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/ Conditions report: Valdres, Hemsedal and Lærdal - Season 17/18

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Jamie Simpson - on 19 Nov 2017

Winter season 2017 / 2018

Some useful links:

weather: http://www.yr.no

or

https://www.storm.no

Worth checking out both as they can give different conditions.

Avalanche: http://www.varsom.no

Terrain: http://skredkart.ngi.no

Pictures will be posted on our FB page https://www.facebook.com/valdresfjellguider/

Other social media outlets are: "Klatring i Hemsedal"

If you're on Instagram then "Valdres Fjellguider". Increasingly eclectic networks on Instagram are the main source of climbing conditions. Getting in the loop is the key. Normally if you post people will want to follow.

An old link that has got savvy suddenly is the state road people on www.vegvesen.no apart from road regs you can also find all the road webcams and get a feeling for road conditions/snow conditions.

Emergency:

In case of an emergency (none medical) Call the police 112 (or 02800 as a none emergency)
In case of a medical emergency call the ambulance 113. This will bring you directly to a person that can advise on medical situations as well as instigate the rescue.

The season:

After a very wet Autumn, the colder dry conditions have arrived.

Hemsedal: Reports in about climbing on Langesetfeltet (ice). Comments about recommending ski for transport to the falls and Øvredalen (mixed) being climbed at the weekend.

Valdres: Hyllebekken in Fagernes looks formed. Some snow on the ledges at the mo. In Vang I took a recon tour to a fall last week and thought then it needed more time. It has snowed quite a bit the last few days so I would imagine that will need some time to clear. Langåni was forming but was a long way off being complete.

Lærdal: Haven't been recently so no. info.

Skiing: Report in of some Norwegian powder! followed by the usual comments use old skis ;) It's getting there. Be patient
Langrenn: Seems to be a good start to the season with people telling me in the local supermarket what fun they have been having following those thin tracks.
Post edited at 16:52
Jamie Simpson - on 21 Nov 2017

Up-date: 21/11/17

Vang: Building nicely. Still needs a bit more time. Langåni was forming still but hasn't touched down. Drosje was still a waterfall and the others on that side are forming. Still not enough snow for these. Falls above Ala camping are forming although the left-hand pillar looked a bit narrow.

Etnerdal: This area is found between Fagernes and Dokka. Some nice falls that form regularly. "Fossen ved Madslangrudberget (Flaggsvaet)" was forming, the second pitch looked complete but the first hadn't touched down. On the other side of the valley the other falls were complete but looking thin (very little snow on this side of the valley at the moment.

Hemsedal: Ice: Word on the street that most falls need more time.

It's going to snow buckets tomorrow The rest of the week will be skiing After the next dump the ice should start to grow much faster after this dry spell.

Jamie Simpson - on 26 Nov 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Update: 26/11/2017 Some pictures on the FB site:

After the heavy snowfall during cold temps on Thursday, the temps increased to plus degrees with rain on Friday. The powder snow has now a heavy crust making tough travel conditions. https://www.facebook.com/valdresfjellguider/ and Instagram.

Vang in Valdres: Many routes formed. Shallow angle still has snow on. Roues like Lanåni hasn't full fully formed but will soon. Drosje to the right (climbers right) of Langåni needs more time. The others in the area look doable, although the slacks sections have this sugary crusty snow on. Many routes to be had. Quality unknown.

Hemsedal: Took a drive-by Skogshorn after a meeting on Friday. Pictures on the FB page. Looked wintry, snow and frosted rock. On Friday it looked like the snow would have a crust and sugar underneath, this was confirmed by a party that tried to climb a route (Demonstraten) reporting brutal travel conditions and slow going on the route. Good effort all the same.

Today, its snowing big flakes in Valdres. It will be interesting to see what the snow profile is like over the next few days.

Always tricky at the start of the season. Looks like a good start. Being flexible is the key.




Jamie Simpson - on 02 Dec 2017

Update: 02/12/2017.

After a cold dry week, the temperatures have risen today. The snowpack has a brutal crust in most places and to add to this rim crystals have been observed throughout the area.

