditions in the lower forest. Best of the seasons. The day before 05/01/14 I took a drive round to check on ice conditions.
Grøtenutbekken looked good from distance the last pitches were covered in snow.
couldn't see Hydnefossen because of low cloud.
Vøllokula, could only see the first steep pitch. Look like it was forming and doable. Top section covered in snow, and seemed to be quite a lot of bushes where there should be ice :(
Lots of new snow at the moment, will warm up today but from tomorrow for many days the temperatures will drop steadily.
We where in Hemsedal over the weekend. Climbed Haugsfossen, Indre Haugsfossen, Grötenuten, Flagetfossen and a lot of cool stuff in Golsjuvet. Apparently Hydne has been climbed but with thin ice and high water pressure behind it. Scary!
In general: Good ice beneath bad soft layers, lof of snow, ardous approaches, wet ice. It was pretty windy and the snow was wet so it even stuck on sections of WI5!
If pillars doesnt start falling down before the drop in temps conditions and ice quantity will probably be good in a week or two.
(If the forecast with lower temps is accurate that is)
And while Im at it, saw some Rjukanophile writing on the Rjukan thread that Hemsedal doesnt have any cragging. He cant clearly been to Golsjuvet. Superb cragging in mostly WI5-ish region, some easier some harder, also a handful mixed lines M5 and upwards. All 20-25m long. High quality, but beware of the regulated "river".
Thanks guys, keep 'em coming - particularly for further west.
Incidentally we have moved our trip - coming out on the 15th Feb now. It didn¡¦t cost much to do so and gives us a valuable extra couple of weeks to catch up on the somewhat delayed training we should have been doing. Looking at past conditions and forecasts, that seemed safe enough and with the delayed start to the winter will hopefully benefit us. We hope.
Forecast is for colder weather from Monday
It must be time for an update from someone...
I see the 'last 30 days' stats for Flam have dropped from 6.6 degrees above average to only 3 degrees above average in the space of less than two weeks so must be pretty darn chilly out there. And it looks quite stable too. Will it last another five weeks I wonder.
I´ve been a bit lazy + renovating the house! In the last week it has snowed, sometimes up to 20cm of new snow each day. The really cold temps didn´t really come and it has settled at about -15 in Hemsedal and Valdres general. We have had some of the best powder skiing ever recently so understandably people have been focused on that. The last time I was in Hemsedal about a week ago, Grøtenutbekken Was looking fat, but the top pitches where still buried in snow. Haugsfossen was also covered in snow. I took a top-tour at Solheisen (great powder) and on the way back took a look at some of the falls and they where covered in snow. It hasn't snowed much in the last weeks, generally stable, there has been talk of a storm, but a short one.
Last week there was a terrible fire in Lædal village, totally destroyed about 20 house or even more. From the pictures there seemed to be little snow in the valley but frozen waterfalls. With so many people been made homeless and the village struggling with electricity if you have booked accommodation in the area it might b wise to check if it has not been taken up by someone else on a long term basis. really tragic situation.
i´m going out tomorrow I will report when i get back, probable on monday.
Saw some pictures of people climbing at Rjukandefossen recently so it must be getting better than it was before.
Gosh, I hadn't connected the fire in the historic village and the climbing area!
Was over in Hemsedal Yesterday (Sunday 26). In a word Snowy. It has snowed even more and the powder skiing is what dreams are mad off (if you like skiing that is).
Grøtenutbekken looked fat, very. The top 3 pitches looked less snow covered than before. Haugsfossen looked good, with indre looking after than before.
We went over to Flagetfossen on the north side, tried swimming into the route, decided the route looked buried in snow and swam back to the car. Off track, snow up to waste. Being polite I left my snow shoes in the car as my friend had forgotten his. Anyway I am not sure they would have been big enough. The snow is very powdery at the moment.
We went to Rjukandefossen which was not looking its fat self but pretty good. Thankfully people had forged a track to the venue and so we hadn't to much swimming to do :)
Not sure how much snow is in Lærdal if any at the moment.
Ice that I have hit: On the steep and vertical good, on the shelves with the 1m powder snow bad very bad.
Things looking good :)
Update! Hopefully with less spelling / grammer mistakes :) Must think in one language and write in the same ;)
It has continued to snow everyday this week, sometimes up to 20cm. I am writing about Valdres and Hemsedal I don't know what has happening in Lærdal. The webcam at the road junction (Borlaugkrysset) where you decide to drive over Hemsedalfjell or Filefjell shows thin snow cover.
I would imagine many routes (Hemsedal / Valdres) are buried and you would need the largest snowshoes known to mankind to access them or a pair of flippers and snorkel and swim to them ;)
Hey Jamie! Hope things are good. Keep these updates coming - all good stuff. Really fancy a trip out there - next year maybe? We have unfinished business.
