Monday, August 15, 2011

Svartisen-Saltfjellet - Northern Norway

Michelle Basso dwarfed beneath the Svartisen Glacier. Stormglomvatnet - Northern Norway

Stretching up from the rugged fjords of the Norwegian coast and on into the high mountain tundra near the Swedish border, Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park is a captivating location found in the heart Norway’s Nordland region.

Nice views, lazy roads, long days - It's the Nord.

It's an expansive natural wonder embedded within the polar circle and was once again part of the Norwegian summer road trip.

Oh yeah we did some whitewater paddling ...anyone take a picture?

The area encompasses lush forested valleys and endless rivers that emerge from Svartisen, northern Scandinavia’s largest ice field. Unfortunately this is one of Norge's least accessible areas meaning many good things are going to remain hidden unless kayaks are packed in some long distances.

Karl Engen gives his approval for the helicopter near Junkerdalen

Stormdalselva at full rage

Hiking into the upper Stormdalselva past the 200 foot Bredekfossen is a fine example of impressive stretches whitewater that have very rarely seen any paddler.

Bredekfossen hike in.

On the west side of the Park a road high above Glomfjord took us to a remote location with exceptionally different paddling potential. At the road’s end, an ominous dam wall appears looming above as if hiding something. As you climb the dam walls for a view the emerald waters of a massive arctic reservoir reveal itself along with massive glaciers lining shoreline.

Norwegian engineers in the 1980’s created Storglomvatnet reservoir with renewable energy in mind. Two constructed dam walls that span narrow gulleys connect one entire valley and fill up with water melting from the Svartisen icefield.

Upon completion nearly 20 years ago, a long lasting hydropower source was created.Today the glacier tongues dropping down to the water’s edge continually feed this high mountain lake while tunnels and gravity send the water to the power plants in the fjords below.

This impressive unnatural water source was immortalized recently as it graced the cover of Kayak Session magazine and Rush Sturges' new whitewater film 'Frontier'. Another paddling epic found by Rush and his crew is lying on the far shore. Hiking a low pass on the other side of Stormglomvatnet will get you to the Glomåga River headwaters; multiday wilderness paddling with lake access and the best views around!

Our paddle wasn't across the lake for the Glomåga this time, yet a sunny day in the sea kayaks could not last long enough. Deep sounds resonating from the intimidating sculpted ice environment came often, keeping our eyes fixed on massive towers of ice. An awesome encounter with one of nature’s greatest spectacles set amid the landscape of Northern Norway.