Saturday 30 April 2011

More bouldering at Brändön, Luleå

Today I went out bouldering again at Brändön just north of Luleå. My good friend Anders Björken woke me up in the morning and asked me if I wanted to join him and his girlfriend Kajsa for a bouldering session. It was a beautiful day with perfect sending temperatures. Anders and Kajsa are avid climbers with bouldering as their speciality and climbing with them guarantees a good day out in the woods.

Thanks guys for a good day out!

Friday 29 April 2011

In Luleå enjoying home and preparing for exciting times to come…

I have been in Luleå the last few days spending time with mum and dad as well as just enjoying the warm weather, climbing some rock, and of course – getting ready for Alaska. Its getting closer now and today its only one week left before I fly over, and I part from Geneva so there is not much time left at all. Exciting times…

Im going to AK together with good friend Magnus Karstengren and we are planning to spend one month on and around Denali. The objectives… Well they are there, but I prefer to talk when I get back home. For now the big objective is to hang out, not freeze to much, enjoy the mountains and ski and climb a little bit…

Here are some photos from the last few days… 

Luleå main street

Johanna enjoying the sun

Myself bouldering



Dödlarsberget, Norrbottens trad mountain

My friends Carolina Österlund and Anders Nyström in action

Anders Nyström following on the classic Pan

Myself on The Worm

I have only seen snakes a few times in my life, this day I saw 4. 3 of them within 3 minutes. 

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Easter in Finnish Lappland


The last few days I have been in the north of Finnish to celebrate Easter with the family. I had a great time with good food, good company and lots of training. Early every morning I went out with my cousin, who is a member of Finland’s junior national team, and my uncle for race training. After that I usually took a nap before I enjoyed a couple hours of cross-country skiing before it was time for the gym in the evening.

Imagine going up the mountain with the sunrise and skiing perfect snow (this means rock hard when talking racing) in totally empty slopes – at least in my world that is escapism. But the best thing about this ski area is not the skiing down perfect pistes, but the cross-country skiing. In Finland they have not made cross country tracks just for going around a certain distance – no here they have built huts spread out in the wilderness that will stand as goals in them selves for your little excursion. So a long training day includes passing by plenty of these huts and when you have a sugar low you just make a pit stop for a couple of doughnuts and energy drinks.

Of course I had to meet up with the Finnish ski posse for a night at Bar Kaapi, the no1 ski bar in Ylläs. Beer, pastis, good music and cool sincere people hanging out while the Finnish wilderness is resting outside the windows chasing away the darkness making room for the soon to come midnight sun.

Nathalie "lilli" Brännkärr my cousin

The mountain at 7 o clock

Lilli again

Bar Kaapi's co owner Jari Ikkilä in front of a photo of me on the wall, just next to Seth's and Glen's

Great ambiance at Bar Kaapi

And then Queens...

...and hunks at Taiga

The Kalix river on the way home

Kuinartjåkka – a long approach, bad objective, big mountain and a late return

Last week, just before I went to Finland I wanted to have a big day out as a good ending to my visit to the north of Sweden and Norway. One of the few mountains I hadn’t climbed and skied in the area was also one of the most mythic ones – Kuinartjåkka. It’s a rock pyramid just in the middle of the Narvik and Skjomen mountains and is usually made as a two day ski tour from the Lossi huts. I had long a go spotted a line on the north east face that looked skiable and natural and I have ever since always wanted to ski it. Memory can though, as you sure know, remember things much better, nicer, more beautiful etc, as they really are. This I got to recall when I finally reached the mountain after a long approach. The mountain has about 1600 m vertical all and all and a few hours approach and in quality vertical meters it rises 800-900 meters from the lake making the line I had imagined on the north east face quiet something if it would have worked. But, arriving in front of the face I could see it wouldn’t really work out in reality without being contrived so I just kept on going around the mountain to the normal route.

