Darwin Falls is a little waterfall people can visit from a hiking trail in Death Valley, but the real gem is the 150ft waterfall unseen from the trail but just above. It is only accessible by canyoneering and in the sole water canyon in Death Valley. Darwin Falls (3B II) was our first canyon of the Death Valley season and was much changed since the prior descent in 2020.
After a 18 hrs traveling journey we arrived on the outskirts of Oslo off the plane as the sun is going down at 11pm. This would be the most darkness we would get the entire trip. Looking out the window at quaint farms with uniformly free rolling grasses I touch that feeling I have when I first travel out of country. Feeling transported via a metal box to a completely different environment immediately which feels otherworldly even if it’s an EU country. Everyone is speaking different languages, the scenery is such a change from “golden” California and I am in a problem solver state almost constantly when it comes to getting to where I want to go. In this article, I’ll talk about what I learned about traveling in Norway over 18 days visiting Oslo, Bergen and the Lofoten Islands from Svolvær to Å.
On our honeymoon trip to Norway, Sadie and I spent eight days in the a Lofoten Islands. Along the way we climbed in the rain, hiked mountains, hung out on white sandy beaches and sailed in a fjord. However the main thing we did was a six day bicycle tour from Svolvær down to the end of the road in Å (90mi 5.5k).
We went to Håøya aka Goat Island for a hiking and farm-to-table experience. All we knew about this going in was a recommendation from a friend that said there were free roaming goats and a good bakery on an island outside of Oslo. That was enough!
On our trip to the 300 days of rain, fishing village of a city that is Bergen we decided to take a trek out to an alpine hut. I chose the longest hut from trailhead in the area (Nansenbu) which also turned out to be the most easily accessible by train. The trip was 9 mi and 4200 ft from the train station in Voss to the hut. It featured an unexpected plethora of snow fields, a foot soaking amount of steep muddy trail and a picturesque alpine hut all to ourselves.
Ahhhhh permitting in the Eastern Sierra. When I moved to Mammoth Lakes, I was stoked for walk up permits because I could finally get them easily from the Mammoth Welcome Center the day before. However, after COVID, ‘walk up’ turned into two weeks before the entry date and all online. Great for non-residents like I used to be, but a bummer as a resident because it meant using an online system that can be hyper competitive. Thus we got a permit for Laurel Lakes just out of Mammoth Lakes and then went over the Laurel Col. to the Convict Lake Basin to climb Mt. Baldwin.
I had this grand idea of doing a traverse of the Pioneer Basin peaks, 8mi and 4k elevation gain of ridgeline. Followed by going over Hopkins Pass, making our way out to Duck Lake in Mammoth Lakes with peak bagging along the way. Then the plan hit reality and things were more difficult than I had hoped… (the proposed route)
Temple Crag is a huge formation out of Big Pine, CA. It hosts several amazingly long climbs from the 13 pitch Venusian Blind (5.7) to the 16 pitch Dark Star (5.10c) in the 1,500-2,000 ft long range. I made a failed attempt on Moon Goddess Arete (18 pitch, 5.8) back in 2018, but only found bad rock instead of the traverse to second tower. This time I teamed up with my friend Kevin to climb Sun Ribbon Arete (2000 ft, 22 pitches, 5.10a) car-car. I’ve never done a single day push before (most people camp at the upper lakes the night before) and was pretty intimidated but it went really well in a 17 hours continuous movement day.
I have looked at Mt. Morrison’s grand 12,240 ft summit for many years. We had a Spring summit attempt in 2017, when we said “who cares, let’s ski” at the Morrison Couloir. In 2020 Sadie and I climbed Laurel and the view of Morrison again called to me. Now on fun-employment I took the day to bag it (basically this route) through brush, across post holing snow and up some 4th class rock that I got myself into (the route goes Class 3 if you aren’t messing around like me).
Iva Bell Hot Springs are a backcountry hotspot for warm pools of water. The journey would bring us through thorny bushes, over many large logs, across bridged rivers and finally battling algae in these backcountry host springs. In all the trip would take us 35 miles, 6,800 ft over two long days.