Tuesday, 6 May 2008

tunturi climbing

A trip up Kesänki Tunturi (pictured below) which is right next to Ylläs (which for non Finnish speakers is pronounced more like oolas).

A group of us decided to spend Vappu in Lapland. Despite being a bit north of the Arctic circle, snow melts there by mid spring.

I'm not so much into down hill skiing, so we decided to try to climb this hill . These hills are called Tunturi in Finnish or a Fell in English. As it happens the Fell in that link is where everyone was going down hill skiing, and across the gorge from where we were climbing).

Snow conditions were 'trying' as there had been well over a meter of snow remaining on the ground by the end of winter, and with daytime temperatures now in the 12 ~ 17°C range we were barely supported on our skis and it was way too tedious trying to take steps through groin deep wet snow. So, we did our trip in 3 stages
  1. track skis on the tracks to the lake
  2. off track into the deep stuff as far up the mountain as we could
  3. leave our skis, and climb the loose rocky surface to the sumit (520 meters)
We carried a change of boots, as neither of us fancied climbing in ski boots.

The trip up was slow, with the snow seeming to support your weight, then giving way suddenly and your foot sinking down to your knee. If you've skied in this sort of stuff you'll know what I mean, but falling over is a pain in the ass big time.

I managed to make it all the way to the top without falling once (which amazed me) while Anita fell through between her skis a couple of times. Since she's without a doubt the more experienced skier, she was carrying the pack (making balance harder) and cutting the trail too.

By the time we got to the place where there was no snow for skiing (without really damaging our skis), it was already pretty steep and quite warm thank you very much.

Slopes changed to about 45° at about this point, with some sections feeling quite steeper. There was lots of loose rock, making it quite tricky climbing. Much of the upper part of the Tunturi is without tree, so if you you slip here you've got a few meters to tumble along the rubble before you hit trees ...

The slope certainly looks steeper from where I was sitting.

Of course part of the problem is that I'm getting a bit old and fat for doing this sort of thing. I can do something (perhaps) about the fat, but the old is a challenge we all face.

Anyway, a quick bite of food and some berry juice and we started our way up to the summit. At about ½ way up to the top from where the trees end, I took this picture of Yullas tunturi (like all images, click on it to enalrge it).

There are no trees on the summit, and as you get closer to the top, the become more like shrubs than trees.

Naturally the view from the summit was excellent, and well worth the trip up!

On the way back down from summit we took a less steep route rather than go down across the steep and loose rocks. We figured that going groin deep in snow was easier on the way down than the way up.

Still you had to walk carefully, as you could check the snow carefully to see if it supported you, then after you'd put your weight on it, it would suddenly give way and you'd sink down.

Cos the snow melts from underneath, you can then find loose rocks which then move and you can twist an ankle just as easily.

But all in all we had the best day of our 4 day trip to Yulläs doing this ski / walk / climb. The scenery was worth it as was the view from the summit.


dak said...

hey you,

love the pics as usual they are great and funny especially you berried upto your waist. HuH . Guess who.


dak said...

hey you,

Great snaps as usual. Love the one of you berried up to your waist and the one of anita up on the top of the mountain.

Guess who