/ Conditions report: Valdres, Hemsedal and Lærdal - Season 17/18
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!
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.
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
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.
We’re heading to Hemsedal tomorrow evening for the rest of the week. Is everything under waist deep snow? Any recommendations?
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.
Awesome. Thanks for the heads up!
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
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.
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.
> 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?!
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.
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 ;)
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.
While Valdres and Hemsedal are still buried under snow, a few reports are trickling in of climbing activities in the Fjord areas, with some very impressive looking ascents.
Activity at all levels in Gudvangen. The is a majestic valley, deeply incised running right to the fjord and is home to some scary looking falls including the Fosslimonster, which has just been repeated by a strong visiting French team. In the same valley higher up more modest outings have been climbed.
Again equally impressive falls have been climbed throughout the fjord areas, and by the look of the pictures, the snow is much more manageable.
Ice in Valdres and Hemsedal is still about; the sunny side is getting a pasting by the sun while the shady sides are sitting waiting.
I have also seen pictures of some impressive ascents at Eidsfjord. Not strictly in the area but worth a mention all the same.
Skiing in the forest after the recent new snow is as always a dream. However, there is a complex avalanche risk, with a persistent weak layer (facets) found on all aspects.
On a recon tour to Vang yesterday for an ice climbing course this week the ice on both side of the valleys (sunny side and shadows) looked good. Still snow on the slacker sections, but remarkable the ice on the sunny side looks still reasonable. Normally by now, it's rotten but this year its not. Snow is starting to firm up but still skis or snowshoes are recommended unless your looking for a real work out. Last week it was super cold again, down to -25 for several days, this will affect the ice quality. Milder again now. I noticed at Øya crag the large pillar (More of a hanging curtain really) had snapped clean off. Some routes are looking fatter than I have ever seen them before.
Hemsedal: Sunnyside routes like Grøtenutbekken, looked on the turn but still not as bad as I would have thought for this time for the year. Other routes I hear have nice tracks to now with ice quality been described as good. Its been super cold there as well so that must have affected the quality.
Skiing off-piste is still good if you know where to go, cut up on the regular drags. Crusty if you get it wrong but with a little windblown snow (often referred to has Norwegian powder) it makes great turns.
Even though its been cold, I feel warmth in the sun, the winter back is broken, the days are getting longer, snow firmer underfoot with the possibility of venturing up higher to climb
Wait for it.... The ice and skiing conditions are good in Vang and Hemsedal it's as simple as that.
Just finished a week ice climbing course and can report good conditions. Walk in are still hard work without skis or snowshoes (hard work with snowshoes as we found out in Vang in Valdres)
Its been a great winter so far I think the ice will last ages.
After a rather cold spell again, with temps down to -25, before things got mild, with plus degrees both day and night. This destroyed the sunny side ice climbs. The shady side at last became stripped of snow and unfortunately on some routes I saw in Vang in Valdres the outer sections of ice has become cloudy. It might recover as the temps are back to below zero day and night at the moment.
A drive thought Lærdal, Gudvangen and Voss saw me nearly cash the car several times as I have never seen so much ice as during this season. There has been much activity in Gudvangen, with some spectacular ascents on really scary looking ice. Aurdal and Flåm area (including associated valleys) has also seen activity with reports of new routes and repeats abound. The ice looked finished for the season in these low venues.
In Hemsedal reports in of ascents of Hydelsfossen which has a long season.
Skiing: The avalanche risk has been high, with many media outlets reporting avalanche activity. Good skiing can still be found but you need to hunt about a bit. There is a crust. It’s a bit brutal at times. Its thick enough to almost allow you to think you can walk anywhere, and then suddenly…. it gets you in the shin every time. Could bring a grown man to tears.
Last up-date: 10/04/2018
This is the finaly up-date of the season. It is still possible to climb on the shady side and will be especially high up late into April. Its going to get milder this week with plus temps day and night.
For me it time say "ha det bra" or goodbye. More people are using social media to talk about conditons and I think I will do the same for Valdres next year.
One of interest is : "Isklatring i Aurland, Lærdal og Årdal" on FB.
And just now Isklatring i Valdres on FB as well.
Well thats all folk. The phone rang on friday and the agent found me two weeks work is Haugesund as a geologist so its back to drinking coffee and trying to look interesting. Needs must when the devil bangs at the patio doors Or in my case the Norwegian tax man, banging on the 1860 wooden cabin wall
> For me it time say "ha det bra" or goodbye. More people are using social media to talk about conditons and I think I will do the same for Valdres next year.
> One of interest is : "Isklatring i Aurland, Lærdal og Årdal" on FB.
> And just now Isklatring i Valdres on FB as well.
Nei! Ikke gjør det! I really enjoy your updates here, as they are actual updates, nicely detailed and interesting to follow. Far too often what people call 'updates' on the various FB groups is more 'hey look at us we climbed this' with no real detailed information about the ice or what its doing (maybe I just want too much detail). Or just a picture with no helpful description of the actual ice conditions.
I tried to find your Valdres page but it doesn't seem to appear in any searches?!
> The phone rang on friday and the agent found me two weeks work is Haugesund as a geologist so its back to drinking coffee and trying to look interesting.
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