With the collapse of my plans to hike the entire Nordkalloten trail this summer due to reasons beyond my control it was time to figure out where to go and spend some quality time in the mountains. I still have plans to revisit the Rondane and make a foray into the Jotunheim but it was my memories of the Hardangervidda that has lured me into planning a week long trip across this beautiful mountain plateau. I will start at Finse train station and follow several DNT trails in what is basically a due south heading, running through the middle of the national park, to the east of my trip last summer, before swinging west at the end towards Odda and transport connections back to Bergen. I will pass glaciers, walk between towering peaks and along lonely rivers.
(photo courtesy of Fjäderlätt)
Averaging just over 1100m I am slightly nervous but excited about using my Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn tarp and Katabatic Gear Bristlecone bivy as my shelter for this trip. I am lucky in that I have a very flexible schedule and will select a good weather window to mitigate my own concerns about the storm worthiness of such a minimalist shelter but my Laser Comp was almost 'too much' last year and the SpinnTwinn offers plenty of coverage should I endure significant precipitation. 'Storm worthiness' will be down to my pitching abilities and site selection. Protection from bugs will be more of a concern and I'll employ the Bristlecone's bug netting, an MLD Head Net, weapons grade DEET and judicious campsite selection in an attempt to thwart the over-attention of the little blood suckers.
I will also be taking the brilliant Four Dog Bushcooker LT1 stove. Now I know what you're thinking, isn't the Hardangervidda a 'treeless' mountain plateau? Well, yes, but there is still plenty of fuel available in the form of dwarf birch and berry stalks. Every night on my trip last year I was able to quickly gather enough 'wood' for a fire which I never actually got around to lighting due to the high temperatures and relentless daylight. I'll be packing a few Esbit tabs as back up in case dry fuel is scarce but I'm interested to see if this is a viable way of boiling water in this environment.
All my other gear will be pretty standard UL fare. The minimal footwear system, a clothing ensemble with precious few redundancies and a wash/hygiene kit that is 'bare bones' to say the least. It will be challenging but I have learned a lot since last summer and will mitigate many risks through careful planning and the luxury of that loose schedule. If it all goes 'tits up' there are always the DNT huts that stud the area where I can seek shelter. The hardest job is collating the 7 days of provisions and trying to cram them all into my Gossamer Gear Gorilla. Then it will be a case of picking a travel date, getting myself to the train station and returning to the wonderful Hanrdangervidda for more adventure. Revisiting the stunning flora and fauna. Going back to the Front.