Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bygdelva - Norway

Benjamin Hjort drops in on the local fishin spot. Bygdelva - Norway

Norway's golden triangle road trip brings you through Hellesylt, where the Langdelselva and Bygdelva meet each other in Norway's spectacular branch of the Storfjord. Flemming Schmidt and Benjamin Hjort called this area home for a few seasons and shared many whitewater discoveries. On one side of town the Landelselva drops into the fjord as a massive cataract full of lines that few are ready to attempt. At the opposite end of the bay the Bygdelva doesn`t look quite as menacing. All that changes significantly as you head a few kilometers up the valley.

On a return to the Sunnylvfjord drainages last summer things started and ended with some interesting drama off the river. Local fishermen who claimed to have ownership to one of the classic final drops on the Bygdelva tried a few moves at preventing us from putting on. A decision to go ahead and give it a go despite the tensions downstream ended being a good move.

Action just below the put in.

The guidebook description of the Bygdelva mainly describes a short upper section coming directly out of the lake. Here things get going quickly with three nice rapids followed by another two challenging drops all within the first 400m. Two big moves at the end of this section can be scouted on either shore.

Benji H. working the second of the two last drops before the dam.

This first stretch along the road ends abruptly with a diversion dam pulling a rather large percentage of flow from the creek. Depending on water levels this may or may not be an issue. Good things await those wishing to continue into a tight gorge beginning just downstream and low flows are needed.

Scott Feindel coming out from the gorge section.

Walking along a blueberry infested river left, you can peer into the depths of the entire canyon section. It should look manageable without so much of the original water amount, however technical moves and a few hole bombs are still required inside a place with no portage options.

A sweet slide just before the water comes back from the dam.

After the mini gorge, the going remains very good. The water comes back from the pipes, and after another distinct horizon line, the last of the gradient heads down to sea-level. These final big slides with the water returned to normal flows can be checked from the road and certainly make for a perfect ending to another amazing Norwegian creek run.

Norway has a rich history in fishing traditions and regulations governing local sport fishing also mean that locals pay huge for this opportunity. The Bygdelva is certainly not a private river in Norway, but remembering that fishing is popular on many whitewater runs and showing respect for their sport is always important.

View Bygdelva - (IV+ - V) in a larger map