Thursday, June 04, 2009

Jordalselva - Norway

Tyler Bradt - another satisfied customer on the Jordalselva - Norway

Although the taps around Voss turned on over a month ago, the emergence from winter can take a while this far north in the hemisphere. A sleepy hometown feel remains prevalent while locals climb into drysuits and get first pick on the lines flowing once again throughout the valley.

But now the page has turned to June, and the summer pilgrimage of VW transporter vans are once again on the move. In the weeks leading up to extremsportveko Voss will change into a paddling destination with few rivals. Foreign license plates, loaded roof racks and happy kayakers will soon be located under the endless Norwegian sun.

Tyler Curtis knows the feeling

First on the scene from across the Atlantic in an early season surprise were huck bosses Ian Garcia and Tyler Bradt. The week was eventful with the two of them dropping among others a big 1st D waterfall descent up in Eksingadalen and finding the rest of the classics at perfect flow. Raundal, Urdland, Stranda, Myrkdal, Brandseth, and if you really can endure the extra 15 minutes of driving, time to hit the Jordalselva.

Local flight technician Dag Sandvik

The Jordal (your-dal) valley is hidden between the mammoth walls cutting down to Gudvangen and a branch of the Sognefjord. Only a few more kilometers past the Brandseth, you'll know you're heading the right way when you begin the dark ascent up the road through a steep tunnel system before emerging into mountain paradise.

Two sections are available up on the Jordalselva. From way up out of the lake, the popular guidebook section offers mostly friendly drops in between easier rapids down to the waterfall and takeout shortly after. Option two means putting in at the bridge above the classic Jordal waterfall and paddling down to the next bridge just above the entrance to the road tunnel. This short hard stretch will put a lot more on your plate with a mix of extreme gradient, gorge drops and even more airtime.

Mariann Sæther still brings it

The notable rapids are easy to find. After the Jordalselva 30', the river mellows for a couple of kilometers before turning into a 600m inferno of powerful drops. Some of this can be too much to handle depending on the flow and perhaps who the cast of characters are. On this day the boys named Tyler had a go at the last few moves before taking the exit ramp into a greasy hole.

T-Bradt comes in hot.

Immediately after the slide is the technical challenge of the day. A three channel waterfall with only the left line runnable and a must make right to left drive to make it there. Consequences are severe on this rapid so scout and plan accordingly.

TC - second waterfall on the section....go left!

Nearing the takeout, one more big slide remains that likes to put you very close to the left wall. On this day it took a couple of us for a roll and also removed some plastic and skin from important places. In the end a few knicks and scrapes couldn't keep the all star friends and weather from making the day a perfect 10. The going is definitely good and we hope to see everybody back in the land of plenty soon. It's going to be another spectacular summer in Norway.

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