Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal
Melen north ridge, June 29 2006
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Ever since I "discovered" that the big hump Melen actually had a wild north side, I had been looking forward to this day. The "word" was that Melen's north ridge is challenging, and that ropes may be needed. In addition, it is emphasised that the rock needs to be dry, and that snow is a no-no.
This Thursday afternoon was a very nice one, and I decided to pay the north ridge a visit. I left Reset trailhead 16:45PM and initially followed the path towards Frostadtinden before I adjusted the course. After crossing a meadow, I ran into the path from Reset (which I didn't know about). I followed the path all the way to the top, which I reached 17:30PM. 500 vertical meters in 45 minutes wasn't too bad, given the detour I had. I was sweating rather hard, and attracted a "storm" of flies. As I hate flies, the ascent wasn't all that fun.
I headed directly for the north ridge, which is intially wide enough and easy. It didn't take long before I reached the hardest point on the route (assuming you are heading northbound). The ridge dropped 2-2,5m and there was no way around. The ridge below was very narrow, and it was extremely airy. I took off the backpack, sat down on the ridge and prepared the moves. It seemed to be within what I could manage.
By placing my hands on two different rocks, I would be able to hold myself in the air, and gradually lower myself to the rock below. I put on the backpack and got on with it. A very, very scary feeling rushed through my body when the backpack got stuck. Actually, I'm not sure if it got stuck or if I wasn't just able to lift the bottom of it, off the rock I was sitting on.
So there I was, literally caught between a rock and a hard place. Recent arm training paid off, and I was able to get the backpack off the rock. I lowered myself and my left boot touched the rock below. But the rock was loose, and moved slightly on contact! By now, my arms were tired, and I had to get down on the ridge. I decided to let myself go, and throw myself onto the ridge (I had to descend with Melskarsvatnet below me). It went well, and I noticed that the loose rock was put in place by someone. I didn't like this part of the route, and needed a minute to lower my pulse before moving on.
After further scrambling along the ridge, I came to a col that cut the ridge in two parts. Descending into the col wasn't hard. The climb up on the other side wasn't technically difficult, but very airy. I imagine the cliff above was approx. 8m high. There was a small cave half-way that provided safety in the terrain. The rest of the traverse was fairly easy. The ridge remained narrow, but without any further difficulties.
I followed a vague path until it faded away (or I simply lost it). I had still 50m of descent before I reached the safe forest. I chose a route that was steep, and I had to use trees to hang on. I imagine this part isn't necessary if you take the time to find the best route.
The flies were overwhelming and almost ruined the day. When I reached the stream that runs down Nakkedalen, I soaked myself, hoping they would disappear. They didn't. The remaining 3Km on asphalt road up to Reset with a "fly-storm" above my head was no fun. Back in the car, I let the joy of having traversed this fine mountain, sink in.
The north ridge, crux #1
Final pitch + descent
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