Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ula Foss - Norway

Walking to the put-in on the Upper Ula, Norway Posted by Picasa

The Upper Ula is a low volume creek containing the best of what Norway has to offer paddlers – amazing scenery, big slides and waterfalls, a little something for everyone. From the town of Otta near the Sjoa valley a steep winding road quickly climbs above treeline into Rondane National Park, one of Norway's classic trekking spots. Once the road turns to dirt, go left and pass through the toll gate and head further up the main hill covered by shrubs, goats and traditional houses with lots of grass on their roofs for insulation from the harsh winters.

Posted by Picasa

At the end of the road is a parking lot for hikers and a 5 minute walk will get you to the water.

From the put-in the first section is a nice easy warm up with some easy slides and drops to get you prepared for what is coming up. After portaging around a beautiful waterfall, the river enters a small gorge and starts to pick up in gradient.

Kim Siekerman on one of the drops before the portage Posted by Picasa

Just past the end of the mini gorge comes two more significant drops before the start of the slides.

Jonothan Church on the second section of the Ula slides. (video)

The slides are what most people come to the Ula looking for, here the creek drops over 2-3 slides more than 200ft long before ending in a sweet 15 ft waterfall. The line on this drop is tight if you want to avoid flying off the left side and onto a hard shallow landing.

Airing out off the waterfall below the slides. Posted by Picasa

After the super slides the Ula resumes at an easier pace but still contains many small drops and slides before the run culminates at the four classic Ula waterfalls. The first 3 falls (20ft 7ft 15ft) are quite runnable at most flows while the last 40ft waterfall is rarely ran successfully.

Classic Norway huckin'-Ula Falls, Norway Posted by Picasa

Just before the waterfalls is a road that will get you back to a lower parking for the take-out. Whether you come for quality slides, multiple waterfalls, or just to boof some fun drops in the alpine scenery, the Ula is certainly a Norwegian classic if you get it at a good water level.