My name is Arnt Øyvind Flatmo. Born in Mo i Rana, Norway, Dec 16. 1963. I spent the infant years in Brønnøysund (northern Norway) before I moved to Nesodden outside Oslo and dedicated my childhood to soccer. After school and service in the Royal Norwegian Navy (Stavanger/Bergen), I began working for Aker Engineering in Oslo. After 11 years working with 3D-CAD software development, I joined Silicon Graphics (SGI) in Oslo, as a presale/systems engineer in 1995. In 1998 I moved to SGI's office in Bergen, before moving to Ålesund to join Rolls-Royce Marine as an Enterprise Application Interface (EAI) consultant in January 2006.
During the summers of 1998/1999, my friend Hugo Gunnarsen and I visited all 50 U.S states. An unforgettable experience. On this trip, my interest in mountains began to grow. To get closer to the Norwegian mountains, I joined our Bergen office late 98. Not many hours passed before I had done my first hike to Ulriken - the pride and joy of Bergen. It was a great hike, and I decided I would pursue this interest.
When I took my first steps as a novice hiker in January 1999, I started off well knowing that I knew nothing about the mountains. I didn't know anything about clothing, equipment, cooking, navigation, evaluating risks - the whole deal. Part of the inspiration was to learn through experience as well as enjoying the nature. Over time, I discovered 4 things that needed fixing; a) I had vertigo, b) My body didn't handle altitude > 13,000 feet particulary well, c) My skiing abilities sucked (I hadn't been skiing since I was 10 years old), and d) my risk assessment needed some work.
After roughly 5 years in the hiking trade, I have made some progress with the points mentioned above. The vertigo could be controlled with frequent visits to exposed and unfriendly terrain. The altitude problems could be worked around by taking the necessary time and following the necessary guidelines. Skiing got proportionally better with number of skiing trips and it's been a long time since I had to call the police and tell them that I was stuck on a silly mountain.
|I had given myself
a promise to end the 1st 5-year period with a mountain that I could be proud of.
The ascent of Mt. Blanc in 2003 and the G4
expedition to Greenland in 2004 stand as the highlights of the 1999-2004 period
which is now coming towards the end. I wish to take the opportunity to thank my
good friend Petter Bjørstad for
being a great source of inspiration, and for having a patience well above the average.
For the next 5-year period I aim to learn as much about mountaineering as possible, from a technical and operational point of view. I'm not through with the high mountains, even if every trip is a nightmare. I have more work to do on the vertigo, as I've discovered that I'm not much of a smartass unsecured in a 50 deg. steep snow wall.
in the good OLD days. Photo (c) Ståle Arild Grimen
||My vertigo was discovered in full on a stupid, unplanned descent of the south face of Slettmarkpiggen in Jotunheimen, August 1999. Clinging onto a steep mountain side (where fatality is less than one inch away) while the adrenaline is taking full control of your body, is something not easily forgotten. Anger is an interesting aspect when you realize that you're not in control of your own mind and body. I needed to work on this and found myself a steep (and dangerous) cliff on Mt. Ulriken that I had heard could be downclimbed. In the beginning, I was not able to stand on top and look down. I found the task impossible, but decided to visit this cliff as often as I could. Within one week, I was able to sit on top with my feet in loose air. Within the following week, I downclimbed additional 50cm every day, and before the month had passed, I had downclimbed the cliff. It felt, at the time, like it was the single most important event in my life. However, I still didn't feel that I had *control*. The adrenaline was way too strong. It wasn't until I was sitting on a rock near Gygrastolen summit, with my two feet above two different valleys, that I finally was able to trust my hands more than my fear. That hike changed everything. There are still some miles to go, but I'm on my way.|
My altitude problems were discovered in full on a way-too-soon ascent of La Plata Peak (4370m) in July 2000. We had been planning to do this hike "by the book", but headed for the top less than 48 hours after arriving Leadville. For many (if not most), this type of ascent cause no problems whatsoever. I'm just not that lucky. Arriving Leadville Medical Hospital, the doctor quickly concluded that I had AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) and told me to get out of town as soon as possible (Leadville is the highest city in the U.S). While doing his paperwork, I was handed an oxygen bottle. This gave immediate results, and I thought the problems were over. "Cool, now I could hike Mt. Elbert tomorrow" (the highest mountain in Colorado) I told the doctor. He took the oxygen bottle away from me and said he would be back within 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, I was running around in the hospital, looking for the doctor, very determined not to hike Mt. Elbert the day after.
In the summer of 2001, I went back to Colorado for a 14-day stay. The goal was to learn how to acclimatize. After 14 horrendous days (and a number of high peaks), I learned that I don't acclimatize when I descend afterwards. In 2002, I returned to Colorado, and discovered that if I only stayed long enough (at least 12 hours) at a given altitude, I would acclimatize to that altitude, and up to 500m higher. This was very useful knowledge when Bjørn and I went to Mt. Blanc in 2003. The acclimatization went just according to plan, and the ascent became a success.
My poor risk assesment was discovered in full when I had to call my mom on a hike to Lifjell (near Sognefjorden, Norway) and ask her to call the police. My cell phone was low on battery, darkness was on its way, I was facing -10 deg. C after sunset and I had no clear plans on how to get off this mountain. I had climbed up using a rope that was hanging down the mountain, with my dog in the backpack, and long before I reached the top, I had realized that this was not a good way down. The phone rang. It was the Balestrand police. They told me they would send a resque squad, but I refused. My pride just couldn't cope with that. I had extra warm clothes, plenty of food and I was quite willing to spend the night on the mountain, if necessary. I asked if they could get in touch with some locals and ask if there was a doable route down the mountain. My map was apparently only valid for summer. This was March, and all the routes (except the rope route) were iced down. 30 minutes later, a local farmer called and suggested a route. I was able to descend this route, and promised myself I would never - never - ascend a mountain unless I was bloody sure I knew how to get down from it. A very useful experience.
Looking at the Lifjell walls,
wondering if I ever would make it down.
Skjærseggi is somewhat a special mountain to me; to the best of my knowledge (per Feb 2006), I am the only person who has been on top of this mountain. The mountain (N68:59.585, W029:16.451) was ascended May 30 2004, 21:10PM while the rest of the G4 team were at the camp-site. I named this mountain, which may be translated to "Cutting Ridge". A glacier comes down on the back-side of the mountain, and makes a sharp left-turn, while joining the main glacier. This peak marks the end of a series of peaks along the upper glacier, "cutting" into the main glacier.
This is my buddy "Troll". A faithful little fellow that has been my buddy since 1993. He comes with me on most of the Norwegian peaks I visit. If I had published his "peak list", many fellow dachshunds would for sure have been envious. Or perhaps not. They don't mind the sofa, either. You can visit his page and picture gallery here.
Arnt Flatmo, Jan 2006
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