Jun 24, 2022

Keblines 2022

 An other winter has passed in the Lapland area of Kebnekaise

This was one of the most snowy winters that I have experienced lately in this part of the world. Just amazing quantities of falling snow more or less every day from beginning of April and over 3 weeks, with cold temperature and stormy winds. Which made it just perfect for powder skiing.
The amount of snow wasn't a lot, but the quality and stability of the snowpack, tip top.
And, with this kind of weather it also kept the helicopters away, grounded cause of non flying weather!!
More of that in the future I hope. And, most likely as well cause of the ongoing climate changes


One week before arriving in Kebnekaise the weather was more like spring time, melting snow, rain and even waves on the lake in Laddtjovagge which made it looking like full summer.
The snow mobile transport between Nikkaloukta and Keb was even cancelled for 3 days. Something that never has happened before already in the month of march.
But, then the temps dropped and it started to snow...

This year my wife could join me, again, for helping me with the work to prepare the Keb Classic ski race.
The work to put up the course was quite demanding with all fresh snow making it a really hard work to carry up the ropes and all other equipment. 
We also choose to make it a bit extra demanding, including the whole ridge of Toulpagorni, so we had a full on schedule and no time for off work skiing this time.




But, finally I had one day between work and I could head out to try two lines that I hade seen since before.
One from Vierranvare, that was skied previously by one of the staff at "Sporten" in Keb.
This line took me to the valley between Toulpagorni and Singichokka. From where I had planned a new line on the steepest side facing East/ Northeast side of Singicohkka.
A quite demanding line that would involve some down climbing or probably a rappel.



The weather was with me and I could set off under a sunny sky and perfect temperature, a few minus degrees equipped with crampons, ice axe, 60m rappel rope and some stuff to make anchors with. 
A pretty easy skinning took me quickly up to Vierranvare where, after some trouble to find the right couloir, I could start the descent down my first objective, The "Tryggve Couloir"
A quite steep but short entrance, some 55°, down to a more moderate section in a deep cut couloir of about 25° skiing and 550 vertical meters. At the exit it is probably no problem to just ski it out, with a good amount of snow. But this year I need to traverse out a bit to the left, steeping up with the skis, to a more open field which gave an easy sortir.
Unfortunately the snow pack was re-frozen and hard, except for the entrance. But a cool line indeed!
Well worth a Keb Line!

Next I traversed the valley and started climbing up towards Singicohkka, or Sinnicohkka as it is also called in the Sami langue. I took the ledges and runnels west of "Silverfallet" and could find some easy but slow terrain. I brought 2 axes just in case and that was quite useful a few times.
From the top, 1704, its easy, but a bit scary, to find the start of the line. Looks more or less vertical but slower down once in the terrain.
Approach with local skibums 



Steep exposed no fall skiing to start with. Then I chose to exit the couloir to the left to go more on the north facing side over some nice powder field, which ends in a rock face. 
So, time for a rappel where I could arrange a piton and a sling around an rock. The rappel is about 20-25m, so I just made it on one rappel.
Then its easier terrain, still a bit steep to start with but all safe. Skiing, traversing out more skiers left and then to the bottom of Silverfallet.
An other great line with actually a 1000m vertical descent, not bad!







Keb lines 2022

Vierranvare - Tryggrännan 

Grade 3.1 / S3 / F
Short section of 55°
Equipment
Iceaxe / Crampons useful but not needed

Singicohkka - la Ligne

Grade 5.4 / S6 / TD
Equipment
Iceaxe, crampons, harness, 60m rope ( I used 1x50, 1x30m 6mm ropes)
Extra slings/nuts/pitons for the rappel might be useful
Steep terrain on Sinnicohkka



La Ligne - seen from Laddjuvággi



Middagsvy from STF Kebnekaise

Oct 5, 2021

Aguirre Tour d´Areau - un grand voie sportive

 This is one of the most scenic routes on Tour d´Area, with each and every pitch on a demanding level and which takes, at least mine, full concentration.

With a strong friend on a visit in the valley the response was given when he asked me about some routes that we could try out;

- We Should or must try the legendary Aguirre!

