Friday, February 28, 2014

Glacier Course with Telemark University College

24. - 31 August 2013
Bøver- and Smørstabbrean in Jotunheimen Mountains, Norway

At the beginning of the second year at Telemark University College, all Outdoor Living students are required to participate in a 7-day glacier course in the mountains of Norway.  We took an 8 hour bus ride from Bø, Telemark to Smørstabbrean which is located in the Jotunheimen mountains in Oppland.

Part of the course included learning about the flora and fauna native to the alpine areas of Norway.  We also collected edible plants which we cooked up to sample.  Some were definitely better than others!

An important part of the course is to learn proper route finding in blue ice and improvised crevasse rescues on both ice and snow.  We couldn´t have asked for better weather, which provided plenty of time to practice the different skill sets necessary for safer glacier travel.

A day was set aside at the end of the course to climb one of the surrounding peaks.  Each person could choose from amongst several trips based on skill level and desire.  I lead the hardest of the climbs to the summit of Store Bjørn (Big Bear).  We headed out from base camp early in the morning and started up Bøverbreen.  Bøverbreen lead us up to Smørstabbrean and the base of Store Bjørn.  From here we had to climb through some loose rock to reach Bjørnebreen.  The summit was just a short distance from the saddle above Smørstabbreen.  We had to climb some steep snow and ice to reach the summit.  The descent back to base camp provided great views of Jotunheimen National Park from Bjørneskardet.  Bjørneskardet lead us to Leirbreen and Bøverbreen, giving a much easier return to camp.

Approaching basecamp

We made food using plants that can be found in alpine areas

Different plants that grow in the alpine environs of Norway

 Bøverbreen has an amazing view of Fanaråki

 The crevasses of blue glacier ice always inspire me

Practicing improvised rescues using the z-pulley

Bit of loose rock between Smørstabbreen and Bjørnebreen

Fun lead up to the summit of Store Bjørn

Overlooking Jotunheimen National Park 

Looking back at Store Bjørn

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