7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Banana couloir on Holmbuktinden's southwesterly side is an enjoyable outing that offers good steep skiing in a not-too-serious or exposed setting.
It got its name after a funny picnic discussion between the Australian X-games skier Chris Booth, Norwegian Lene Bergersen and Swedish Johanna Stålnacke on what could have been a possible first descent of the line.
Somewhat "forgotten" it stands in the shade of the mighty Jiehkkevarri and is overlooked as the majority of skiers passing here have their eyes on the highest summit of the peninsula, or are returning down from the Blåisen glacier.
But it's a great line to ski in itself! The rock walls surrounding the couloir create a beautiful scene as you point your skis down towards the valley and the blue sea below.
The views are - as usual in Lyngen - top class, and with its not too extreme ski difficulty the line can be a good option for skiers who wish to enter into the realm of steep skiing and ski mountaineering. The angle comes up to maximum around 45 degrees but the majority of the couloir is around 40 degrees.
The snow quality will be the ultimate determinant of how difficult this line will feel in terms of exposure.
Nevertheless, it is not a beginner's line so enter here with care and good judgement! The drawing indicates where the line goes but can differ slightly from the reality.
Look for the obvious banana curved couloir on the SW side of Holmbukktinden.
You will see it clearly as you approach.
The start of the ascent follows the approach up towards the normal route of Holmbukktinden and the standard ascent to reach Jiehkkevarri.
At about 500 meters elevation, the route leaves the Holmbukktinden normal ascent and continues in the direction of Blåisen.
The face is on your left and you will be able to scout the line from here.
How far you want to climb depends on the snow conditions and the skills of skiers.
The higher up you go the more exposure you will face.
A good way to make the line more manageable is to not climb it to the very top, but to stop on the obvious shoulder and ski the couloir from there.
If you decide to climb all way up, make sure to assess conditions well as the exposure will increase as you leave the shoulder and climb into the top face.
Because of its SW aspect, the couloir gets a lot of sun and heats up in the afternoon.
It is important to take care with the danger of wet slides and to avoid it in the afternoon.
It can be an amazing line to ski in perfect spring corn, although skiers have to anticipate carrying their skis for a bit on the approach until they reach the snow line.
The couloir is climbed on crampons + an ice axe but has no mandatory rappels.
Bring a banana!