The German movie from 1972 with the same name was directed by Werner HERZOG, maybe relative with the famous Maurice HERZOG who led the great French expedition to the Himalayas and Annapurna in 1950?!

Anyway, long story short, this is what happened:

I had just a few weeks before had done an other route, that one on the 4th tower. Struggling to find the right start in an annoying fog, which turned into rain on the last pitches. Therefore I could only laugh when I was once again surrounded by clouds once up at the upper parts of the trail, just below the last bit up to the base of the towers. But, on the fifth tower the numbers of routes are less, and the start of Aguirre is quite obvious, just to the left of the big crack that splits the tower. If, you just could see the tower it self!?

Erik Massih confused by all the good sign post?!

By pure luck, the clouds made us the day and opened up for a moment while we just tried to wait for exactly that moment. A short spell in the fog and we new the way. 

By starting from Mont Ferron, opposite Magland, we sawed at least 1h walk, each way. The hike via ref. Doran is good if your climbing on the 1-4th tower, but for the 5th and 6th Ferron is a better alternativ.

Our biggest hazard was just that hunting season was ongoing and the numbers of people getting shoot at and actually shoot dead is not a joke in France. Luckily the hunters had already lay down their first Sanglard of the day when we passed in the morning, and then we was safe away high up on the rock face for the rest of the day. Whit all the shooting going on util we descended in the afternoon/evening 😇

Once up at the base of the tower, the fight was on!

Erik Massih on crux pitch, @ 7b


Yepp, its steep

Upper part with the last 3 slab pitches 

The start is very technical and steep, the last three pitches are very technical on slabs and canilurer.


Itinerary

L1 7a Severe departure then beautiful moves over sometimes a drop of water.

L2 7a / b Crosses a little to the right. Easy start then two crossings of bulges which require determination, relay on the right.

L3 7b + Bouldering start on holes, easier section in crack then and magnificent chute. Relay on the left.

L4 6c + Dalleux. Start crossing to the right then a few dancer's steps straight ahead.

L5 7a Very varied. Start in the less popular slab, easier section on scales, technical crossing to the right and groove of 10 m (1 point ...) to exit on a beautiful terrace.

L6 7a A little to the right, start of slab at the end then easier at the end.

Rappels are found by moving upwards and climbers left

Materiel

2x50m rope, lead rope / tail line, 12-14 QD´s


/Scars heals, glory fades...


May 6, 2021

Keblines 2021

  An other weird winter has passed in the Swedish Lapland 

With the accelerating climate change the weather pattern is becoming more and more unpredictable. Well, in one way less unpresidential because one can be quite sure that it will not be as the normal winters as the once I grew up in. With long periods of cold stable weather. Instead its rapidly changing between warm and cold, a lot of precipitation which comes as rain even in mid january. But the biggest issue is the wind factor. Those days with huge snowfalls with big snowflakes that penetrates the air and forms a soft white layer on the ground, these days don't show up too often anymore.

When I look on the pictures and movies from the last winters I find a lot of great skiing, with big powder days. But the amount of stormy days with short movies where people are falling over, loosing balance and close to not being able to handle the equipment because of the strong winds, these days have a big number amount of days as well. That together with the rapid change of temperature makes off piste skiing quite difficult, with unstable snowpack and unpredictable slopes.

Singichokka - Couloir Royale

"Couloir Royale"

As always I spend a reasonable amount of time in the mountains of Kebnekaise each winter season. And my favorit time is April. Usually the snow has stabilized and the biggest avalanches has normally come down. And, the days are getting longer. I had a few lines from last year in mind that I wanted to try out. One is the obvious couloir that descends from Singichokka to the left of the "Last in Line" This is a quite technical route as well, that ends in a vertical section over steep rock, that would definitely need some rappelling. Said and done, I was lucky with a perfect weather spell on my only free day! After a quiet breakfast on a slow monday morning, all the clients from last week had left Sunday lunch and new clients arriving Tuesday afternoon, I had a full day for me and myself. Perfect timing!! With 2 ropes, a 30m and a 50m, in my bag. Some pitons and slings, ice axes and crampons and my new weapon, a Milwaukee, at the bottom of my ski-pack, I was ready to set of. The approach in the valley was easy on hard snow making it easy to move quickly. At the bottom of Singichokka I had seen the best way of getting up to the start of the couloir via the south east side and a bigger formation/couloir that looked easy enough. For sure the quickest way up which would make it easy tio find the descent line. Going up the couloir isn't an option for this one. Climbing the rock section looked enorm and would turn it into something else than this days goal - skiing! 

