Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Autumn break slog

“We are not tired” , Dana said.

“I just want to get back to the parking lot and go back to Lima” , Eva said.
“Because I don’t want to wake up another morning, being pushed by the tent fabric and lots of cold snow. And slog through this hip deep snow.”
We had done 4 km in almost 6 hours. And we had another one to do to get to the parking lot. I looked at the girls with admiration. What they had done the last two days was impressive.
When we arrived to Grövelsjön and the mountains two days ago, we did have a slight wind and it was snowing. But I didn´t regret NOT bringing a sled and skis. There was not too much snow covering the ground and even if the weather forecast promised stronger winds up to16 m/s and more snow, I thought we would sort it out somehow. My worry was how to secure the tent with a frozen ground and no snow. Again, we will sort it out and can suffer through the night. Or two.
The idea was again to try to climb Storvätteshågna, the highest peak in the state of Dalarna. The first time we tried it out, two years ago, the mix of snow and rain killed it. And the girls were not ready. They were now.
It took us almost 5 hours to do 5 kms and the wind and snow was picking up. But we managed to get the tent up before it was dark. Hardly any snow and we used the climbing rope to secure our spot. I had relied on my phone to get weather updates. Again, not a smart move, so I looked at the snow the was packed in crevasses where it came from. The direction. I got it wrong. When the wind hit us around 8 p.m it struck us on the side. It had bursts of up to 12 m7S. It got worse through the night, maybe as much as 16 m/s.
I stayed awake all night. Even though I noticed hard packed snow securing the tent all around, I had the disaster in Spitzkoppe in mind and the Greenland icecap when the tent split in two, but the tent did the job. But snow and wind pressed down the tent mesh so Eva could feel it on her nose. Or should have, as always, she slept through it all.
We decided immediately, since visibility was poor, not to try to climb the peak, even though we were camped at the base. And sleds and skis would be the choice of the day. So much snow!
Since visibility was poor, we decided to stick to the safe route, and not as the previous day orientated by compass, to get back to the parking. So we followed the winter route. Deep snow, up to the waist, made us extremely slow and tired. Wind speed was picking up as was the snowing.
I bad waist belt on an old rucksack I had, was “killing” my hamstring and I found the going really hard. The rucksack with rope, tent and all, tough. I had problems lifting my legs as needed to plow through the deep snow. But Eva and Dana took over. Mainly Eva.
Eva is a very special girl. She is not hands on like Dana, but if she has made a decision, in this case, she wants to get back to the car, she just goes on and on. Until she hits the wall. And she did this as always, now a kilometer off. In two hours it would be dark. And we were doing less than a km an hour. Dana slogged on good and eventually the painkillers worked, so I could do my job. And we got to the car just before dark. What a joy!
It was really a hard slog. And when I asked the girls if it was worth it, they said they just wanted good food, warmt and a nice bed. And an answer in the upcoming few days. Self awareness for sure!
We stopped for pizza and pasta in Idre. Winter road all over! But once we reached Lima it was raining.
This was with the best of times. Love being with the girls when the going is tough, because we work so well together. Life highlight!

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