I have made a discovery. My own selfishness tells me to keep quiet about it so make sure you don't tell anyone. It can be our little secret: Norway...sshhhhh

The Norway Diaries are my mini guide/diary to a selection of great mountaineering days out on skis in the mountains of Lyngen, Kvaløya and Lofoten; alpine playgrounds right up in the Arctic Circle. Think of the Isle of Skye on steroids with snow down to the sea, full of tall, beautiful blonde people with Viking names. The light is pale silver one minute and dark gunmetal the next and there is contentment amongst the people which I guess is what happens when you have 24 hour daylight, a fat pair of skis and a few thousand acres of untracked powder on your doorstep.

Part 2: The Island of Kvaløya

Part two of the Norway Diary is Kvaløya. This lovely little island really punches above it's weight and is handy if you are staying near Tromsø.

The south face of Storstolpan

We chose a peak called Storstolpan, 974m, and skied up from the south side. It is a popular peak with the locals and gives incredible views. It is a straightforward skin up with a short avalanche-threatened traverse, at the base of the main slope. With the exception of the final 100m to the summit the remainder is steady and non-technical. This final section is on foot and you could leave skis below this if you don’t fancy exposed steeper skiing.

From the narrow summit you can peer down the huge granite walls of the north face and plan your summer rock new-routing trip. The ski descent from the summit down the south side gives a section of 45° down a choice of narrow gullies, followed by much whooping and hollering as you tear down the lower 30-35° creamy snowfields. We couldn't resist skinning back up and going again! There is an awesome boutique cafe on a snowy jetty in Kvaløya, which we were forced to stop at on the way home and inspect (purely for research purposes of course).

Outside on the beach we got chatting to two local women who were loading their sea kayaks with skis, ice axes, camping kit and food, heading for a weekend in the wilds in their secret powder stash. I had never really fancied sea kayaking until that point, now I understand the appeal completely.

[caption id="attachment_6218" align="aligncenter" width="429"]Refreshing swim in the Arctic Ocean? You have got to be kidding! Refreshing swim in the Arctic Ocean? You have got to be kidding![/caption]

Leanne Callaghan

(Photos ©Leanne Callaghan & Hilda Grooters)

I have made a discovery. My own selfishness tells me to keep quiet about it so make sure you don't tell anyone. It can be our little secret: Norway...sshhhhh

The Norway Diaries are my mini guide/diary to a selection of great mountaineering days out on skis in the mountains of Lyngen, Kvaløya and Lofoten; alpine playgrounds right up in the Arctic Circle. Think of the Isle of Skye on steroids with snow down to the sea, full of tall, beautiful blonde people with Viking names. The light is pale silver one minute and dark gunmetal the next and there is contentment amongst the people which I guess is what happens when you have 24 hour daylight, a fat pair of skis and a few thousand acres of untracked powder on your doorstep.

Part 2: The Island of Kvaløya

Part two of the Norway Diary is Kvaløya. This lovely little island really punches above it's weight and is handy if you are staying near Tromsø.

The south face of Storstolpan

We chose a peak called Storstolpan, 974m, and skied up from the south side. It is a popular peak with the locals and gives incredible views. It is a straightforward skin up with a short avalanche-threatened traverse, at the base of the main slope. With the exception of the final 100m to the summit the remainder is steady and non-technical. This final section is on foot and you could leave skis below this if you don’t fancy exposed steeper skiing.

From the narrow summit you can peer down the huge granite walls of the north face and plan your summer rock new-routing trip. The ski descent from the summit down the south side gives a section of 45° down a choice of narrow gullies, followed by much whooping and hollering as you tear down the lower 30-35° creamy snowfields. We couldn't resist skinning back up and going again! There is an awesome boutique cafe on a snowy jetty in Kvaløya, which we were forced to stop at on the way home and inspect (purely for research purposes of course).

Outside on the beach we got chatting to two local women who were loading their sea kayaks with skis, ice axes, camping kit and food, heading for a weekend in the wilds in their secret powder stash. I had never really fancied sea kayaking until that point, now I understand the appeal completely.

[caption id="attachment_6218" align="aligncenter" width="429"]Refreshing swim in the Arctic Ocean? You have got to be kidding! Refreshing swim in the Arctic Ocean? You have got to be kidding![/caption]

Leanne Callaghan

(Photos ©Leanne Callaghan & Hilda Grooters)

I have made a discovery. My own selfishness tells me to keep quiet about it so make sure you don't tell anyone. It can be our little secret: Norway...sshhhhh

The Norway Diaries are my mini guide/diary to a selection of great mountaineering days out on skis in the mountains of Lyngen, Kvaløya and Lofoten; alpine playgrounds right up in the Arctic Circle. Think of the Isle of Skye on steroids with snow down to the sea, full of tall, beautiful blonde people with Viking names. The light is pale silver one minute and dark gunmetal the next and there is contentment amongst the people which I guess is what happens when you have 24 hour daylight, a fat pair of skis and a few thousand acres of untracked powder on your doorstep.

Part 2: The Island of Kvaløya

Part two of the Norway Diary is Kvaløya. This lovely little island really punches above it's weight and is handy if you are staying near Tromsø.

The south face of Storstolpan

We chose a peak called Storstolpan, 974m, and skied up from the south side. It is a popular peak with the locals and gives incredible views. It is a straightforward skin up with a short avalanche-threatened traverse, at the base of the main slope. With the exception of the final 100m to the summit the remainder is steady and non-technical. This final section is on foot and you could leave skis below this if you don’t fancy exposed steeper skiing.

From the narrow summit you can peer down the huge granite walls of the north face and plan your summer rock new-routing trip. The ski descent from the summit down the south side gives a section of 45° down a choice of narrow gullies, followed by much whooping and hollering as you tear down the lower 30-35° creamy snowfields. We couldn't resist skinning back up and going again! There is an awesome boutique cafe on a snowy jetty in Kvaløya, which we were forced to stop at on the way home and inspect (purely for research purposes of course).

Outside on the beach we got chatting to two local women who were loading their sea kayaks with skis, ice axes, camping kit and food, heading for a weekend in the wilds in their secret powder stash. I had never really fancied sea kayaking until that point, now I understand the appeal completely.

[caption id="attachment_6218" align="aligncenter" width="429"]Refreshing swim in the Arctic Ocean? You have got to be kidding! Refreshing swim in the Arctic Ocean? You have got to be kidding![/caption]

Leanne Callaghan

(Photos ©Leanne Callaghan & Hilda Grooters)