4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
Store Hesten is a Senja ski touring classic that due to its westerly aspect holds sun late in the day.
It's a beautiful tour that starts out straight by the sea climbing up a not-so-thick birch forest.
Anyone who is familiar with the northern Norway tight birch trees will enjoy this north facing forest that often has good cold snow. Follow the power line from the parking and avoid the steep 30°-40° section at about 260-290m by tracking a bit north (right), then head up to the lake. On the way up to the lake your eyes will be drawn to the inviting steep north facing couloir that can be a good objective in itself for the expert skiers! The westerly slopes up from the lake often hold good snow but beware of overhead hazard from the steep slopes above the lake when approaching the ascent line. There are numerous choices of descents that you can scout out on the way up.
If conditions allow, good skiers can enjoy the steep couloirs (35-50°) coming down from the summit ridge, however they can be scoured by the westerly wind and should be considered only for experts as the snow and avalanche assessment needs to be flawless. Store Hesten is regardless a true Senja classic, offering nice angle for skiing also on the normal route! On the ascent you need to navigate to avoid steep sections and there will be shorter passages of terrain 30-35° and micro terrain that can surprise you such as small gullies and bowls with overhead hazard! As a result, you need good visibility to recognize the terrain and any terrain trap or avalanche path such as the bowls and steeper slopes surrounding the normal route.
The indicated route on Fatmap is an approximate estimation to the normal route and will - as always - require micro navigation.
Good visibility is a key.
Be careful on the top ridge as it is sometimes has a cornice and keep a very good distance from its edge! Crampons can be useful if the top ridge is scoured and on the last few meters to the top.