After several weeks of rain I caught a break in the weather and rushed home early on a friday afternoon to conquer our last Ti på Topp peak of the year. Jesse was back in the US, so Jack and I were on our own. We drove out to Grøtfjord on the North side of Kvaløya and parked near the end of the fjord (69.739468, 18.494554). This is the same area where Sören, Pia and I had lunch on the beach in early summer and is a very popular place for hiking and maybe more so for skiing in the early spring, but this evening there was only 1 other car parked there.
Jack and I started out of a muddy well-traveled path, that quickly climbed the side of mountain to a stream flowing over a huge section of solid rock. It was really hard to predict where the trail would go, I always seemed to be guessing wrong and worrying how I would get up a certain section. The trail did cross a large bolder field that Jack had some trouble with. I let him off his leash, but he kept running down the mountain to try to find a better place to cross. I finally got him to come to me and kept him very close to me and even carried him over one section that he didn’t like.
After the boulders the trail was mostly dirt, but climbed very steeply, until we reached another rocky section where there were huge fragments of rock to climb over. Here we met a couple young guys in sneakers, but with climbing shoes and gear strapped to their packs, that were headed down the mountain. They were very outgoing and greeted me in English (so they were certainly not Norwegian). They had just come along a famous mountain route from the West end of Ersfjord, Rekvik, and hiked East along the ridge. They were intending to end on Blåmann, but that was just next to us up at least a 3 pitch rock climb. They guys said they were too tired to do the climb so they intended to head down and return early in the morning. I thought to tell them that it was supposed to rain the next day, but I didn’t want to encourage them to continue since it was already getting colder and the sun was low.
The very top was quite steep and I had to carry Jack over part of this section as well since it was so steep and in many cases was more like climbing or bouldering, but thankfully it was quite short to the top. Overall the hike was by far the most technical that we did this year and it was challenging for both of us. Jack doesn’t exactly like being picked up 🙂
From the top we could see some pretty incredible parts of Kvaløya. We looked down at Ersfjord and the top of Buren. The climb that the guys were planning to Blåmann was easier to see and they still would have had quite a traverse over to the top again. The open ocean loomed beyond Grøtfjord and above some of the smaller peaks. Finally, to our west we discovered a big unnamed alpine lake and saw several glaciers clinging to sides of Hollendaren and Revburgtinden. Kari and I saw people skiing on these glaciers early in the year on our short outing to Tromvik. It also seems to be a very popular spring skiing area.
Jack “helped” me setup the camera at the top and we took a few photos as the sun was disappearing into the clouds. Jack and I spent a while at the top enjoying the views, but had to finally retreat out of the cold. We cautiously descended, but Jack did fine going down most things, it amazes me sometimes that he doesn’t break himself jumping off of things!! Near where we had met the guys, we found a young woman on her way up. I asked Jack to sit and wait while she went by. She said “Så flink!”, which means -so smart in Norwegian. I should have known, but since I am still quite terrible with my Norwegian I just smiled and said I didn’t understand much Norwegian… several seconds later my long wires finally translated her first words. I’ll have to get quicker than that!
Once we got back to the car there was a really nice sunset waiting for us over Grøtfjord… it was the one day of sun after weeks of rain, with lots more rain in the forecast. The next morning it was windy and rainy when I headed to work. I thought of the two guys I had saw the day before, hopefully they get another chance to finish their trek!