Vang: Ice growing everywhere. On Thursday Langåni looked almost complete. The other falls in the area also looked doable. In Skakadalen a route described as the perl of Vang (45m high pillar, which can just be seen from Mjøsvang cafe in Vang) is formed and looks fat. There are also other falls in the gorge as well.

Lærdal: Reports in that routes are forming/formed. One report in on a route climbed in Aurlandsdalen, which just looked great.

As the weather has been cold and dry I would imagine the cliffs of Skogshorn will still be challenging.

Things really shaping up for some good early season climbing and skiing. Just need this crust to go away and keep the eyes open for this rim crystals when they get buried.
Tom Green on 02 Dec 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Great updates. Thanks for going to the effort.
Jamie Simpson - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to Tom Green:
Thanks

Up-date: 06/12/2017

On Monday I took a ski tour to Filefjell to amongst other things check out avalanche risk for an upcoming course. Below 1200m a fairly brutal crust existed. Above this less so with fairly good skiing to be had. I wouldn't want to ski on some steep open slopes in sheltered areas at the moment as windslab overlaying facets crystals is present.

Vang: Many ice routes to be had. Skjerva i Øye found between Øya and Tynnkrysett (Filefjell) is formed. The easier pitches have loose snow on them. Ths route is approx 450 long and has two distinct steeper sections. The upper looking the more challenging. Routes by the switchbacks on the main E16 road above Øya looked in part formed. This crag, with routes up to 70m has been described as a pretty decent crag and rivals anything in Hemsedal. It contains routes between grade 3 to 5 and has a pleasant aspect and views down Vangsmjsø (Vang lake). Due to a bypass tunnel being built there is quite a lot of activity below the crag. Directly above Øya two very distinct ice pillars looking very sporting at the moment. On the Northside of Vangsmjsø (Vang lake), several ice lines are in. Further on the same side, Langåni looks doable as well as the other falls to the right of this uber classic.

Sør-Aurdal (Southern community of Valdres). On a drive to Oslo yesterday I could see the routes above Bagn where complete. Dammen was complete and as usual, the top pitch was covered in snow. Further down the beautiful Begnadalen (Main E16 to Olso goes this way) many routes observed from the car window. Cold. Bagn village is always cold. I would imagine Stavedalen is worth a look, but I have no reports of climbing there at the moment.

Aurland (Think west of Lærdal, coastal area). Pictures of an impressive 5 pitch WI5 route being climbed. I would imagine Lærdal is worth a visit.

Hemsedal: My source told me yesterday told me it was miserable with rain (In the chosen land of Valdres its dry and cold). Routes have formed, pictures of climbing. Varying reports of ice quality.

Snowed during the night, more on the way. Skiing will be good and again when the snow clears from the routes climbing.
Post edited at 09:47
AndyP - on 11 Dec 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Hi Jamie, you're a busy lad. I sent you an email a few weeks ago.
Jamie Simpson - on 15 Dec 2017
In reply to AndyP:

Sent you a mail Andy

Update: 15/12/2017

Its been at times a cold week, with temperatures in places like Hemsedal, Filefjell and Beitostølen down to a brittle -20. The valleys have been somewhat warmer at -16. With the low angle of the sun, many places (i.e. my house) don't get any sun. We don't get any direct sun for the next 6 weeks at our place.

Reports in that Skiing in Vang within the forest is good. No reports about it being good above the treeline so maybe it's not so good.

Hemsedal: Reports in of many things getting climbed, with reports of good conditions.

Valdres: Routes in everywhere at the moment. Still some snow on the slacker routes.

Temperatures will rise slightly next week, possible plus degrees in the middle of the week with a few days of snow.

Looking like a very promising winter at the moment
Jamie Simpson - on 20 Dec 2017
Update: 20/12/17.

After the cold the warmer plus temps arrived. It was +5 in Vang town yesterday, althought back at home in Vestre Slidre, which is part of the same valley system it was -6.

Anyway, took a mini drive in Vang yesterday during the lunch break and took some long awaited pictures of ice conditions Enjoy.

https://www.facebook.com/valdresfjellguider/photos/pcb.1570016623078558/1570015593078661/?type=3&...

