/ Conditions report: Valdres, Hemsedal & Lærdal

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Winter season 2018 / 2019

Geographical area: Valdres, Hemsedal & Lærdal

Some useful links: 

Weather: http://www.yr.no  or https://www.storm.no

Worth checking out both as they can give different conditions. 

Avalanche: http://www.varsom.no

Terrain: http://skredkart.ngi.no 

Pictures? There are several social media outlets on Facebook and Instagram.

Valdres: https://www.facebook.com/groups/532759567117816/ 

Hemsedal: https://www.facebook.com/groups/184936911631448/

Aurdal, Lærdal og Årdal: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2249670705058347/?multi_permalinks=2806936925998386&notif_id=1543307523270317&notif_t=group_activity

Instagram: Often eclectic gatherings of folk and there want to be audiences. 

Roads: An old link that has got suddenly rather savvy is the state road people on www.vegvesen.no apart from road regs you can also find all the road webcams and get a feeling for road conditions/snow conditions. Loads of webcams these days pointing at the road obviously but you get some good shots of ice and snow conditions a well. 


In case of an emergency (none medical) Call the police 112 (or 02800 as a none emergency)
In case of a medical emergency call the ambulance 113. This will bring you directly to a person that can advise on medical situations as well as instigate the rescue.


Date: 27/11/2018

After the warmest and driest summer in living memory, we had a wet and often cold autumn. This brought snow to the mountains. Full of promise it was but it was short lived and it melted.

Right now, its cold and dry. Very little snow. Most of the ski resorts are making snow.

Ice: Generally water courses are freezing, however falls that require snow to form are struggling.

Pictures of falls in from Hemsedal and Aurdal and would imagine Lærdal as well. Valdres water courses are freezing.  General picture is thin, not quite in yet, however I am sure some sport can be found and with so little snow access is easy (Although low angles ice will be a lethal).  I would imagine right now falls that often get buried or even have difficult approaches will be a prime focus. 

Skiing: People have been out. Looks hard with many sharks about (stones that eat your skis). Haven't been tempted yet.  Easy access from Valdresflya as the road is still open. Ski-resorts making snow. 

Promising start. Snow needed. 



Up-Date: 29/11/2018

Recon tour in Valdres. Falls running from after courses will offer some sport.

in Hemsedal higher falls are forming and have been climbed and the usual early season routes are starting to get climbed. Lack of snow makes walks in easier.





(Not to self: check spelling before submitting ;) 

Vestre Slidre: Valdres

The joys of winter climbing!  We headed out to a local fall which I had checked out during the week. However the temps had risen dramatically and it had fallen down We, therefore, climbed another fall to the left.  Good ice, very little aeration. Some poor ice on ledges under snow. We congratulated ourselves with our first winter ice climb and said early season grade 4 (knowing full well it was probably 3!) 


Reports in of climbing in Hydalsfossen. From the pictures, it looked like it had been eaten a bit after the warmer temps. It looked like funky ice, loads of features and structures.

I also have seen on Instagram an attempt on a route on Skoghorn. From the writing and pictures it looked like good conditions.


Snowing now. Temps not as low as before. 

Ski-resorts who have made snow will rejoice in the new snow. Off-piste will be shark-infested.


Post edited at 12:09

Up-Date: 04/12/2018

Valdres (Beito)

Today I went with the dog to a hidden valley near Beitostølen called Kalvedalen which is home to three rather steep climbs which have been charismatically called fall 1, 2 and wait for it.... 3  Link to routes: http://isklatring.no/valdres/kalvedalen.html 

Nice walk. Lots of wind and snow blowing about.  The stream bed wasn't as frozen as I had wished. Thankfully I wore the wellies today Falls 2 and 3 had formed.

Pictures on our FB and Instagram  



Up-date: 05/12/2018

Was in Vang in Valdres today. Wasn't my intention, however I have an fault in the car so I decided to drive it and diagnose the problem. It took awhile, but I got there eventually. And some pictures as well


Generally, more ice than I would have expected as there is very little snow. Lots to be going at. Some of classics like Langåne and Drøsja are not in, however to the right many falls looking good. The ice did look a bit washed out. Not sure why possible a combination of sun and the recent thaw. Those in the shade looked better. 

Pictures on the FB and Instagram.


