LOFOTEN: A NEW KIND OF MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE
My friends and I traveled to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway with the hope of experiencing a new kind of mountain adventure, one where time just stops. In this story I want to tell you about spending nights on the rocks, to sleeping in a bivouac on the seashore – these activities perfectly sum up the spirit of our summer in Lofoten.
The climate in Lofoten was similar to our mountain back home, so it was not difficult to adapt. However, with the midnight sun our days and excursions went longer and later, so we were always exhausted by the time our heads hit the pillow. A mountain that immediately transmitted its wild and vertical spirit to us was the Kitinden; a steep peak located on the island of Moskenesøya. This mountain is one of the last of the archipelago, whose summit can be reached via a hike that is not trivial at all and not entirely marked (which makes it necessary to use GPS and cartography).
High altitude is not a characteristic of these peaks, but we did experience exposed passages, grassy valleys that quickly plunge into the ocean, breathtaking ridges and unmarked paths. The local inhabitants told us that the Kitinden, given its wild nature, is little known and not visited by many. As a matter of fact, in the summit book there were only two signatures before ours!
We started from the sea, where we bivouacked. Like all mountains at the Lofoten, there are not many plateaus and almost all starting points are on narrow roads by the sea. In the morning we had a good breakfast and then "backpacks on our shoulders, up we go!". The weather was not the best, it was cloudy but the clouds were higher than the mountains. After only a few hundred meters of hiking, we were met by our first grassy slope that presented us with a magnificent view towards the North Pole. This fact of being so close to the pole was exciting for us. From this point on, the landscape began to change significantly. The Lofoten islands that we used to look at from below, started to make sense. Sharp spiers, narrow ridges, snowfields, very steep canals — in that moment we began to experience their real essence.
As we hiked on, the mountain became more rocky and the temperature became colder. We passed into a shaded plain that suddenly made us feel like it was winter. There was a small glacier with its drainage lake, all in the middle of an area full of large dark granite boulders. Across this plain, we faced a series of exposed passages, until we found a ridge that quickly brought us to the summit. On the top, there was an “Inukshuk”; the classic pile of rocks that is a directional marker, which solidified that we made it to the summit. We stood on a small ridge with exposed rocks all around us. We were only 800 meters above the shore from where we started, but the view was already astonishing. The panorama was one of those we weren't used to, it was unusual to see these huge mountains raising out of the ocean. It was as if we had taken a step back in time, when our mountains as the Alps emerged from the sea, creating what would have been islands. We lingered on the summit for more than an hour, as we wanted to enjoy the scene for as long as we could. When the time came for us to descend, we decided to take a detour. We tried to cross a narrow ridge, and we tried to explore a mysterious valley that led to a large fork. Our enthusiasm was as high as the amazement that we felt that day: we were feeling alive. Back at the start, we were ecstatic because we had just experienced Lofoten. We will be back sooner than later - maybe in the winter because it must be even more fascinating or simply different.