For Information, maps, trailhead and route descriptions, click HERE.
For my part, this hike "began" when Odd Arne contacted me earlier in the week. Skiing on Sunday?, was the question. Odd Arne sent me an email back in April 2004, and we've been emailing since. But I had never met him. And since Odd Arne was back on home turf for a few days, I finally had a chance to meet him.
The trip in question for this Sunday was Breitinden. Geir and Svein would come along too. The weather forecast was excellent. The only "cloud on the sky" was an emerging inflammation under my left foot. On Saturday, I told myself to take it easy, and I had great success the first part of the day. But, as under some sort of wicked spell, I ended up on Søre Smørhylla (871m) Saturday evening.
My left foot was aching when I got up on this beautiful Sunday. I was so looking forward to this trip that bailing out was simply out of the question. I chose to drive my own car. I had heard rumours that Geir had plans for a couple of detours. Not knowing how well my foot would hold up, I wanted a fallback solution. Odd Arne and Svein drove together, and we met Geir at the Trollstigen trailhead.
We left the Trollstigen trailhead 09:20AM and carried our skis for 10-15 minutes. Except for a couple of snow-free pathes up along the river, this was a ski-trip almost from its beginning to its end. One of Geir's detours was Søndre/Søre Trolltind. This was a modest twin-top hump between Trollryggen and Breitind. But in these parts, small humps are not necessarily straightforward.
I had never seen Trolltindane from this angle before, and the sight was of the hard-to-forget kind. I discovered that Trollryggen - an independent top - was quite doable. Store Trolltind too, if one only can find the route. I'll certainly be back soon. Even if this is boulder territory, I'm not sure I'm gonna wait until next spring.
The northernmost of the twin-tops was easy to reach, and we had lunch just below the top. We could look 1500 vertical meters down into the beautiful Romsdalen valley. I looked towards Finnan, which Geir, Svein and I did in July 2006, and realized how damned lucky I was, being able to get to a place like this. And with such good company. Odd Arne was just as easy-going as I had anticipated. Svein - an excellent dude - knowing him fairly well after a number of walks and hikes together, and Geir - who had done most of the insane stuff there is to do in this part of Norway. Insane in this context is meant as an expression of admiration.
The southernmost of the twin-tops offered some short, yet partly exposed scrambling. But nothing of the difficult kind. When we reached the vertical cliff on the ridge, we just rounded the corner and found a good route up. It was hard to say which top was the higher. The map point was on the northernmost top, and according to my GPS (I only averaged over 30 seconds) the northermost top was perhaps 2-3m higher. Max.
The skis came back on in the S. Trolltind - Breitinden saddle. Ahead was a flank that I found a bit intimidating. My first reaction was to head over to the rocky west ridge and scramble on foot. But first, I had to *try* the flank. I'm fed up by bailing out on stuff that scare me. The first ZIG was OK. It headed towards the ridge, which was my exit plan anyway. The next ZAG was also OK. It headed towards a rocky field half-way up the flank. The final ZIG wasn't scary at all, and voila, the flank was done. What scares me about flanks like these, is that I might lose balance, slide, slide more, increase speed and then SNAP my knee cap. While I played soccer, my knee cap went out of position 1-2 times per year, and root canal work is NOTHING compared to a knee cap that is 90 degrees out of position (and no MEDIC around). At least six times, I've personally snapped the cap back in place. When I see a knee incident on TV, I THROW myself at the remote control. Just can't watch it. So there you have it - my flank-o-phobia.
From the flank, we had 100 vertical meters left of the ascent. We reached the (snow-free) top 13:55PM. Other skiers had already left, some were present and some were on their way. As seen through my zoom lens, Alnestinden was the busiest place this Sunday, with ski tracks ALL over the mountain.
I took my usual panorama pictures. With a sigh this time. There were just an incredible amount of mountains out there, and I pictured the work ahead. But it was good to be here. I knew that Breitinden would be on my top-10 list for 2007, and right now, it was in 2nd place after the Jostedalsbreen traverse. I remember feeling about the same joy when I was on Finnan in July 2006, and I ranked that trip as the 8th (!) best trip in 2006. That's the great part about "random mountaineering". No way of telling what happens next month. Or the month after..
The SW spur
We skied to the SW spur, took the skis off and scrambled (slightly exposed, but easy scrambling) down to the saddle that connected this spur to the Breitinden plateau. The ascent of the spur was just a plain walk, and we got some additional good views. Especially towards Mannen and the route via Alnesdalen.
There was no question about whether Geir and Svein would ski down on of the couloirs leading to Stigbotnen, but which? One looked interesting, perhaps too steep? Another less steep, but perhaps too soft?, etc., etc. After skiing down from Kvitnyken, I knew that I would handle these couloirs, but it would be more survival than fun skiing. I decided to join Odd Arne who had planned to descend our ascent route.
The ascent route scared me even more than the couloirs, for reasons mentioned above. Perhaps that's really why I chose to descend the flank. With slightly softer snow, I would run Telemark from the top of the flank. But the crust was getting just too hard for my taste. I ran diagonally down the upper ZIG, then half-way down the other ZAG and descended the rest of the flank in acceptable style.
Reaching the small plateau, I headed out the pass and down the steep flank along the ridge. I wondered where Odd Arne went. I couldn't see him. From the lower section of the flank, I had a very enjoyable descent into Stigbotnen. Odd Arne had technical troubles, but caught up. Pretty fast... Geir and Svein had found themselves a fine couloir, and we rendevouzed in Stigbotnen.
Upon our descent towards Trollstigen, we followed a higher route that offered consecutive snow. Just above the steepest part, a man waved his hands, telling us to go elsewhere. A person in that team had an accident, and the rescue helicopter was on its way in from Trollstigen. This accident bothered me. It was unfair that this person should end this fine day with an accident. The rescue helicopter lowered down ambulance personnel and returned to Trollstigen. Apparently, this person needed medical treatment before he or she could be evacuated.
We took another route down and were back at the trailhead 15:55PM. Another unforgettable trip in the Norwegian mountains had come to its end. Driving back to Ålesund with the car roof down, playing loud music, in 20+ deg. C. didn't make the day any worse. My foot wasn't bad at all. Skiing was certainly much better than walking. But when I woke up the next morning, I couldn't stand on this foot. A quick visit to the Doctor revealed a severe inflammation, and I was grounded for a week. On crouches. And the weather forecast? Sunshine. All week. No complaints, though. It was all worth it. Yes it was.
Svein's trip report can be found here
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To Lunch-spot near Søndre Trolltind
Across Søndre Trolltind
360 deg. wide-angle panorama from Breitinden
50mm panoramas from Breitinden, 2 parts
Zoom panoramas, various mm's
The SW spur
Descent from Breitinden
The rescue operation
Returning to Ålesund
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