Kuinartjåkka, with my contrived ski line in the center

I climbed this in an ocean of stratugis all the way to the summit ridge where I met a ten meter 70 degree step in sugar snow where I was really glad I have brought two ice axes for the short climb. After this I stood at the top, happy just to be out, by my self in this wonderful location. It felt like a soulful way of ending my stay up in the north.

For the ski down I had no intent what so ever to go near the slopes I climbed up as that would have offered the worst skiing in my life, so I aimed for a fairly contrived line on the east face that was steep and exposed and not really fun to ski, but at least it was more exciting than the way up. I can put a few kronors on that no one had skied it before, but this is probably more due to something else than my skills…

But in the end I got my long day out in the mountains, I felt tired getting back to my car and all in all my experience from trying to ski new lines is that I only succeed with about 25% of my tries. But if they would all go it wouldn’t be an adventure, would it? And I usually don’t like to try on things I know I will succeed.

It was well past Swedish dinnertime when I got back to the car (remember though, we eat dinner much earlier than in south Europe) and it was late when I returned to Björkliden. 

Starting out Nikkitjåkka and Reinartjåkka in the foreground

Passing by skamdal couloir, on of the nicest ski decents in the area

On the approach

And again...

On the summit

The view

again, this time with the ocean far away

Storsteinsfjäll with the storstein couloirs in the foreground. Great skiing on the forth highest mountain in north of Norway... 

Sunday 17 April 2011

Rombakkstötta – Another great ski, this time with the Swedish Dynafit team and Greg Hill…

Yesterday I went out ski touring with the Swedish Dynafit team and their Canadian guest; Greg Hill in the Norwegian mountains close to Narvik. Greg is in Sweden to do slideshows and participate in the Pure Freeride camp in Abisko and he is know specially for his latest feat where he succeeded in climbing and skiing two million feet in one year.

The weather was far from perfect when we left in the morning driving towards Narvik. We where even discussing whether the road would be open or not. But it turned out to be open and we got down to the Rombakk fjord where the wind was blowing hard from the west and the clouds where moving fast over the mountains. Driving past the mountain Rombakkstötta we noticed how well filled in the couloir, named the S, where.  The goal from the start where to do a couloir south west of Narvik, but this one would probably also give us great skiing and much less driving and the clouds further south west looked dark.

So we decided to stop here and walk up this mountain. I enjoyed the fact that I where on a mountain with a fairly big group and I was able to walk as fast as I liked everyone kept up, and much more if they would have wanted… The group was made up by Patrik Nordin, owning the Swedish distributor for Dynafit and an avid ski runner, Mattias Skantz, arguably the Swede who do most peaks per season in Sweden, Greg Hill, Canadas skitouring strong man - and my self.

The ascent went fast and I would like to say that I have never seen so many people on a mountain in Scandinavia as I did this day. The whole freeride camp had chosen to go here so it ended up becoming a really social day out.

Just at the entrance of our planned ski we left our skis and scrambled to the top to give Greg his first Scandinavian summit. After this we dropped in, guest first, in to what turned out to be a great ski. The first 700 vertical meters where powder, then we had 200m of breakable crust ending with 300 meters of slush trough the threes. All and all it was a fantastic ski, in good company in a setting that would stun anyone.

Down at the road we sent away the boss, Patrik, to hitch hike back to the car, then we drove over to a beach with a view of the mountain for some birthday cake and coffee.

Thanks Mattias, Patrik and Greg for a good day out!

Check out:

Greg Hill –

Mattias Skantz – (Swedish only)

Patrik Nordin and Dynafit Sweden on (Swedish only)

(Photo: Mattias Skantz)

Greg and Patrik with the fjord in the background

Some fun scrambling

On the top

Greg Hill dropping in on the S

Greg skiing


and again...

and more..

Me skiing (Photo: Mattias Skantz)

Myself enjoying the good snow (Photo: Mattias Skantz)

Patrik Nordin (Photo: Mattias Skantz)

The mountain seen from the road

Mattias and Patrik

The Gang

Greg in the backseat, breathing Dynafit