If your feeling really christmas spirited you could like my page as I am trying to get over 1000 likes by the end of the year. Bar humbug!
mick taylor - on 20 Dec 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Dude. Langani looks great, and fancied a go when we was out there, pre-injury !!

Keep your posts coming, you might inspire me to loose the belly and get out there...
Jamie Simpson - on 23 Dec 2017
In reply to mick taylor:

You mean the "injury".... Could happen to anyone ;)

When I tell the story, which is very often (full name/picture of you so there is no doubt who I am talking about), even the coldest, unemotional Norwegians winces, just slightly, most have a tear in at least one eye, both normall.

Your always welcome Mick.
Jamie Simpson - on 23 Dec 2017
Up-date: 23/12/2017.

The plus temps that should have lasted only 48 hours decided to last all week. Especially in Vang community. The ice will survive, but it will take a few cold days to return fully. Took a walk with the dogs to check out a new route possibility in Vand and the snow was like spring. Crashing through it to the grass, by the time we got to our high point all where soaked. Not a bad thing as snow was lingering on many routes, now its fallen off.

In Vestre Slidre, which is part of the same valley system it was minus degrees all week. At one point it was plus 5 degrees in Vang and 20mins drive it was -9 in Vestre Slidre.

In Hemsedal: Reports in of routes been climbed but also reports of a lot of running water and some routes getting thin and sections falling down.

Skiing: Wet.

Prognosis: Getting cold with more snow soon. Big storm coming through, weather warnings for the west coast. Things will survive and re-build. Enjoy your Christmas! I will.
Jamie Simpson - on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Update: 26/12/2017:

Return to cold temps. Snow. Loads of snow. 30+cm today more tomorrow and Thursday. If skiing is your thing, then this is the time. It's beautiful walking in the forest right now as the trees are bent over with the weight of snow. Well travelled paths through the woods look so different that at times I need to stop, check my bearings, as it is as if I had never been here before. At times I let the dog decided, she navigates with different senses and if not confused by passing seasons.
Jamie Simpson - on 30 Dec 2017
Up-date: 30/12/17.

Back to cold temperatures again.

Lots of reports of skiing at the moment. Nice pictures, with smiley faces. Lots of pictures from normally dormant social media accounts. This only means one thing.... Norwegians are on holiday at the huts and its good skiing conditions. In some places 40+cm snow. Powder if you like that sort of thing. Very little in the way of ice climbing info.

Valdres: Stavedalen (Bagn). This once very popular place with short approaches and great routes. Some pictures have been sent to me. Looks good / a bit snowy but with short swims to the base of the routes whats not to like. An early season venue due to it facing south.

Vang i Valdres: Loads to go at / snowy on the slack sections. Swim to the base of the routes at the moment.

Hemsedal: I have seen a few reports. The classic modest route (great route) Flaggetfossen has seen ascents recently. Comments about very snowy and a bit wet. Again comments about Vøllokula being formed of very hard ice (direct translation from the Norwegian is "bone hard") with ice screws just going into air pockets. The people turned after the first rope length taking a tour at Rjukandefossen where they found the river open and difficulties getting to the routes. Maybe they just got unlucky with routes choice.

It was a bigger than expect thaw, before Christmas and then came loads of snow. Cold temps combined with the snow will see ice build rapidly. Approaches of less frequented routes will require a more forceful approach/swim.

The winnowing of the ice during the thaw will have had rather a negative effect on the ice quality on some routes. Due to the cold, the ice has become brittle and can no longer tolerate the water pressure behind and therefore have cracked, which results in some of the waterfalls being wet even when it super cold. Some routes in the area are more prone to this than others.

As usual some pictures: https://www.facebook.com/valdresfjellguider/
sanguine - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Thanks for the updates Jamie - will be keeping an eye on these conitions and hoping for some Valdres ice climbing in the coming months - in particular Långani sits on the untick list!
Jamie Simpson - on 04 Jan 2018
In reply to sanguine:

I saw Langåni yesterday. Never seen it so well formed Should last awhile. Have no info on quality. Drosje to the side look like it hadnt recovered after the last thaw.

Up-date: 04/01/2018:

Huge amounts of snow. I personally haven't seen this much snow in Valdres before. The birch trees in places are bent right over, and there must be 50cm of snow hanging on the branches of the fir trees.

