"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Friday, 4 March 2011

Snowy day in Kafjord

During our first climb of this trip we'd spotted a promising-looking icefall in a canyon on the north side of the Kafjord valley. Today we decided to have a closer look.
It was snowing gently on the drive up. The forecast was for snow all day, but there hadn't appeared to be snow slope above the icefall, so we weren't too worried about avalanche.

The approach climb up the canyon to the foot of the icefall turned out to be at a good angle for shedding snow, though. Nonetheless we still weren't too concerned as the recent weather hadn't been conducive to layering, and it felt stable under our snowshoes.

It wasn't clear which of two ice lines on the right side of the canyon we should take. We decided to try the lower one and Nick set off on the lead. Almost as soon as he'd started climbing it began snowing very heavily. Together with the spindrift blown off by gusts of wind the conditions were becoming truly "Scottish". Nick had to contend with a good bout of Hot Aches as blood started to circulate in his cold hands. After 45 minutes of trying to see Nick through the snow, quite a lot of freshly fallen snow slid past me down the canyon. The game was now off. Nick abseiled down, and we ran away. Again.

A good 6 inches of snow had fallen during our time in the canyon, and by the time we reached its mouth, we found ourselves in Narnia. Magical.
On reaching the car a half hour later there were ten inches of snow on its roof.

That should have been the end of this blog post. It isn't because on the way back to the main road I managed to drive off the road into 12 inches snow. I tried to reverse out but the wheels just spun. Nick applied the shovel but that didn't work either. Just as we were scratching our heads, along came a tractor. We flagged it down and the kind Norwegian driver attached a chain and dragged the car out in a jiffy. Nick videoed the scene before handing me the camera saying, kindly, "that has to go on the blog."

On the drive home I said "Well, at least since I'm doing the blogging I can give the incident some spin", I said. Nick said, "You'll have difficulty spinning that."

He's right too. In the video you can clearly see the red roadside marker pole that I missed before driving off the road.

Kafjord 2nd visit from Jim on Vimeo.

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