30km to Katterat
Cunojavrihytta to Katterat
The beast day. 30km due north and we had to get a train at 15:08. An early start was on the cards.
Up at 6am, started at 7am with a good tailwind and hard snow. The time constraints changed the feeling of the day, we were in race mode. Skinning a lot faster, and resting was kept to minimum. Helen kept hurrying me along and was a bit more stressed about the situation than me.
Helen hurrying me along
After 2.5 hours we made it to kvilebu (pictured above). This tiny little hut has 2 beds and must take a beating in the winter as it is in a really exposed spot. At this point we realised that we were 1.5 hours ahead of schedule. The combination of determination, tail wind and favourable snow conditions had really paid off.
We pressed onto the first descent of the day. The snow was in bad shape having been destroyed by strong winds at some point. The gradient was pretty serious though which made for a good time, something like 35-40 degrees I reckon.
Line into hunddalen
This is were we really appreciated our wide skis with sharp metal edges. Although lighter mountain skis are better most of the time, they are rubbish for descending. For me, its mostly about descending!
Next we skated out of the frozen riverbed and onto the next descent where we passed a bewildered group of men inspecting some hydro equipment. Again the snow wasnt ideal, we straightlined a lot of the descent to maximise speed. This meant that as we entered the hundalen valley flow we managed to get a fair way across it!
We stopped for a power break and basked in the glorious sunshine. (It really warmed up after about 12pm most days. But was often cold circa -15 at the start of the day.)
Next we skinned towards katterat and as we approached the final section I became very excited and took off my skins. This was a mistake. It turned out to be very undulating so we had to skate for a lot of the uphills with heavy rucksacks. I ended up exhausted and sweatier than a ‘paed in a playground’. Finally the frustration was over and there was a sloppy powder descent back to Katterat station, where it all began.
This is a former German stronghold from the German occupation of Norway during the second world war.
I heartily recommend ski touring in the mountains around Narvik. April is a great time it seems, as days are longer and warmer, whilst the snow conditions are still good.
See this post for a list of things we took on the trip. Really cutting down on what you take avoids a heavy pack which really spoils the fun.
We met one guy who has a packed to the brim 130L rucksack; and others who were pulling sledges as well as rucksacks. Not my idea of a good time.
Next on the list is some ski touring in either the swiss or french alps. Also planning on taking up the sport of splitboarding to keep the snowboarder in me alive and well.