You said that last year so this must be the year your coming over! Yippee……
Thanks for the updates, Jamie, much appreciated
It would be the one route we might actually go to do even if conditions in Laerdal were good, which they aren¡¦t, so it¡¦s very likely we might need it. Of course, if it is in, is the approach even possible.
Can you detect the panic in my typing?
I think I have just found the limits of Google Translate: 'Then a third wheel does not want to leave the path and climb the waterfall was to haunt the dreams.' But thanks, a picture says a thousand words!
Any idea of the altitude the climb starts at? looks fairly high.
That was from their previous trip... now the 3rd bloke was nowhere to be seen, so Kelso and Antti did indeed climb the thing.
Sorry, nope... perhaps Jamie might have an idea...
How stylish are those glasses? Are they special ice climbing glasses, or just sporty-hipster glasses? I want some!
Ask Antti, next time yer in Kiipeily Areena...
Oh, and it seems that a few of my friends have again climbed Hydnefossen within the last few days, so Nick, it should be on...
We are thinking we may need to go to the upper valleys because of the warm temperatures, but there's yet more snow forecast up there.
Can anyone report on snow conditions in Upper Aurlandsdalen/Upper Lærdalen/Hemsedalen? I'm thinking about avalanche risk, and walk-ins (snowshoes).
And does anyone know of a way of checking online whether the Aurland - Hol road (route 50) is closed?
The altitude is pretty high, dont worry it wont go anywhere. More or less guaranteed to be in condition. Its advisable to recon approach the day before or have very precise instructions where to park and where to go. If you walk along the stream snowshoes or even skis comes handy. The other ways crosses some forrest where you'll easily tangle stuff up.
If this part of Hemsedal would be in Scotland Ill imagine it would have 10+ routes with individual names. Just on Hydne far left-far right you'll got 5 very independent lines (50 meters apart). Then there is more to the sides of it.. I could easily spend a week just climbing up there. Im however a fat father at the moment so Ill stick with Stora Sjöfallet and Spansdalen in late feb. Is Henrikkefossen and Söylefossen the thing to do?
From My experience looking at this years pictures start mid finish right looks good and fat. My Armchair judgement is benchmark WI5, left and right side is usually WI6.
I dont know any online way. Jamie might be able to tell you. Many of the small mountain roads are however closed during winter esp. during periods of heavy snowfall. This year has been very snowy in both Rjukan and Hemsedal. Seems like oppdal and sunndalen where the place to be at. Saw pictures of Tågbekken (Togbekken) 600m ice, with basically no snow and therefore no avalanche hazard in the return gully.
Oppdal etc looks just a touch too far away, Tagbekken looks awesome though...
I was skiing in Hemsedal today :) Good but heavy powder, especially by the end of the day. Temps above zero. Not a bad thing.
Saw a party on Grøtenutbekken. The steep pitches looked good from the road. Still much snow on the slacker sections. Something to be cautious of due to temperature increase.
Didn't see Hydnesfossen due to low cloud.
Haugsfossen looked good.
You can check which roads are open using:
Avalanche information is provided:
The areas covered are huge so be careful with them.
Thanks Jamie, really useful.
Jim, Nick - take a butchers at http://www.flickr.com/photos/55142052@N08/sets/72157640958772633/ Erik who took the pictures was there last week I think.
We're off tomorrow. Will post an update, tho I think we may be the only ones interested.
Come on then - get blogging lad! :) Looked but nothing from Norway yet. Did you climb something today?
Oh yes it is! Be prepared for funky ice with weird features. On the flipside the super-steep parts are not there on every pitch so you'll both get a warm-up and a cool down pitch.
Btw, whats the third route in Hemsedal? Is Lithium in?
Prob aim to do tuvfossen and grotenwhotsitfossen. They may not be spelled like that. The latter is the long WI5. Ta for the tip. I don't think lithium was there, not much anyway. But then perhaps it's not supposed to be.
Grötenuten is a classic and by the looks of it really well formed now. Tuvfossen is a lot of walking for not so much climbing. I would trade that for Langåni at Vang, similar in length to Grötenuten but much more sustained. If you dont fancy the drive to Vang maybe you should head to Golsjuvet to refine your steep ice skills? (If you need to revive them) 25m pillar routes with 5 minute approach.
Is Langåni def in?
Looking good Nick! You are getting stuff done and that's the main thing. It seems to have been a pretty awful winter for ice climbing in lots of areas round Europe, so finding anything is a good start!
Dead jealous basically.
This is true, but you can't wait for a 200 mtr WI4+ with what looks like NO avalanche risk at all to come out on DVD. :)
A week ago it was def. in and well shaped. It gets sundamaged from feb. but I dont believe Its been a lot of sun lately so should be ok, look at past weather stats for Vang.
