field notes

Hedvig Wessel and Storen - The Mountain Decides

Hedvig Wessel describes her connection to the mountain that inspired her new signature collection.

The first time I climbed Store Skagastølstind (Storen) was in July 2022. It’s one of Norway's highest and most complex mountains, so I was motivated to climb it and intrigued by the difficulty, beauty, and adventure in front of me. We started with an evening approach, sleeping in our tent at the bottom of the mountain, and began our climb at 06:00. The climb went well. It was a long day mixed with scrambling, climbing, rappelling, glacier walking, and a long descent until, fourteen hours later, we got back to our car.

Having summited Storen in the summer, I wanted to go back and climb it in the winter. Storen is considered a very challenging winter climb, with a long approach and a vertical ice climb to the top. To climb it, you need to be a skilled skier and winter climber and know how to move on glacier terrain. Because the climb is a vertical wall, you want a team that you know and trust, and you need to be honest about the limits of your own skills. For our winter attempt, we had a crew of strong skiers with extensive training in snow safety, including a local mountain guide.

Storen would have been one of my most challenging winter climbs ever. Climbing it in the winter requires a clear weather window over multiple days, so there are not many days in a year where it's safe. Unfortunately, after looking at the avalanche report and discussing it with our guide, we all decided it was too risky to attempt to summit Storen that day. The avalanche danger was too high, and the weather was forecasted to be too warm. Of course, it's always disappointing when you cannot accomplish your goal, but we made the right safety call.

We decided to summit the mountain next to Storen. The skies were clear and sunny, and we walked with the view of Storen the whole day. The new route on the new mountain was reasonably straightforward, ending with a long traverse where we used crampons and an ice axe. The snow was cold and frozen at the beginning of the day, perfect for ski touring, and it turned to slush by afternoon. Once we reached the top, the sun started going down just as we put on our skis.

Even though we did not get to climb Storen that day, I feel good about the decision we made. No matter the mountain or the climb, it's such a wonderful feeling to be on top of the mountain for sunset. Sharing that moment and the view with friends is always the biggest reward for me.

Photos by: Sophie Odelberg

Hedvig Wessel Edition _ Store Skagastølstind