Photo: Twilight on the summit ridge of Østhimmeltind (883m), Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 26, 2017. 20:49
Last week I headed up Østhimmel wind for an attempted winter/spring ascent. With the long days from late April onwards, it is possible to begin hikes in mid to late afternoon without too much of a worry about darkness – especially if you know where you’re going. And so we hit the trail around 16:00.
Leaving the road and entering deeper into Mørkdalen the snow got deep and progress became slow as I regularly sank up to my thighs. Though we were in the shadow by now, it was still a relatively warm day. Out route took us up a safe passage, away from any high cliffs over us, as on a regular basis, moderate sized avalanches would come flowing down the steep faces of Himmeltind or Ristind.
Spring is the time of rock and snow fall on Lofoten, so be careful in which routes you choose in the next weeks.
Finally reaching the summit ridge, where the fun part begins, we traded trekking poles for ice axes and crampons. Progress was initially good, almost easier than hiking the route in Autumn, as I had done previously. That is until we ran into a steep section of rotten snow and ice. We searched for a way around, which led to a steep snow gully exiting with a couple of moves on icy rocks. It would have been possible to get up, but getting down could be problematic. And so after hours of effort, we turned around about 30 meters below the summit – where there was absolutely fantastic evening light.
To this point on the hike, I hadn’t even taken a single photo, as we had been in the shade the entire time, too much contrast to the bright blue sky. But as we descended back down to the ridge, the sun low and casting golden light across Ristind and the higher peaks of Lofoten, I saw an interesting composition: A lone figure against the sky.
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8