Post edited at 16:59

Up-date: 11/12/2018

Last weekend it snowed substantially. Thoughts from the off-piste skiers; Another storm cycle is required to make good off-piste conditions. 

Climbing: Generally very quiet. On the social media side, very little has been reported (Ths could mean I'm not in the loop). Activity was observed in Hemsedal, although my secret agents, could not confirm if the people with climbing equipment in the area of Haugsfossen had done anything.  

Temperatures are minus and sustained, we have snow now. The ice will continue to build.

Generally good, will get better  


Up-Date: 18/12/2018

Hemsedal: Reports in of routes being done during last weekend. Ice a bit brittle in places but generally positive comments. It has snowed approximately 10-15cm. This will certainly help to feed some of the falls. Grøtnuten looked on a drive by not to be fully formed or looked thin (It was evening light so maybe I didn't get the best look).

Rjukandefossen not completely formed as the normal two ice pillars have only just touched down. Still a possible but not it fat self.

Valdres: A recontour to Vang yesterday. Many routes now formed. Langåni forming. The top pillar has only started to touchdown. Needs more time. Drosje looked formed. From what I have seen falls following streams are in.

Skiing off-piste: Improving. The forest skiing in Hemsedal has been described as "potential for life-changing injuries" so I would guess loads of exposed pointy things and low ligament snapping branches still exposed. Sharks everywhere, but people still seem willing to use their new skis to test the waters. Just when you thought it was safe to return to the forest.... Jaws 3.... this time it personnel.... Scraaaaaaatch... aarrggghhhhhh!



Up-Date: 30/12/2018

Drove back from Bergen yesterday, through Voss, Gudvangen and up Lærdal before crossing Filefjell and into Vang in Valdres:

Rain and plus degree all the way until Lærdal. Some of the big scary looking falls in Gudvangen had survived the thaw but looked still to be incomplete.  

Lower Lærdal looked stripped, however, things improved as you drove up the valley. Kjørli icefall up Råsdalen looked formed. Further up the classic Selten icefall above the Selten farm looked formed, however, there seemed to be quite a lot of water running behind the ice on the easier approach pitches. There was also a few big holes in the start of the steeper pitches. Higher up the valley many ice falls looked formed, but all looked thin.   There was nearly no snow in the valley. 

Over Filefjell: Thin snow cover.

Vang in Valdres:  Surprised at the amount of ice available. Had received an update that was quite negative when I was in Bergen.  "Skjerva i Øye"  not completely formed, but not far off.  Øye; quite surprised to see many lines formed.  Langåni wasn't fully formed. The top pillar had touched down however the first pillar had not.  During the week, plus degrees in the valley had allowed the stream above to break free. The fall was considered not safe. Drosje looked like it had sprung a leak. Other falls to the right looked doable.  Routes above Ala camping in Vang looked formed. 

Other information:

Hyllebekken above Fagernes is formed.

Dammen in Bagn is formed.

Hemsedal:  Pictures in of Haugsfossen and Torsetfossen being climbed. 

Skiing:  Off-piste continues to look character building. Sharks abound everywhere waiting to eat your new skis. Haven't even felt the need to dust the skis off this season.

Generally a slow start to the season, however, falls are in throughout the area. Lots to be going at. A flexible approach is required.  Looking at the temps for next week things are getting colder, there is a lot of moisture in the ground and things will improve readily.


Its been a while... After New year temps went up and down like a yo-yo coupled with high winds. At one point I thought winter was lost with plus 8 degrees in the valley and high winds, and then the next day back to cold.  


Ice conditions Vang in Valdres 19/01/2019
With ice climbing courses starting next week and temperatures going up and down like a yoyo it was time to take a drive and check out conditions.
Happily surprised Skjerva i Øye was a shadow of its formal self with the top pillar looking a long way off being complete. Langåni looked nearly in, with the main body complete but the two pillars hadn't completely touchdown.

Stavadalen in Valdres: Reports in of activity. last weekend a report in saying everything was in although the ice was starting to get sun bleached.  Stavadalen is an early season venue.  Ice quality was varied with layering, brittle, some wet and some crust. Word on the street was saying not the easiest conditions.

Bagn in Valdres: 22/01/2019:

All routes look in. The easier sections are covered in a veneer of snow. Hard brittle ice, due to the low temps (-15 today), lots of dinner plating. I found getting ice screws seated difficult today as initially they just powdered the ice. Lots of variation in the ice, with a crust and layering over snow. Had to try several times to find ice screw placement as they kept popping through to this snow layer. Axes and crampons a bit squeaky and creaky.


