|Stretch:||Top of the valley to Spånemfossen Falls|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to IV+ (V)|
|Flows:||10-30 cms (more portaging over 25 cms). Check the current online gauge: here.|
|Gradient:||111 fpm average (sections well over 200)|
|Put-in:||Small road at the end of the valley|
|Take-out:||Bridge at Spånemfossen Falls.|
|Shuttle:||8.0 miles (10 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||April to June|
|Featured in A Wet State #101|
Norway 2015 – Day 3 Morning
Waking up with thoughts of having a mellower day to let our bodies rest after the full day of effort that the California Section proved to be, we drove to the Upper section on the Austbygdåi. As we drove up we knew that the Spånemfossen Falls was going to be a big drop, but were somewhat surprised by the road-side slide that looked very full of water and very full-on. We briefly scouted it and decided to further contemplate it when we arrived there on the river. Driving further upstream we were surprised by the steep powerful drops we witnessed, so much for our mellow day.
Putting on we were grateful that the upper miles of the run were in fact reasonable mellow, ranging from class IV to IV+ with mellow sections between. Before long though the river valley widened out, the road got close, and we hit a section of bedrock we knew would lead to the slide. As it was now a few hours later, the water had risen with the heat from the day and the thin line we scouted on the big slide was now even thinner. The challenge is that after a junky slide lead in you slide into a hole that wants to push you out of the center… the problem there is that on either side of the center as the river tilts for a super steep slide there are kickers that could throw you off balance easily. This wouldn’t be a problem if it landed in a pool. But instead, this then goes through a small hole and then moves quickly across some slack water before entering an unrun rapid that ends in a 30 foot falls with a ledge in the landing. So to say, the consequence of hitting those flakes and being out of control was severe. Too severe for our tastes so to the trail we headed and walked the slide and the falls below (the lower is essentially mandatory).
Downstream we made quick progress down to the main event for the day, Spånemfossen Falls. This falls had a bigger lead in that I remembered. Perhaps it was the flow. But we snuck around the lead in on the far right before ferrying back out into the main flow driving to the center and dropping our bows off the 25 foot drop that you hit with surprisingly quick pace. In typical “dainty” hand fashion, the paddle was ripped from my hands as I untucked prior to landing and I failed miserably at a few handroll attempts before giving up and swimming into the pool below. It ended up being the one swim for the group… which all things considered is impressive I guess. Just too bad it was me… as usual.
That evening we wanted to get a few more runs in the area before leaving the next morning, so we headed over to the Lower Mår for a quick afternoon lap.
Thanks to Harald Glanz for sharing photos.
Last: Norway 2015: Day 2 - Austbygdåi (California Section)
Next: Norway 2015: Day 3 Afternoon - Mår (Lower)
- We actually put in just a little ways downriver, so I am not 100% sure what was in the first mile. But the second mile was mellow with some class III warm-up rapids.
- A fun set of rapids appears.
Slides (III). The very first rapids we came to were a little ways in and were fun boogie rapids with obvious lines.
- Ledges Rapids (III to IV). The first rapid was on a bend to the right, we went far left and boofed the ledge. Downstream was a somewhat junky rapid that we boofed right of center.
- Ledge (IV). A little ways downstream was a ledge that Will scouted on the right. There was a boof off the right shoulder and over a rather large hole. Just downstream was a small bridge.
Things then started to get more consistent.
Big Ledge (IV+). A big ledge downstream with an equally big hole. You could sneak far right or boof right of center hitting the edge of the hole.
Bedrock (IV). Downstream there was some nice bedrock. The first one was a slide that wanted to be far left on to avoid a large hole in the middle. The second we went far left on to follow the line that we could see went. I think the middle also went.
Rapids (III to IV). There were some discrete rapids, but nothing overly hard.
Against the Wall (IV). We saw this one from the road, it looked like it would have a huge hole. As we approached Harry went to aggressively boat scout and found himself stuck in a hole, stuff in an overhang. Luckily he got himself out! We quickly scouted and found the rapid actually ramped out and only had a small hole. Much easier than we feared.
- First Slides (IV). The river opens up, you are near the road, and there is a big mountain wall to your right. The first drop was best run far left to avoid a weird fin rock in the middle. The next tier had an obvious line far right and a less obvious one left of center.
- Second Slide (IV+). The second big slide set had multiple lines. First we entered in the left channel and there was a decent sized hole there. Below, we ran down the far left down a shallow slide. The next part was the biggest and had lines left of center working all the way left, as well as far right. Scout either side from either side.
Big Hole (IV+ to V-). The next rapid had a quick ramp into a fold off of a ledge that dropped into a large hole. It turns out though as long as you were reasonably straight it kicked you right through. Will ran two laps!
- Big Slide (V to V+). Dang, such potential. A really long slide with a busy entrance section which then steepens and passes through a hole before tilting steeply and sliding down to a kicker and through one more hole. This drop looked so so fun. But the downside, just 50 feet downriver the river enters the rapid that leads to the un-run waterfall. The recovery space just did not look big enough at our flow to warrant the risk. So somewhat disappointedly, we walked on the left. This walk took us all the way around the falls. There was a trail but it also was not super great.
Portage Falls (U). A short rapid leads to a 35 foot falls with an autokicker and rocks in the landing. Walk on the left.
Boogie (III to IV). Boogie mellows out, for the most part it was class III with maybe one or two that were class IV.
- Spånemfossen Falls (V). Probably the main reason you are doing this run is for this falls. A class IV lead in leads to a busy ramp that then turns into a slide before launching you off of a 25 foot falls. The whole falls though not including the lead in rapid is probably closer to 35 feet. The idea is to be center or so, and to not boof. I feared an autoboof off of the slide part and I ended up landing over vert. I think the best bet is to not take a stroke and basically launch already tucked instead of trying to stroke it. Lesson Learned.
Some people continue on for another mile to the California Section Put-in. We took off here as we heard there wasn’t a whole lot worth while down there.
Take-out: From the town of Austbygdi, head up the river left side of the Austbygdåi for 10.0 km. There is a turn out (and sign I believe) for Spånemfossen Falls. If you get to the huge slide that is next to the river, you went 1-2km too far. Other choose to take out further downstream at the Put-in for the California Section.
Put-in: Continue up river for 11.6 km, as the main road turns to start a steep climb up the pass, take the left and drive for less than half a km to put on. We actually accessed the river a few km downstream when the river was close to the road as everything we saw upstream was flat water. Maybe we missed something, who knows.
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