When is the best time of year to go to the mountain? I should say -anytime.
Here follows the description of all seasons of the mountains and what advantages and disadvantages.
January, normally this is the cold mounth. This time you will be almost alone. Few have discover the icy world with the blue light. The first snow cover the ground, and now you can start look into the base layer of the snow for the upcoming winter season. But you have to plan good, the daylight is short and it will be dark early.
(Kittelfjall in January Photo Ulf Bergman)
February, at this time the enthusiasts have starting to appear. But still not crowded anywere. Do a real good planning and got a bit of luck, you can be skiing in the moon light. Still a bit short day and long nights but you can get really good skiing.
March, now everyone is going to ski. Now it will be queues both on the roads as well to get to the cable cars. But now the light help us up and its much easier to plan the days. With a bit of thinking out of the box, you can find your own spot for a playground. With more people and a sun that can warm up, you have to be even more aware of the avalanche risk.
I will continue next week with April, May and June.
Today I will give you antother suggestion of mountain reading. Bernhard Nordh In the shadow of the March mountain(Sv. I marsfjällets skugga), is a book about a sattler in the mid of 1800 . With a challnge from both the samis and the locals they live a really hard life in the outskirt. In this book we can follow there life. I Marsfjällets skugga – Bernhard Nordh – Häftad (9789174636727) | Bokus
Fjallraven has some new apparel coming up for this season. The Abisko lite trekking jacket is a good solution. For you who likw speed hiking this will be the choice. This is a comfortable jacket for summer hiking in warm conditions. Made from G-1000 Lite Eco with back and side panels in stretch fabric for good ventilation and freedom of movement. You can also open ventilation zippers in the sides to release excess heat on intense treks. Adjustable hood and hand pockets that are accessible even when you have a backpack on.
The seventh of March. The spring winter is here, and it is just to enjoy it. With a ski weekend ahead and a mountain tour to Helags in a month life is so good.
Today I will present a new acquaintance. Aksel Lindstrom was born in Rossbol, Lockne. In his twenties he moved to USA, and after a couple of years he went back to Jamtland. Here he took the jamtdogs side, and saved the breed from disaperaring toward the grey dog. He founded the ski factory Kalevala at Aspas in Jamtland. In 1936 Aksel moved to Storlien. His mission here was to lead the mountain rescue with his dog team. With his experience from Alaska this duty suit him perfect. He had himself nearly died in a snowstorm in Alaska, but was rescued by a friend, who thanks to the dog team found him where he was ready to die in the Arctic snowstorm.This experience would now come in hand. With a good agreement with the manager of Storlien Hotel, this included the responible for mountain rescue during the winter and painting during the summer. But the manager died in a sudden and was replaced of a ex officer. Aksel didnt like the militair and become enemies. The ex officer forbade aksel to have dinner together with the guests,but the worst was that his paintings was sold to lowest bid.
Now Aksel decided to quit, and stared to write a book about the event. But as luckily some of his friend stopped it. At that time he could have been acused for defamation, a crime that has cost him a couple of year in jail. Whatever he continued to write and 12 novels. The Beast (Sv. Vilddjuret) is the book that describes the Storlien period of Aksels life. And I found a part that suites the time when we train the first IML:s of Sweden.
The main charachter in the book is Guttorm, a young sami.
Now Guttorm is about to become a real mountain leader. Ten men from different parts of Sweden is gathered at Kodbas for a two week training of the art of leading tourist trough the dangers of the mountains. Guttorm will be the eleveth participant. He has got the oppertunity due ti the Barons good will. Two weeks is a short time to catch up with something so extensive, and the trainer Leopold Froststierna is lonly to train the group. Leopold assumes all the participant has a good experience from mountain experience and all needed equipment. But as he says; it is not enaugh to now the name of the equipment and what it should be used for. You also must know its soul. Slowly he takes a ski in his hand. -this is a ski with a attached binding he begins. For a mountain leader the ski is the most important equipment during the winter, and which you all must know everything about. He keep on by lifting the ski in all parts, even tough it is whole piece of wood. He explain that the front is called the brattet, which is suitably built to glide easily on the snow. The course also contained the knowledge of how to build snow biouvaqes. A very important part of the mountain safety that a mountain leader must master fully.
The spring winter is here, and the sun rise early in the morning. The husky wake me up early for his walk. The morning is crisp and the sun are on its way up. I really enjoy this mornings. My whole being starting to live and the mind starts up its adventures.
One of the trails that is interesting will be the one from Kolasen towards Anjan in Skackerfjallen, Jamtland. If you going straight ahead the distans will be 34km. The first part of the trail will be hiking in untouched, wild and lonely trails. In this area you really need to have good skills in navigation. A map and compass is a must. I will also recomend, a deteur to the peak of Sockertoppen. Here you can also use the windshelter if needed. Also take a hike through Strydalen and rest your eyes on Strynån and fantastic waterfalls.If there is stormy weather, there is also a windshelter.When you feel for it turn your head towards Anjans mountain station. Here you can enjoy a nice meal and then get help with the transport back to Kolasen.
