Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bjøberg Renna and the Bat Cave

Haven't posted in a while, so I'll start a few weeks back and then catch up. I was really sick the week after easter and missed three days of work. But when Gregers called me midweek and asked if I was game for Hemsedal I managed to cough up a phlegmy 'uh, okay' before passing out again. Ane provided me with some illegally imported, heavy-duty-American-drugs on Friday (i.e. Nyquil/Dayquil; Norwegians are prudes) and I was set. Pop the green ones at night, the red ones in the morning and you're ready for most anything.

Conditions were a lot more springy since the days are getting so long, and we opted for touring both days. Saturday we decided to go up and ski Bjøberg Renna (=couloir) which was near the tour we did a couple of weeks before. We got a late start and the snow had become freakishly soft, but we managed a combination of skiing and steep postholing up the couloir. I was coughing up some pretty fancy stuff by the time we got to the top though, so we decided to just ski the thing and skip the summit.
In between coughing fits on the way up.

Gregers skiing down.

On Sunday I was feeling quite a bit more lively and we decided to go for a really cool one that we have been staring/drooling at all winter. It's called the 'Bat Cave' and is a crazy narrow, crooked, several hundred foot long, 50 degree couloir that you can see from the 'trailer park' where Gregers has his camping wagon. It's sexy. From below it doesn't even look possible to climb--just a hockey-stick-shaped crack in the cliff--but the guidebook said it was skiable so we decided to go check it out. So we skied up through the woods, crossing several sets of moose tracks and then finding our way to the base.

We climbed up Batcave on the left and skied down the one on the right.


We traded our skis for crampons/ice axe and started up. It was a pretty cool feeling to climb up such a tight couloir, with the tall cliff sides and narrow band of snow. At the bottom we were also getting really excited about skiing the thing. Conditions were hard and frozen, but not too icy and it felt like we could get an edge in with the skis. But as we made it up to the middle we had to rethink our plan, since there had been water flowing over the snow and the middle/upper parts had a few millimeters of water ice glaze over the hard snow. Not good, since any fall could quickly become disasterous as you accelerated on the ice layer. Oh, and the runout was long and do to the crooked shape of the couloir, a little 'bumpy'. Anyway, the real deal breaker for skiing down came a little bit higher. Right at the Steepest part, above the worst run out, the 'snow' narrowed to a 4-foot-wide pile of solid water ice from some water dripping off the sides. We just laughed and said F.T.S.


We climbed over ice and the rest of the way to the top, where we popped out on a flat rock in the sun. Fancy. Ate lunch there and watched two skiers come down a steep face above us. It was in the sun and looked really nice and soft, so we decided to ski around the back side to the summit and then drop it on the way down. Turned out to be lovely, with smooth Spring corn and some fun features to play on. To get back down we skied the next couloir over from Bat Cave, which was tamer (low-mid 40's?) and with a safer runout. The snow was hard there too but it didn't have any water ice over it and was enjoyable, if a bit loud, to ski.

Hey, let's go up there... Skied next to the left edge at the top and then traversed over to play with the little cornice...
Lovely Corn.

Clear for landing?

Nope. hahahaha

5 comments:

Scott Pendleton said...

Back-posting is totally cheating, dude.

SCANDAVID said...

yeah but i didn't want to post before i got pictures...

i skipped two weekends though and now i'm current :-)

Scott Pendleton said...

Looks fun. Just when I thought I was emotionally finished with the end of ski season...

SCANDAVID said...

it's not over yet, it's just more work...

Scott Pendleton said...

Believe you me, it's over here.