Not had any reports in of big classics getting done, but generally, I would imagine things are in.  I would imagine the sunny side will start to get affected by sun soon of not already.

Hallingdal generally:  Reports in of the classic getting climbed at Ål. From the pictures and comments, it looked good. 

Generally, due to the cold temps, the ice is brittle and layered at the moment. This makes climbing feel hard for the route grades. 

Skiing:  Well it snowed, nice fluffy snowy stuff and suddenly all the skiers came out of dormancy and could not hold back telling the world how wonderful it all is.  The skiing social media streams have been silent and then suddenly you're taken by an avalanche of skiing.  

Pictures as always on our facebook site: 



Up-date: 02/02/2019


After a super cold period, with temperatures dipping below -20c the ice conditions in Valdes and Hemsedal have improved markedly. 

Climbing at Åbjøra in Valdres this week has been good, and while the conditions at Bagn have been varied, all routes are in. Some pitches, for example, Dammen, are brittle, and "Fossen bortafor Dammen" required a rather forceful swim to find had a good upper pitch while the first was somewhat brittle and layered. 

In Hemsedal the ever-reliable Haugsfossen was good and a welcome respite from the cold as it gets the sun. While the ice has started to become bleached by the sun it was still in good form. Rjkandefossen on the day we visited (and subsequently ran away from) wasn't in good form.  Many pillars had cracked in the super cold and were running with water, while some classic pillars were fragile and thin.

In Vang most routes look formed, although I am a little unsure of Langåni.

It has snowed again and by the traffic, on social media, it's being enjoyed.

Generally, good ice conditions, brittle after the cold and now more modest routes are covered in part by fresh snow. 

Photos on oir social media site: https://www.facebook.com/AlpineDragons/


Up-date: 18/02/2019:

Can't believe it has been so long since my last update. Have been running two week-long ice climbing courses back to back and didn't have the time / forgot.

After a super cold period, the temps went crazy warm.  

Vang in Valdres:  Good, especially the shady side. Ice in some areas is the fattest I have ever seen.  Langåni still doesn't look like the top pillar has touched down enough. With the warm temps and sun, I would imagine the sunny side routes will be getting a trashing while the shady side will continue to grow. Approaches where hard work with the deep snow. 

Kalvdalen, Beitostølen area, Valdres:  Routes that get the sun look trashed, however, the back icefall looked good. Really steep. Hard approach with deep heavy snow.

Bagn in Valdres:  All routes are in and look good. Dammen had snow on the top pitch but this should loosen with the warm temps. The ice on one of the falls we climbed on was good. Easy approach on the forestry road.  Swim from this to the falls.

Haugfossen in Hemsedal has been trashed by the sun and warm temps. The shady side routes will survive. I saw some pictures of Skoghorn taken from the other day and it looked bare with spring-like snow patches for the approaches.  The temps in Hemsedal have been crazy high.

Quite a drastic thaw. Night temps in Valdres are minus so the big fat icefalls will survive and from my experience winter isn't over. I've seen -16 in March before and even good conditions in April. 

pictures as ever on our social media site: https://www.instagram.com/alpinedragons/


Up-date: 3/2/2019

After an unprecedented warm period in February the cold has returned, and while many have been calling out "the end is nigh", winter has returned. Well at least in Valdres. 

The shadow side has survived, however, the sunnyside is finished.

Last weeks adventure took us to Bagn again. I prepared for the worst, however, found the ice in the shade had not altered significantly in form and amazingly dry. Sublimation is occurring. The ice was fun to climb, with little or no conchoidal fracturing.  Throughout Bagn the shadow side looked good. Still, some snow on the easy angles sections.

At Åbjør near Leira, the ice crag in the beautiful pine forest had become bleached out and was looking more like polystyrene than ice. Still fun in a  wet sort of way. 

Other areas in the shadows will have survived, but what the ice quality will be like now the temps start to sink again is unknown.

Skiing?  brutal, but now new snow has arrived it will improve. Just need to avoid the sharks! 


GarethSL on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Simpson - Alpine Dragons:

> Up-date: 3/2/2019

> while many have been calling out "the end is nigh", winter has returned.

Same story round here, almost everything that isn't late forming or typically fickle survived  

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