Variable ice quality at the moment. Loads of snow. Had to swim to the base of a small route a few days ago.

Very little in the way of ice climbing reports. This might have to do with the volume of snow, making access to many routes very difficult. Skis or snowshoes highly recomended.

There have been reports from Hemsedal again of variable ice quality and one team reporting they had to bail on everything they did because of this.

So skiing it is. The ice quality will return.
sanguine - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Fantastic to hear about Långani - won't be able to make it up there until at least 18th/19th January - hoping she holds until then - maybe the snow will abate somewhat also, making our in and out easier, though I remember the approach to Långani being mostly some small ice falls rather than snow slopes.

The small ice crag just above Ala Camping I remember being a bitch in the car, so either chains or a warm-up walk the path and the forest I presume. The other small crag beyond the Öye was also realtively short approach. Everything else would be a sweaty day though if I remember correct.

Thanks for the updates! Great to see Valdres Fjellguider so active! The valley really is a gem.
Jamie Simpson - on 22 Jan 2018

Up-date:  22/01/2018

Keyword: snow.

Lots of it.  Very few reports in for the area.  Some reports in of the usual routes getting climbed in Hemsedal and a report in of climbing in Lærdal.  Ice is formed, and routes are in throughout the area.  Getting to them is a different matter.  Pictures of people wading/swimming into routes are not uncommon.

Unless its a trade route be prepared for a swim.  Off-piste without skis or snowshoes is difficult, even with ski or snowshoes making your own tracks is tiring. 

I haven't seen so much snow this early in the season before.  

Normally we will have a few thaw cycles that will consolidate the snow, however this year that hasn't happened. 

They have advised we should dig the snow off the roofs of our houses as more snow is forecast this week.  Good training! 

 

Post edited at 07:49
Jamie Simpson - on 23 Jan 2018

Up-date: 23/01/2018

Well it snowed again ;) Leaving the office in Vang yesterday I was able to get a look through the clouds at Langåni, that looked good, steep and mainly snow free (because its that steep). Due to the cloud cover, it hasn't been eaten by the sun yet. The other routes to the right look partially buried.  Other easier routes, especially the slacker areas look buried at the moment. 

Dare I say it, while the skiers will curse me; a thaw would be good to clear the routes.

 

Forgot to mention:  Stavedalen from pictures I have seen is looking good still, with reports in that routes that are seldom in are now formed. As long as it stays cloudy, they will remain, once the sun comes out they will start to get eaten. 

Post edited at 08:14
sanguine - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Sounds like the snow shoes will have to be brought out then so - planning for this coming weekend. At least the routes will be in now, compared with last year's thinness. Might make a swing by Stavedalen on the last day on the way home - otherwise too much to drive every day from Vang. We will be in the Boflaten Camping again btw if you wanna drop around for a cuppa

Jamie Simpson - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to sanguine:

Sounds good. Will try to pop in.  I am working out of a "felleskontor" in Vang at the moment, just a few days a week.

Vang in Valdres: Saw Langåni today, still form.  Plus degrees in the valley. Should freeze again soon. 

Other routes look a bit buried at the moment. 

Hemsedal:  Report in that Grøtnutbekken is in good conditions. A team used skis to access the route.

Another report in on people attempting Teigafossen.  A team tried to access the route but after 250m turned back from the car due to snow depth.  Quite a comical movie was posted. They were using snowshoes a well! 

Skiing. Continues to be good in the forest. Rather flat light, so trees help a lot.  Avalanche warning in Valdres is high, with three distinct problems right now. 

Note to self:  Check the map before skiing blindly in the forest. We ended up skiing to deep into a gorge yesterday, and the hike back up in waist-high snow was exhausting.  

frankcp87 - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

We’re heading to Hemsedal tomorrow evening for the rest of the week. Is everything under waist deep snow? Any recommendations? 

Jamie Simpson - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to frankcp87:

I would imagine that many of the classics have a good track to the bottom. 

Golsjuvet was used by an ice climbing seminar at the weekend, so I would imagine it will be nicely stomped.

Same as Haugsfossen above Hemsedal and Flaggetfossen on the opposite side of the valley. 

