Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal
Storbotnshornet (failed attempts), Aug 9 2008
Storbotnshornet main page will be added when the summit has been visited...
On this Saturday, I was about to give Storbotnshornet a try. There are no easy ways up this mountain, so I would need OK weather. yr.no had yellow symbols on the forecast, which is a good color for hikers. I drove out of Ålesund with the roof down, playing loud music and being in a very good mood.
Passing Skodjevika, it started to rain. Light at first, then more. 70Km/h was just enough to keep raindrops from falling on the seats and me. The folks in the car behind me must have figured me for a weird-o. The wipers were doing medium-speed, and I guess it looked a bit odd. I began pondering on a plan B, but as my mind had been so focused on Storbotnshornet, I decided to stay true to my plan. It was just raining. No low clouds or anything. So what if I got wet? The temperature was still good.
Having been to Storheimshornet in 2006, I remembered the trailhead and the path. I was on my way 2:20pm, passed Jasvollsætra 2:40pm and Botnastølen 3:05pm. From here, it was all new terrain. Ahead of me was a 3Km walk before I could begin my ascent of the mountain. Fortunately there was a vague path halfway through the valley, which at least helped me maintain a fair pace.
A friend had told me that reaching Storbotnshornet on the north ridge wouldn't be too hard. So that's where I was heading. But first, I had to pass a huge slab section. The rock was still fairly dry, so I got up by stepping on minor slab folds here and there. But if it kept on raining, I wouldn't be able to descend exactly this way. My direction was straight towards the summit. As I reached the snowfields in the basin, I adjusted my course towards the north ridge.
I remembered my friend saying something about "you will need to descend
and what he meant was quite
obvious when I was standing on the ridge with a 15-20m drop below me.
"Holy cow, this is serious", was my
So now what? Go to Grytavasstinden instead? Not now that the east ridge had caught my attention. I could see a huge step on the east ridge, but perhaps it could be bypassed? I went back to the snowfield. But before moving on to the east ridge, I tried to climb up back to the north ridge via a small cleft. This might have worked for a proper climber, but I didn't have the guts. The rock was wet. The moss was wet (and loose) and it was steep.
I glissaded down the snowfield until I reached the entry point for the east ridge.
The glissade had it's nerve,
as I could NOT afford any weak points in the snow. That would mean I would be
trapped below the snow and be gone
The east ridge was broad in the beginning, but turned narrow at 1300m elevation. It wasn't raining anymore, it was hailing! I wiped snow off my jacket, and the rock was slippery as soap. Sections which would have been easy on dry rock were now out of the question. I had to find alternative ways around small problems. At 1320m, I ran into the big step. It was of the sort which wasn't too hard to climb (YDS 4), but *I* couldn't easy climb back down. I would have to rappel this section, and since I had already abandoned this idea on the north ridge, I knew my ascent would end here. I took a good look at the remaining route, which was much easier than the problem in front of me. I was convinced that I could easily get up and down this route on dry rock, but I would need to bring proper gear for a rappel.
That would be another day. My focus now turned towards the descent, which would be serious enough. First, there was the boulder on the east ridge. I made it back down to the snowfield without incidents, and now I had the choice of sliding down the snow, or scrambling down the mountain. I chose the snow, although the lower snowfields looked less safe. At one point, I made a sudden stop. There was no evident reason for my inner alarm to go off, but it did. I poked the axe in the snow in front of me, and it was like cutting butter. I carefully backtracked and moved onto the slabs.
The slabs had turned really nasty by now. Slippery like soap. The whole basin was just a huge slab area, but in-between the slab folds, small boulder had piled up. I could use these rocks as braking points, and I was able to get back down to the river without big drama.
Walking this long valley wasn't so fun now that I didn't have a peak to show for, but I was able to change my mindset and concluded that it had been a nice trip after all. I was convinced I had made all the right decisions, even though the feeling of defeat was hard to shake off. I was back at the car 8:40pm, after walking almost 18Km. The sun was now shining, like the forecast had promised. Only a few hours too late...
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 300D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
The north ridge
The east ridge