Attitude, Latitude, and Altitude,
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Tromsø, Monday June 28, 10:30AM
''Do one thing every day that scares you.''
The 1236-meter high peak gracing the middle of this photograph is Tromsdalstinden. Ten kilometers outside of town, it has been challenging me to climb it since I arrived here. Liz-Iren promised we would scale it before the summer's end, but at Friday night's vorspiel, something posessed me to see if anyone else was interested in giving it a shot the next day.
To give the above photo some perspective, the mountain on the right is the one the cable car climbs. That's where the troll attacked me a few weeks back. You can tell it's somewhere around 300 meters high, as the peak is just above the tree line. That's a Norwegian Navy boat in the foreground, and the Arctic Cathedral across the fjord. Tucked in behind all of this is Tromsdalstinden, one of the larger mountains in the area.
On Saturday, four of the IAESTE trainees decided to take advantage of the beautiful 28-degree temperature and blue skies and accept the Tromsdalstinden challenge. As always, athletic Edmondas was eager to represent Lithuania. Nadia, our resident Maltese falcon, was keen to make the trek. As a member of Malta's national volleyball team, she is also no stranger to a good workout. And this is a perfect time to introduce Karl, a new IAESTE trainee from neighbouring Sweden. Between the four of us, Karl was the only one with any significant mountain climbing experience to speak of, and we were grateful to have someone along with his knowledge and skill.
The trek there and back again took over eight hours, and included some of the most breathtaking Norwegian scenery I have seen. These photographs speak louder than any dialogue I might try to provide, so I'll just airbrush a few thoughts in here and there to let you climb the mountain with us again.
We had a ten kilometer walk ahead of us before we even reached the mountain. The bus took us across the bridge to just past the Arctic Cathedral, and after that it was up to us. This photo is a bit overexposed, but the mountain in the background was our goal.
Beautiful mountain streams like this rushed along the forest trail.
Now I'm sure this is Middle Earth. This is actually called Tromsdalen, where dalen means valley. Tromsdalstinden, then, would mean the peak at Troms valley.
A little further up the mountain, Karl dances on the snow. The four of us had a snowball fight before we continued. It was about 7:00PM at the time, and we were all grateful for the cool interlude in the very warm sun.
A little higher up the mountain we had this beautiful view of Tromsø.
This is at about 500 meters, just before the steep part of the ascent. We didn't climb this rock face, but rather one just to the left of it.
What I've captured here is the end of an avalanche. It is unfortunate that this photo doesn't convey the power or size of what we witnessed, but I was too mesmerized at first to look away from it.
It started much higher up the mountain with a tremendous rumbling. Huge chunks of snow came barreling down, shattering into smaller and smaller bits as they descended. Where we were standing there wasn't any danger, but the trail would have taken us directly under where the avalanche had occurred. We chose instead to take a much steeper path and avoid the dangerous sections of the trail.
This is the view down into the valley from about 700 meters. The smaller section of snow on the upper-right is the one that I photographed Karl standing in before.
Here's looking up at Karl and Edmondas just before we began the hard part. The two of them seemed so unphased by the climb that Nadia and I both became convinced that they are both part mountain goat.
And here's Nadia. The two of us did our best to keep up with the others despite exhaustion. Both of us were working on less than five hours of sleep. We had busted out on the town for a great night at the Strøket, even if it wasn't the most sensible thing to do the night before a climb! Karl had also come out with us, but he had the sense to go to bed the moment we returned to Tunveien.
At this point we'd trekked over 12 kilometers and climbed some 800 meters. It was about 9:00PM and, thanks to all the exercise and the midnight sun, we were still quite warm. There were only a couple of hundred meters to go until the top.
Click here for the conclusion of our trek through snow and rock to the mountain's peak.