On July 1st the weather in Tromsø was grey and overcast. Hanneke and her colleague Trond were sitting in the meteorological office looking at a satellite image showing the sea of clouds when they noticed one dark pixel. That pixel was the top of Tromsdalstinden poking through the clouds. Almost since arriving in Tromsø I have dreamed about standing above the clouds on top of Tinden, but without a private meteorologist it was a difficult dream to realise. From Tromsø I could never see whether the top was above the cloud or just in the cloud. Today was my chance! So based on a single pixel I threw on some clothes, drove to the bottom of the mountain (instead of the office) and started climbing towards a layer of thick cloud and zero visibility. Hanneke and Trond thought the conditions might only last for a few hours, so I was against the clock. I left without breakfast and without charging the batteries for my GPS. A fist full of mars bars and a compass would have to do.
I headed to the top as fast as I could, but above 500 m I was hindered by a lot by deep snow which was still on the ground. I thought I could walk around the few patches that remained in July, but they were much bigger than I thought. Trudging through snow in the cloud was not much fun. I began to worry that it would be in vain. I hoped I hadn’t taken a day off just to wander around on my own in a cloud!
At 1000 m I was beginning to lose faith in the pixel, when I noticed a strange phenomenon. Here in the mist, rocks felt really warm to the touch. They must have seen some sun not long ago!! I stepped up the pace, and a patch of blue sky began to emerge through the mist. The cloud top was very well defined when I crossed it – within a few steps the visibility went from zero to almost infinite! It was like putting my head above the surface of a swimming pool.
The pictures below show the view from the top, about 100 m above the clouds. The peaks in the distance are the Lyngen Alps. I spent more than two hours on the top enjoying the sunshine in a t-shirt.
While on the top, I took this time-lapse video of the clouds sweeping past Tromsdalstinden. It was almost like standing on a ship and watching the waves roll past.
Just before I left another person emerged from the cloud below – he turned out to be a pilot who had seen the peak sticking out before landing in Tromsø. He had literally run up there afterwards! Another pilot promised to try and take a photo of him on the summit. That would have been a cool picture – but just before the plane was due to take off, the cloud level rose, and we were surrounded by the whiteness again! Nevermind – we were content in the knowledge that we had stolen ourselves an extra day of sun!