Millet Expedition Project

The Crossing of the Alps of Lyngen.

Olivier Fichou and Manon Wolanksi, two of the winners of the Millet Expedition Project, had a project to make the crossing of the Alps of Lyngen. The aim was to climb one icy summit per day and to consider the opening of several trails on a few little-known Norwegian summits.

After a 6-day preparation in self-sufficiency in Switzerland allowed them to test their equipment, the conditions, and the logistics, Olivier Fichou and Manon Wolanksi succeeded in their expedition to Norway in the Alps of Lyngen.

fichou, wolanski, mxp


THE EXPEDITION: JULY 3rd: the date of the departure from Nice, up to Tromso, above the Arctic circle. JULY 4th: "Bike, stop, and ferry to Lyngseidet. This is the only 'city' that we cross during the expedition itself. It marks the junction between the NORTH part of the Alps of Lyngen, where we are supposed to spend 4 days, and the SOUTH part where we are to stay for 6 days. We therefore have at our disposal at Lyngseidet: gas, freeze-dried provisions for 6 days, batteries, and maps of the SOUTH part. This allows us to lighten our load for the NORTH part." FROM THE 5TH TO THE 8TH OF JULY: As regards the NORTH part, the weather complicated everything, never facilitating the task for the two lovers, who found their way mainly with their GPS, good visibility being absent. They still managed to climb two of the three summits planned, including one of 1172 meters and the NORTH face of the Stovelfjellet of 1464m. Unfortunately, faced with having to abandon the last one, they took the opportunity to go back to Lyngseidet and rework their itinerary for the South side, fearing different weather conditions.

fichou, wolanski, mxp


FROM THE 9TH TO THE 11TH OF JULY: Fully loaded with gear (more than 20 kilos on their backs!) but this time with the sun, it was time to attack the South part of the project and to approach the objective: the Rundfjellet. But alas, the North face isn't practical because of several avalanches which would make the expedition too dangerous. So, Olivier and Manon set their sights on the east side.

fichou, wolanski, mxp


fichou, wolanski mxp


fichou, wolanski

<strong"July 10th, midnight - July 11th: Waking Up. It is beautiful outside, the sun is due North. We exit the camp at 1 am, leaving the tent, mattresses, duvets, food, and gas there."

"At 1:30 am, we arrive at the foot of the east face of the Rundfjellet. The light is exceptional, we get ourselves equipped and start out on the trail at 2:00 am. The first part is done quickly, but the snow is deep and without consistency. (...) And then, the corridor is steep, 60°, with outcroppings of rock making progress more difficult. We arrive at 10m from the summit, under the feared slab of rock."

fichou, wolanski, mxp


"Then we arrive under the ledge, it must be1.5m high, overhanging slightly. With a good relay on wedges and after a few not particularly aesthetic steps (on knees, elbows), we were at last able to clear the 500m of this EAST face of the Rundfjellet. Happy, we reached the summit of a beautiful ridged peak in 10 minutes. It is 5:30 am. The view is fantastic: The fjords bordering the Lyngen peninsula, the large glacial massif of the NORTH part where we had suffered so much, the rest of the SOUTH part and its large glacial stretches that we still have to cross."

fichou, wolanski, mxp

After 30 minutes on the summit, the weather quickly became overcast so we didn't lose any time before beginning our descent. The clouds which enveloped us in the 6 am light of morning offered a rare spectacle.

fichou, wolanski, mxo

"We crossed over the North face: What a joy it was to see that the outcroppings of ledge were actually impassable with over 5m of soft and overhanging snow! So, no regrets. At 7:30 am, we were getting close to the tent, but could no longer see anything at all. Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to mark its location in the GPS device, naively thinking that the weather would be beautiful! Fortunately, after 15 minutes of searching, a sunny spell allowed us to see the tent, which was at least 30m from us." JULY 11TH, continued: The weather being decidedly uninviting, it seemed wiser for Olivier Fichou and Manon Wolanski to head down toward the coast, calling it a day, and a fantastic day at that. "In the early afternoon, a Norwegian guide gave us a RIDE to Tromso. And it is with a big smile that he confirmed to us that we were the first to have set foot on this face! "