When it comes to good equipment the slope angel could be a good choice. With thermometer and clinometer and alitmeter, you got all in one for being able to calculate and forecast a avlanche area.
As you could read at 3 of January, every month there will be a longer blog. In January it was about leadership, and today (February) it will be about avalanches.
To begin with, this area from my perspective can be devided into two parts: How to avoid avalanches at all (without enter avalanche areas and the other; be and ski/climb etc. in areas with avlanche risk but avioding them. For the first part, you need to understand in which area avalanches can appear, and learn how to avoid the areas. In the second case, you need to be much more skilled.
To understand avalanches you need three parts. A human, snow and terrain. A avalanche is collapsing snow masses down a slope. Avalanches can be devided into four diffrent types. Slab avalanche which is the one that causes 99% of the avalanche accidents. It contains of many different layers, and it is when the layer collaps the avlanche starts. Its like a domino effect. The insidious with this type of avlanche is that you dont need to be where the fracure edge is located for starting the avlanche. With a area of 10x10m with a fracture edge of 30cm will enter up with 90 cubic meters. With a speed of up to 50m/s it will be a real danger for a human. How can a slab avalanche start? It can be trigged in two ways. First by increasing of the weight of the snow. This can be triggered by human or natural. The other way is the layer get weak until it breakes of its ow weight. The second type will be the loose snow avalanche. Often you are above of the avalanche or can ski out from the cone. The Wet snow avalanche will be the third, and this one often appears in the spring. This can be compared to a torrent. The forth will be haning drift. This one is treacherous, due to it is hard to see. It appear whens now drifts and the temperature increase.
If you are in avalanche area you always shall bring: Transcivier, probe and shovel. While skiing you also should carry a backback with air bag. What is important to know that time is the most important thing while rescue avalanche victims. Within 15 minutes, you have good chances to survial a avalanche.
This is why it is so important to train the transcivier search. If I should go skiing with a team, I really should secure the teams ability to use all of the avlanche equipment. Not just wearing it. So be on the safe side. Do the group check, and control that all the members of the team now what to do when a avalanche appear…
Also a lot of new gear and others help us to be more safe. Checking thr avalanches prognosis will be a good help.
A fantastic week in Bydalen and Fjallhalsen, Jamtland.(Photo Ulf Bergman)
What is the diffrence between summer and winter guiding? Well the most important thing will be that a small failure can lead to a big disater during the winter…
Friday, we started with train the trainers (practical)and started the planning of the week. Saturday and Sunday we continued the planning. Sunday evening it was time for the first lesson for the week. The included: leadership, safety, navigation, Ice axe technique, snowshoe technique, avalanche safety, rope technique, snow shelter. So it was a really full week. Practical work combined with lessons. The week ended up in a ”mini” expedition with overnighting in snow shelters.
Snowshoeing technique…(photo U Bergman)
Navigation at winter got its demands…(photo Ulf Bergman)
Digging snow shelters (dont forget to mark the place so a snowmoble cross your roof)(photo Ulf Bergman)
Is there difference between winter and summer leadership?(photo Ulf Bergman)
Avalanche safety must be trained and trained again…(photo Ulf Bergman)
So after 60 hours of training what is the conclusion? Well, first of all I am so thankful for being a part of this process. On one hand beeing a instructor and on the other hand learning process over the whole time. One other thing is small thing matters. Dont forget to check and control your participants, it is easy to miss if someone missing a thing or getting a frostbite. Being prepared means you have to practice and practice again. So tigh the knots, digging the shelter as often as you can. Use the transcivier, and the probe so you feel comfortable…And beeing in the mountain environment is so nice, so energyzing even if its tough hours:-).
This day the focus at the IML training was safety on steep ground. As usual the day started with a safety brief and a transcivier control. Then it was time for moving out for some supporting and confidence at steep ground follwed with Ice Axe technique and rope tecnique. Tomorrow morning we will be out for a ”mini epedition” so next report will be on Sunday..
Today we been working with snowshoe tecnique and also skill training in avalanche rescue. So first a workshop about moving with snowshoes, plan, upphills, downhills and traversing. Diffrent type of snowshoes and for what type of activity they can be used…
Next step was lunch and preparing for the avalanche workshop. Here it was to secure the knowledge of how to use a transcivier and find a victim under the snow. The Second was tecnique for probeing. The third station was about how to use shovel tecnique.
At the end it was time to look at snow layers and understand how it can affect us…
Saturday morning. Tomorrow it is time for the Winter training of the International Mountain Leader training. It is time to prepare and buiding up the schedule and lessons. One day with avalanche lessons practial as well as theoretical. Then one day with step ground lessons with different techniques. Next step will be to do a overnight in snow shelter and test all knowledge that has been learned. I think we all, instructors as well as the participants are excited to be on track with teh course. I will updated dring the course/training this week, so keep you brewser and eyes open:-).
