28-Mar-2004 -- I first heard about this extremely interesting project just two weeks ago (on The BBC World Service) when my wife and I were holydaying in The Canaries.
I must admit I became an addicted confluence hunter immidiately. And as soon as I got back to Alta, I started checking the confluence points in my neighbourhood. N70E23 had not yet been successfully visited, and it wasn´t far away.
So then, last Sunday, after a cloudy morning with thick snowfall that seemed to put a stop for our little expedition, it cleared up around noon and gradually became one of these magical winter days (spring is yet far away up here at 70°N), with intense, bright arctic light reflected from the fairly steep snowy mountainsides surrounding the fjord. The temperature reached a high of ¸ 2°C . A friendly 4 m/s SE wind made it quite pleasant spending the whole day up in the western mountains of the magnificent Altafjord.
My son and I took off south from the E6 some 30 km south of Alta; at the end of the straight 700 m long stretch in the bottom of Melsvik (the last syllable "-vik" means bay in English).
Then we followed a dirt road (unmarked) some 300 meters to a gravel pit.
After parking the car a little past noon, we soon realized that the crusty snow conditions would make walking much more comfortable than skiing. We therefore left our skies behind in the car.
It turned out that besides the few spots where the sun had melted the top layer of the crust, we could easily walk on the crust surface, without falling through the layers of snow underneath. But occationally we did; especially the heavy one of us. And every now and then the bold father for a short while were just as helpless as a bear in a pitfall!
We also knew that we within less than 2 km had to ascend about 450 meters.
With proper boots, but without crampons, we started on the steepest climb a little less than 1 km NE from the confluence point.
On a narrow plateau, half a km before the last little climb up to the point, we rested and took some fine shots along the Altafjord towards the island Seiland (the 5th largest in the country) that lies as a fender in the north just outside the mouth of the fjord, and calms the rough seas from The Artic Ocean.
From the plateau we reached the confluence point (elevation 452 m) easily in just minutes, and "The confluence dance" began!
During the photo session some half an hour later, our fingers turned more and more white, cold and stiff! (all those small buttons on cameras and other fancy electronic equipment, why don´t they make them bigger - for use with mittens on in cold regions ?)
We send our best wishes to the whole Kuflik family who made a bold attempt to reach the point in Aug. 2002. We had much more time available, and of course also benefit from the fact that we live in this region. (We can asure the Kufliks that we met no angry moskitoes; they are probably resting, gaining strength and patiently waiting for the first tourist to arrive this summer season).
Now we´re aiming for N70E24.