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Belfry Meeting 2nd November Barry Lewis On Alpine Ski Touring In Norway (From A Boat)

By Norma Green

There is ski touring and there is alpine ski touring and there is alpine ski touring in Norway from a boat! - this the subject of a very different week's skiing in April 2006 upon which Barry, and a party of French skiers, embarked.

From meeting each other in Paris, they journeyed to Tromso in the Arctic Circle, where the boat was waiting.

It is well known that intrepid alpine ski tourers do not have the advantage of 5 star accommodation and this trip was no exception. The boat was a 27 metre trawler and Barry was very lucky to have a bunk in the windowless companionway, though this did ensure he had a degree of darkness for the purpose of sleeping during the long daylight hours.

Barry admitted the accommodation was a bit cramped, but comfortable, and they were well looked after. However, if you thought catching a lift at 9am during the French school holidays was a hassle, it was a doddle compared to the hazardous journey the group had to endure before they even reached the snow.

Early morning, all kitted up on the deck - the boat being anchored in a different bay each day - they then had to descend a 5ft rope ladder in ski boots and step any way they could into an unstable inflatable dinghy. If the weather was calm, all was well, if the waves and wind were a problem, they all had to duck under a tarpaulin for the journey to (or from) shore. On reaching the shore, it was imperative they missed the water and stepped onto dry land. Wet boots and socks at the start of the day doesnít bear thinking about.

Once equipment was sorted and gathered, they set off across the rocky beach towards the snow. We were told the snow usually reaches as far as the water, but on this occasion it had not, so a bit of a walk before the climb.

Onwards and upwards, using skins, for some 4-6 hours per day. The Lyngen Alps are much softer than the French Alps with glorious views down to the fjords. Roping up and using crampons was not necessary all week. Some days they reached a peak and others just a plateau, but as we all know, from then on it's downhill all the way!

The slides showed stunning scenery and the group looked very happy and were obviously having a wonderful time.

Thank you to Barry for giving a very interesting talk and sharing this unique experience with us.