You can rent ski or snowshoes from MOH+ shop which is on the main drag, a little out of the centre. 

 
frankcp87 - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Awesome. Thanks for the heads up!

Jamie Simpson - on 01 Feb 2018

Up-date: 01/02/2018

It has become milder in Valdres.

Snow. Will it ever stop?  There must be at least 1m consolidated snow in the garden now.

During the weekend I saw a party had attempted Langåni. A good effort. From the pictures, it looked fat.  Its given the grade 5 but I think most people say 6.  The same party did possible a new route by the road, a mixed / ice thing. Looks good. 

Generally lots of snow, many routes buried. 

Made a small movie of skiing home. Its a first ditch attempt of filming with a drone:  Feedback welcome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eez62Q46fic&t=2s

I´m hoping to get a better overview of crags with the drone as its often difficult to get good pictures of the crags/positions when on foot.

Drove down to Oslo yesterday: from South Aurdal to Oslo, rain and then snow on the way back. Many of the climbs observed from the E16 looked covered in snow. Steeper lines looked clear. 

 

Jamie Simpson - on 07 Feb 2018

Up-date: 07/02/2018

Cold very cold. In the garden -26 over in Hemsedal and Vang a chilly -30 at points during the weekend. 

Keen parties were braving the cold, and then getting 15m into the walk in and deciding, no it really is that cold and going to the cafe. Some didn't even make it out of the car. Wisely going to the cafe. 

Skiing was good, especially in the sun. The sitting lifts being the problem.

Today's little tour to Vang I viewed Langåni, still looking good. The other steep falls in the area, especially on the sunny side still look good. Normally they would be getting eaten by the sun by know. Modest difficult falls still are covered in snow on the slacker sections. 

A brief visit to Hemsedal:  Grøtenutbekken.  Still looked very climable.  This fall often gets eaten by the sun very quickly.

A bit warmer this week, about -10 Still loads of snow. A very complex avalanche problem at the moment with three distinct problems present. Worth reading the report before heading out (www.varsom.no).

The skiers will hate me for saying it. However a thaw would help many easier routes, there is still lots of soft unconsolidated snow on the slacker sections. 

GarethSL on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

> Up-date: 07/02/2018

> Cold very cold. In the garden -26 over in Hemsedal and Vang a chilly -30 at points during the weekend. 

> Keen parties were braving the cold, and then getting 15m into the walk in and deciding, no it really is that cold and going to the cafe. Some didn't even make it out of the car. Wisely going to the cafe. 

I'm so glad we weren't the only ones suffering. We had around -20 and it was utterly miserable. Even at the coast it was still bitter cold with hard brittle ice conditions. But what a fantastic winter, eh?!

Jamie Simpson - on 12 Feb 2018
In reply to GarethSL:

I feel your pain, -20 in Trondheim is brutal, so near to the coast as well.  In Valdres...the chosen land may I remind you ;) when it's really cold, it's dry and windless. 

Up-date: 12/02/2018

More snow, and then for a change some more very fluffy snow.  Langåni is still looking fat. However "word on the snow" is after the rather brutal cold snap the ice has become laminated somewhat. 

Great skiing, I mean really great skiing.  Was running an avalanche course this last weekend and had beautiful conditions for the course, with a complex snowpack and great powder in the forest for the return journey.  Quite hard work for the up section.

Pictures are coming in of some of classics in Hemsedal being climbed.  All seem to be the type with the short walk in, although right now, the short walk in, is still short in distance,  in time, however, has become long and protracted. More of a swim.

Keywords, skis, snowshoes or speedos ;)

Jamie Simpson - on 06:51 Wed

Up-date: 21/02/2018

What a difference a day makes. Went to the office in Vang on Monday and thought Langåni and other falls on the sunnyside still looked in good conditions.  Went yesterday and thought they looked cloudy and starting to get sun affected.  Falls on the shady side still buried under snow. They will last a long time and look really fat.

Skiing in the forest in Vang still excellent. Unless anything changes this will continue for some time.  There is an enormous amount of snow this year. A thaw is required to strip the snow of the easier routes.

Again in Hemsedal routes on the sunnyside looked like they were on the change due to sun. 


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