Friday, August 19, 2011

Trip report: Rondane - Day 2

Bagging Storronden

View Rondane 2011 - Day 2 in a larger map

Distance: 8.43 km
Ascent: 932 m
Shortest time between lightning and thunder: 1 second

We woke up to a light patter of rain on the fly and promptly went back to sleep. Half an hour later we woke up again to the quiet of a clearing sky. After going through the rituals of the morning, we had a breakfast of Real Turmat Frokostblanding for me and Solgryn frokost for Lande. We had one of each for each of us and after having tasted Lande's breakfast I wasn't looking forward to that. The Frokostblanding was actually very nice and I'd definitely order that again.

(On the subject of morning ablutions I find it an entertaining concept. Because there's virtually no soil to dig in you can't really make a cat hole. What you do instead is to look for an undisturbed stone (very important as you'll know or find out), then lift it away which should leave a nice cavity to do your business in. Afterwards you put the stone back on top of your mess, making sure that the stone appears "disturbed".)

After sorting ourselves out and packing Lande's pack with all our warm clothing and a small lunch we started heading up the slope towards Storronden.

Looking north towards Svartnuten from the lower slope of Storronden

The climb was mostly rather uneventful. As we were walking up the slope, stepping from stone to stone, the peak kept being veiled in low clouds, but as we kept getting closer it seemed as if the fog rolled back before us. Lande kept being frustrated by false tops, probably not helped by me lying through my teeth to her that, "this is the one for sure!"

Looking south along Storula stream from the middle of the slope of Storronden

As we gained the top there were only three Polish guys there before us, and the last remains of clouds obscuring the top went away to bother some other peaks. The back side of the peak falls deliciously, stomach twisting, away in front of you as you step up to the edge.

That's a pretty big cairn in the background
Looking down the east side of Storronden

As there was a bit of a breeze blowing over the bare skull of the peak we wrapped ourselves in all our warm clothing, hunkered down behind a small outcrop and tucked into our meager lunch of 1 Snickers bar, some GORP, a bit of beef jerky and water. Not exactly a celebratory meal but it filled a hole.

A short rest on the top

We chose not to hang around too long and as the clouds were moving back in we started heading down the slope again. As we noticed a few drops of rain we stowed the Rab Microlight vests and pulled out our rain pants, wise from last nights downpour. We were glad we did as within a few minutes it was coming down in buckets, then switching to hail, before going back to a drenching combined with lightning and thunder. The lightning was pretty close, I believe it was only a second between lightning and thunder at one point making it only about 300 meters away!

On our way down we passed several groups of people going up. One very fit looking couple in shorts, I imagine they didn't hang around up there... We passed one guy hunkering down behind an outcropping while the lightning was going on, he did not look very happy.

The trip down was amazingly quick and I quite enjoyed it despite the miserable weather. I had amazing grip with my Trail Gloves, they were like glue on the stone. I can't actually imagine having better grip and they really allowed me to bounce from stone to stone like I was born with a lot more balance than I seem to exhibit in my daily life. The LT4 poles also dug in, slipping only occasionally as I guess will happen with steel (tungsten carbide) on stone.

We were back at the tent pretty early and had an absolutely lovely meal of Fuizion Chicken Jalfrezi  for me and Beef and Ale stew for Lande. The meals were really packed with flavor, however I do think the meals could have re-hydrated better despite probably leaving them for longer than it says on the pack and stirring several times. We were also using pouch cozies from AntiGravityGear which I think were brilliant and fit both the RT and Fuizion pouches just fine. I cooked in the porch of the Scarp as it was still raining, still a bit nervous about burning down the tent as i was using meths stove (Caldera Sidewinder) and this was the first time I was cooking in the tent. I used a tent peg to peg back the floor to give myself more room and it actually went very well. Unfortunately I had to let the water boil for a while as I couldn't take the pot of the stove without getting a long intimidating flame coming off the stove...

Cooking in the porch

After emptying the last of the battery on my phone playing solitaire and watching it turn itself on and off, I started playing with the tension of the tent, turning it a bit into a trampoline and finally figuring out how to set the ventilation on the end panels. I have to say that with the amount of tension I can get on this tent if the ground is good enough to hold the pegs properly I wouldn't take the crossing poles unless I knew it was going to get very stormy, or the ground would be very loose. Snow and sand comes to mind.

We ended up going to sleep quite early as we got fed up with fighting over our one book. Note to self; bring two books and a game next time. Sleep did not find us so easily this night however as the heavy rain exposed a seam that was not sealed properly in the middle crossing pole hook-in right above Lande's head. It was only when it was coming down the heaviest a drop would be forced through, but it got me nervous as the drops would come down on her down sleeping bag right around her head. Visions of collapsed down and torn fly haunted my dreams. Lande only shrugged saying; "It's not so bad", and shunted over to my side.

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