Josten på langs! Crossing Europe’s largest continental glacier.

Day One

Ready for this journey

“Today was a long and tiring day, which only means this is going to be a long and tiring trip. We began at sea level, and had to work our way up to the glacier. After many hours of walking on foot, we reached snow and could finally unstrap our skis from our bags. However, the snow was scarce and we ended up having to take our skis off and on a number of times. We came to a very steep part and once again took our skis off in order to follow the foot steps made by Jan and Sigrid. Another few hours and we reached Kåpevatnet at 10:00pm. Trying to race the setting sun, we began to set up camp, cook dinner, and boil water. We are now just about finished and are heading into the tent. As it is nearly 1:00am, we are lucky we do not have to be ready until 9:45am tomorrow morning. Cooking group 3G is pretty tired tonight, I don’t think there will be any steamrolling before bed.”


 

Day Two

Day Two

 

“I was Walter White’s new assistant, facing moral conflict and bags of money when I was awoken by the sound of my alarm singing: ‘Hakuna Matata.’ I pulled back the hat that had been covering my face, exposing my eyes to the harsh light of day. I slept well last night. Now that we are four in the tent, we stay plenty warm. I unzipped my sleeping bag to reveal my warm body to the fresh cool air. We began eating breakfast ‘in bed,’ and rejoiced as Øyvind opened the tent door to find blue skies. Once we packed up camp, we began covering ground. We soon arrived at ‘Brattebakkene’ which (rightfully so) translates to ‘Steep Hill.’ We traversed up the 30 degree mountain, keeping at least 10 meters in between one another to avoid the domino effect. This was both physically and mentally exhausting. I only fell 3 times, all of which were on turns. I kind of, maybe, got the hang of turning by the 10th try. Reaching the top felt awesome. The view was great and I no longer had to worry about tumbling down the mountain, unable to stop myself because of the 22 kilo pack on my back.”

“We took a nice lunch break at the top before continuing on our journey. Just a short while later we reached Ståleskaret and set up camp. Since we arrived to camp so early, a group of people went on a ‘topptur’ (summit) trip to Lodalskåpa (2,083 meters above sea level.) Considering my history with descending mountains on fjellski, plus my bum wrist, I stayed back at camp. We built a levegg to block the wind and soaked up the last hours of sun before nightfall. We will begin making dinner soon, and melting snow for drinking water. Tomorrow is supposed to be a long day– 23 kilometers long to be exact.”

 


Day Three

Day Three

“Today was not my favorite day. We went 22 kilometers. The distance wasn’t what made this day hard though. I thought today’s trip was going to be primarily flat, but we still managed to gain elevation, which meant we had to then lose elevation. As I have said many times, I suck at going down on these twiggy skis. I kept my skins on the bottom of my skis the whole time, which meant I had to walk a lot more than other people who were actually skiing on their skis… but it was worth it. On the last hill before camp I decided to think of all of the ways I can describe how much I hate fjellski:

‘I hate going down on fjellski as much as Norwegian’s love brown cheese.’

‘I hate going down on fjellski as much as Norwegians love to use the word ‘koselig’

‘I hate going down on fjellski as much as Michael Stratton loves math.’

‘I hate going down on fjellski as much as Janie Therese loves to talk about snow.’

…I could go on forever.

Well anyways, per-usual, we set up camp, made dinner, and boiled water; however, this evening we also had an evening gathering. Naturally, sitting by Margit and Janie resulted in lots of laughter, even during our ‘silent reflective minutes.’ Whoops.

I hope we get into the tent soon. I am going to need a nice night’s sleep in order to wake up tomorrow ready for day four.”


Day Four

Day Four

“Last night was great. øyvind, Margit and I steamrolled* for the first time this trip. We also came up with a jingle for our crazy cake commercial. Perhaps we should have just gone to bed earlier though. I woke up this morning exhausted. My blisters are raging but I am just trying to ignore them– only two more days left until I can properly tend to my feet. The trick for today is to get to camp before the forecasted 15 meter per second winds set in. I sure hope that happens– setting up a tent with that much wind will probably turn into unplanned and impromptu kiting.”

*Steamrolling: The act of zipping yourself up into your sleeping bag, like a worm, and rolling over the people next to you until you return to your original place.


Day Five

Day Five, the end of the journey!

The last day went better than I expected– that being said, I had expected it to be completely and totally horrible. We left our camp which sat at 1,622 meters above sea level and began our way down… all the way down. The decent off of the glacier was not too bad. When Sigrid asked me if I was having fun I told her “I don’t completely hate it.” However, once we were off the glacier we ran into some pretty steep parts. I stayed upright more than I had thought I would, but I still fell, a lot. Just 5 minutes away from where we took our skis off and continued on foot, I had a semi-traumatic moment. I was traversing along the side of a hill and slipped in the (horribly slushy) snow. Somehow I managed to flip around so that I was laying on my back facing the opposite direction I was going. The bad part: my right leg was twisted 200 degrees around, still connected to my ski which I was inconveniently laying on. I was most definitely stuck. Thale was the only person around, and by the look on her face, she was freaking out. I was trying to tell her that I was fine, although my leg looked like it should have been broken. After we couldn’t get my ski off, I had to unhook my backpack and roll onto my stomach in order to untwist my knee that was becoming more and more painful. Thinking back on that moment makes me realize how lucky I am– everything in my knee should have snapped. Thank god for those rubber-bands I have for ligaments, am I right?

I can’t say I was in the best mood after that. We still had an hour and a half of walking to do down the mountain on foot. As I walked alone and couldn’t see anyone in the front or back of me, I had time to think. I thought about how I have had many athletic accomplishments in my life, but these past five days have truly tested my capabilities. There is no way to accurately describe how it feels to complete these types of trips. Nothing compares to seeing the road at the end of the mountain, where people were gathered to meet the bus. Although I managed to stay on my feet, it felt like I was crawling through the finish line.

This trip was one of the best this year. A HUGE thank you to Tore, Janie, Jan, Sigrid, and Steinar for everything they did to prepare for the 5 days, and to ensure we had an awesome time. For those of you interested in seeing our journey, these maps outline the general route we took.

Stay tuned for my Josten På Langs movie. 🙂

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s