As beautiful and friendly as the Norwegian mountains can be, they can also be inhospitable and dangerous, with the weather changing completely in only a matter of minutes. If you choose to fight nature you are bound to lose, so don’t. To stay safe, it is extremely important that you take the advice given here seriously, and that you prepare well for your cabin trip. Do not conclude from one easy trip that all are like that. Cabins, paths, daylight and weather conditions vary quite a lot!
Leaving for a trip in the Norwegian nature requires good planning and preparation for both terrain, tracks and weather. Primarily your own skills and expertise must be taken as base for the decision on what kind of trip you can leave for, the distance you manage to walk aside paths and the weather conditions you are prepared for. Check the degree of difficulty and travel time to be able to choose a suitable cabin for your group. Always remember that you have to think about your own as well as your friends security in the mountains!
If you or your friend gets hurt and need help, try to contact people nearby. Be sure that the injured person is stabilized and in good condition before you leave, and will be so until you return. Be prepared for that your mobile phone might not work in the mountains! Watch out for small hills or mountain tops in the area where you might get mobile reception. In case of emergency, call 112 for the police who will coordinate any rescue operation with the main rescue centre.
Each cabin is equipped with a first aid kid and you will also find an emergency note where GPS coordinates for the cabin are given. Please communicate these coordinates to the police so they are able to find you as soon as possible.
No joke, snow is fun, but it can also be quite exhausting! Even if Trondheim is snowfree there might be one meter or more not far away in the mountains. Take with you skis or snowshoes in winter times. But please, don't leave in sneakers...! Be aware of more advanced orientation conditions in winter - you cannot necessarily recognize rivers, paths and lakes any more.
Crossing the mountains or areas above the timber line can be hard in bad weather conditions. "Whiteout" is a weather condition in which visibility and contrast are severely reduced by snow and diffuse light through overcast clouds. This is especially important when planning a trip to Kamtjønnkoia.
You can find many stories in the cabin books from groups trying to find a cabin in darkness. This is not always easy. Therefore plan more time for your trip than you would expect. Orientation in darkness is not the first thing you should try if you are not experienced! And you would not be the first to sleep outsight in nature...
Snow conditions can vary greatly throughout the season and in different locations. Generally, one can expect to find snow in the mountains from November through April, but this varies widely and is only a rule of thumb. Sometimes it might be icy and easy to walk on the snow without skis, on other occasions it will be almost impossible to move without skis. The cabins generally have no scooter tracks you can follow, and the time required to reach the cabin will depend heavily on snow and weather conditions and skiing experience.
|Conditions||Expert||Beginner||No skis (stupid)|
The risk for avalanches is very dependent on the stability in the snow layers and is in general higher in steeper terrain. Often, a slope of 30° and more is referred to where avalanches normally start. When using a standard 1:50'000 map with equidistance of 20m, if the lines representing altitude are less than 1mm apart, it is steeper than 30°. Find a place of ascent/descent that is less steep. Be aware of that an avalanche can go three times as far as the height of the hill.
Webpage with detailed and updated avalanche forecast: www.varsom.no
Snowblindness is caused by too much light entering the eye due to the snow reflecting light from the sun. Snowblindness is very uncomfortable, but is easily avoided by wearing sunglasses that cover your eyes well. If your eyes are getting sore, this is a sign of developing snowblindness, and it will only get worse if you don't take action. Put on sunglasses, or use a scarf etc. to cover your eyes apart from a small opening. Snowblindness can make you more or less blind, but if you avoid strong light it will be gone after a few days.
In windy or very cold weather, check each others faces for blue or white spots indicating frostbite. If such spots appear; DO NOT RUB! Heat the area slowly with your body or a soft blanket. Avoid using boiling water etc. Cheeks against the palm of your hands, hands under your armpits, feet against someones stomach. Face, fingers and toes are the greatest risks.
When you get to the cabin, change your clothes, including underwear, even if you don't feel wet. Drink sufficiently amounts of water. If you are dehydrated you will have more trouble keeping warm. Wear a cap when you are sleeping, and don't wear socks that are tight around your ankles. They will hamper the bloodflow, and make it more difficult to keep your feet warm. And last but not least, before you go to bed, move around a bit. Don't go to bed feeling really cold.