Øksehøgget Couloir

Lyngen

A couloir of couloirs. The best steep line in Tamokdalen.

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
11 km
Ascent
1.2 km
Descent
1.2 km
Duration
5-6 hrs
Low Point
241 m
High Point
1.3 km
Gradient
54˚
Øksehøgget Couloir Map

The Øksehøgget Couloir in Tamokdalen is a truly eye-catching line. The name means ‘axe cleft’ in Norwegian, and it is easy to see why. Steep, sustained, and totally straight, it is the epitome of a classic ski couloir. This line is an absolute must do for anyone visiting the area and with the necessary skill level to ski it.

Description

The couloir is sheltered and north facing so often holds good snow. The top of the couloir is the steepest, and is sustained at 50 degrees initially. It is also the narrowest at the top, and in firm snow the skiing can be very technical. However, there is always just about ample width to make turns. After the top third, the angle lessens to 45 degrees as does the feeling of exposure. Therefore, although the line is a well-known classic, its steep nature and the fact that it is accessed by a rappel keeps the crowds away.

Although it is possible to climb the line, most teams will opt to skin up around the back and enter the couloir with an obligatory 30 meter rappel. Start from parking at the road just before it takes a right bend. Locate a track to skin on up the valley until around the south side of Tamokfjellet. It's around 1300 meters vertical in total and for the most part the skinning is pleasant and straightforward on relatively low angled slopes. The entrance to the couloir can take a little sniffing around to find, and is located just west of the main summit. There is a bock with lots of old tat around it to skier’s left of the top of the couloir. The couloir itself does not top out and must be entered with a rappel.

Enjoy the awesome descent down the line and out onto the nice and open exit slopes until it is possible to enter a vague gully which cuts through the lower dense bushes. Once you hit the road walk or hitchhike back to your car up the road.

Difficulty

Extreme

Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

April, May

Features

  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area