Golsjuvet wasnt that bad for a cragging area with 5 min approach was it? Like Krokan but even less walking, less people and steeper climbs.
Off to see Langåni today. Hopefully will justify a rest day as I'm knackered!
Anyway, Langåni obviously has it in for me as today on the way down the connecting bar on my Grivel G20 snapped. Anyone know if I can get one in hemsedal (long shot expecting a reply by tomorrow morning, I grant you)? I think we can get one in Fagernes but that's near on a 300km round trip! Aaaargh.
Double whammy! Hydne and needed gear on the same trip. Skandinavisk hoyfjellsutstyr in Hemsedal might have bars for you.
Shit winter btw. It evened rained in Sarek yesterday, here in inland northern Sweden -30 is much more normal for late feb. The forecast doesnt look great for Spansdalen so we'll see where we end up.
Virtually all the snow melted away in my garden in North Helsinki. The sun came out this afternoon and it felt warm. What is going on eh? It's actually frosty out tonight, but it's late February - it should be -15 all day, not -1 just when it's dark!
It's nice to know that when we come back, and we will come back, that it's very unlikely to be this bad. And we have still had enough to climb, just. Freak winter (I hope).
Thats true. But If you still havent climbed grötenuten thats def. doable in time after visiting skandinavisk hoyfjellsutstyr.
Just wanted to say a massive thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It's been really useful (prob wouldn't have done Langåni without it) and helped relieve lots of pre-trip stressing.
I trust there'll be a similar one next year?
Good to hear you had a good time, its been a strange changeable season. The conditions between Hallingdale / Valdres and Lærdal / Årdal could not have been more different. One with powder snow / Buried ice the other nearly no snow and loads of ice.
Recently I was in Josterdalen, nearly crashed my car several times when I saw all the icefalls by the road side! It is like the best of the best side by side. Never heard anything about this area?
Today is the second day of spring so officially winter is over, we still have 1m snow in the garden and friends of mine climbed Grøtenutbekken yesterday (01/3).
If I remember I can start the thread again next year.
Don't worry - I'll prompt you!
Flying into Oslo on March 21 for a weekend of ice. Can you recommend where to go (within reasonable driving distance)? Mainly looking for longer routes. Many thanks!
You could happily spend a couple of days on that though.
A mate recently did Grötnutfossen (they had left Rjukan in disgust at rain and +5). Do you know where it is? It looks very fine in his photo. I wondered if it was one of the areas you visited.
If I recall correctly, its actually in Hemsedale (opposite side to Hydnefossen).
21st is a long way off temps can still drop significantly even late in this season. A few years back it was minus 15 in the Jotunheim around easter time.
From Oslo many options are available Hemsedal is high and about 3.5h from Oslo airport (assuming Gardermoen).
Just come back from Rjukan, sad state of affairs. Warm, raining but that was last week and with so much water / snow around if temps drop again ice will build.
The North side of Hemsedal will last, the south side ice will get eaten by the sun, but there is lots to go at on the north side. There is one grade V route which is high in Hemsedal called Hydalsfossen. I have never done it but have climbed with one of the first ascensionist and word on the street is that its a good climb that last long in the season.
There is always alpine / mix climbing on Skogshorn near Hemsedal. Depending on the winter it holds many fine mixed routes and ice lines. Its in the new guide book.
Many thanks! I think Hydalsfossen is probably first on our list.
My mate Mark and I climbed Haugsfossen and Ytre Haugsfossen on Friday. Both a bit soggy but probably better now, with cooler overnight temperatures. Retreated from Silueten on Skogshorn on Saturday due to unconsolidated snow.
Hydalsfossen on Sunday- jammed abseil ropes in soft snow then decided to leave it after Mark made a moral snapping prussik to try and free the ropes. The top is steep for WI4, although I suspect I would have chosen to lead a different line to the one I top roped... I would suggest abseiling to the edge of the ice, pulling the ropes then abing from ice anchors unless the snow consolidates considerably. This one will be in nick for a good while yet.
The skiing is getting rather icy just now.
I thought Hydalsfossen was WI5 and is considered steep by the locals. The routes on the north side will hold in. Quite amazed the Haugsfossen routes are still climbable,but I suppose it hasn't been that sunny recently.
I can well imagine the skiing is icy. Its been really windy this last few weeks.
I hear that in certain parts of the Jotunheim there has been unprecedented amounts of snow in other parts next to none.
That's true- WI4+ in the new guidebook, but looking on the web reveals people (including the guidebook authors!) considering at least one of the pitches WI5... It certainly felt a grade harder than Haugsfossen to me.
Amazing weather in Joutunheimen/Hurrungane at the moment, was on Storen on Saturday in the sun with absolutely no wind!
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