Matt Clifford-Larsen planning the IML Winter-training in Bydalen.
Snowshoeing is one of the ”odd” parts of the course…
Matt Clifford-Larsen and Markus Nyman snowshoeing towards Droomen for planning the IML Winter training.
When it comes to gear, I will present a new type of binding from Rottefella for cross-country Nordic ski. At last someone have come up with a pin solution. Look at this, and think if its something that would be a alternative for you?
It is a interesting solution.
I also think we should pay attention on that is is the Sami national day the 6th of February (yesterday)
So it is the last trembling day of January, and today I got three topics for the blog; The Sami’s, news about the Djatlov expedition and about books.
So lets start with the situation for the Sami’s, The government is situational in Stockholm and to be honest they don’t got the whole picture over how the situation is for the Sami people. In the northern part of Sweden they still get called ”Lappjävel” The Gijras verdict has also affected the relation between Sami’s and the locals. And still the Sami’s is treated different. If a reindeer is killed, it is treated as theft, but if you kills a bear or a mousse which is owned by the government it is treated as hunting crime, a crime that can lead to imprisonment and not just a fine.
It has come same news about the Djatlov expedition and what’s really happened to the participants. What nameless horror made the nine expedition participants flee their tent in horror? Now two Swiss researchers present a new explanation of the reason. A micro avalanche a so called ”snow slab” hit the tent. It is not the first time a avalanche is pointed out as the reason of the disaster, but due to the low degree of the slope it has been questioned. The slab avalanche, according to the Swiss researchers, was triggered by the skiers digging a shelf on the hillside where they then pitched their tent. e meter-high snow bank above the tent was unstable.Strong gusts, so-called katabatic winds, drove more snow.Finally, the top layer of snow dropped and slid down over the tent.According to the researchers, the fact that the skiers were so badly injured by the relatively small amount of snow can be explained by the fact that they were inside their tent and squeezed under the snow, instead of being dragged along as is usually done in an avalanche. Well the end of this story is not tolled yet. The archeologists Richard Holmgren who has been in the area 2019, means that it is a interesting thesis but he means that it was the hard winds, katabatic winds which was the real reason to the catastrophe. But the last word is not yet said about all of this…
When it comes to books I will recommend three different today. To start with I really will recommend Gunnel Lundholms ”Fjäll i akvarell” nice histories and so nice water couleur paintings.
The next will be Andy Cunningham and Allen Fyffe’s ”Winterskills” here you got all you need to know about, winter navigation, clothing ice axes etc. well invest money for the winter adventurer.
The third one will be I might be wrong by Bjorn Natthiko Lindeblad. A book about what life is all about. Seventeen years as a forest monk he tells is story and his relation and his approach to the life it self. Well invested time to read this i will promise.
The last suggestion today will be the Sami Anna-Helen Laestadius book ”Stöld” here you can read about the nine year old Elsa who will witness when a men kill one of her reindeer. Elsa is carrying a reindeers ear in her pocket to remind here about her origin and justice…
I started my journey when I was five-six year. With ski and skating shool and bonfire weekends with my parents. As fourteen years old most of my classmates went to the school disco. We went out for winter camping. At the same time i started competing in cycling. That hardened my mind, which have been good for my outdoor adventure. During my period in the service I got more interested in moving borders and challenge myself. At this time i didn’t know that I was becoming to be a mountain leader. But later on it become clearer and clearer. At one of my lecture one of the participant asked me if I got the pin? What pin I replied, the tour guide pin she answered. Well, I’m been to the Swedish mountains for over thirty years, ten as a guide. I’ve been to Argentina as expedition leader, but now, I dont got the guide pin i replied. At a visit at the Helags cabin a company of officers was there. I recognized one of them, and talked with them for a while. It showed up that they were tour guide (with the pin) One of them took command over the cabin Ostan. He ordered everyone to check the pot with boiling water. The pot must be full with water and it must boil. The steam was dense in the cabin, and the other guest has fled the cabin. So ok, I need to boil more water to get the guide pin…Today I think I am very close to get that pin. But to be more serious, you will never ever become fully-trained. As soon fifty-six years old, I am still learning. At the moment a lot about avalanches and skiing and winter skills. But hopefully I will get the pin soon. But what I have learned on the journey is the jurney is the way to knowledge, and always be curious then you might find that needle(pin) in the haystack…(Today I am a part of the IML training team of Sweden, so with a lot of pots on the stove with boiling water I soon will be there…)
And now over to something complete different. A new challenge has been brought up. Linnea and her sister Erika Nilsson-Waara has come up with two different challenges. The first is to ski the Kungsledenrannet(80km) + Are 900 hillclimb (cycling)and at last the Idre artic mountain marathon(45km) The second will be the Mountain peak classic. Here you have to reach the highest peak in all of our four mountain counties. The Kebnekaise, Storsylen, Helags and at last Storvattehogna. All fours within 12 months. Are you ready, just go for it…