a close look down the Royale

From the marked trail at the bottom of Singi I started up on skis towards the steeper sections above. After a few hundred vertical meters I had to put my skis on the back and steeped into my crampons. The sun was heating up quite a bit, but the clouds in the morning should have protected the snow in the couloir enough to keep it soft. But now the heat started to make the snow quite heavy on the south side, building up snow under my crampons for every steep. And worse, starting to send down rocks from above which forced me to be really observant and quickly move from side to side when some bigger stones came tumbling down the face. To avoid the worst parts I aimed for a section of steeper snow out left, trying to stay protected from getting avalanched with climbing up as close as possible to the rock face. But at one point the only way was via a few steeps out on a bad looking section of 40° snow. One steep out and there was something as a gun shoot. And all went quiet!! Slowly i took two steeps back in my previous foot steeps, as light as possible. Wow, it stayed! Reversing down the same path I was forced to go up a more narrow couloir on the right instead, taking the risk of rockfalls. The only other option was returning down, and that wasn't an option really.


Some 100 meters in the couloir and I could move out left again climbing over slabs and stones, well protected from avalanches and rockfall. And with my two ice axes I quickly made progress, even though that the snow kept building up under my crampons all the time. Two steeps, cleaning of the snow, two steeps... frustrating!

Finally, I stood on top and the goal of the day showed its entrance. A huge avalanche had come down over the top part, as well as that I could see what looked like an old release edge lower down in the couloir. Which made me feel somewhat better. Now it should be clear, more stable...probably. Arranging the tools in the back pack, putting everything in the right order and range the ropes / tools and harness on. Just sending the picture and position to my wife and I was ready to set off!

The fist section was over a bit of ice, quite steep to start with. But after i could ski into a part of lower angle and stable snow. A few deep breaths before sending into the couloir itself, trying to stay protected closer to the rocks and making as light as possible turns to get a feeling of the stability. And it soon turned out that the cloud covered sky in the morning had kept the snow soft and protected from the direct sun ray. So no crust and a little dust, actually quite a lot on top. 

As I had seen from below the line got steeper and steeper and I could see the cutting edge from an old avalanche that had broken off from the second part of the couloir. Some 40cm fraction line. Speeding up the lower part I safely arrive to the first point of rappel. And quickly decide that the Milwaukee will do the job. A 30m rappel from a single bolt to the next section of skiing, just a short 40m descend to the next rappel point and placing an other bolt before rappelling down a narrow slightly overhanging chimney. Safe down to the exit and the last and relaxing part of the descent out back to the marked trail!!

Niibbás 


An other objective that I was able to ski was just by coincident while passing trough Unna Räita and Unna Reidavaggi. From the summit of Niibbas, 1902mts, there is a few easy accessed lines. One of them is on the north west side from the small glacier that goes up betweenPyramiden and Niibbas. With some extra power in the legs on the way back towards Tarfala we made a quick hike up to the ridge line and found a descent with some variated but enjoyable snow. The way up we scrambled up the same way as the line of the descent, using crampons and an ice axe as support. This couloir is also very obvious but not really easy to see the upper part from the Unna Räita cabin, but once below at the glacier it shows a quite spectacular ride. Well worth doing with a small effort of bootpacking.


Routes 2021

Couloir Royale, 48°/ED1/5:3/S5

Equipment

2 x 30m ropes, harness, crampons, 2 ice axes

In the line of the descent there is 2 bolts places on skiers left at each section of rappel, 20m and then 30m


Niibbas Couloir NW 40° /PD/4:1/S4

Equipment

Crampons, ice axe