The name Storhaugen (The Big Hill) is perhaps descriptive for this mountain, but nevertheless Storhaugen offers a nice hike/ski-trip as well as fine views. The normal starting point is the place Fiksdal by Tomrefjorden, a side arm of Moldefjorden/Romsdalsfjorden/Storfjorden, whichever is correct.
A forest road takes you well into the forest, which makes for a good start. The terrain is easy and there are no difficulties along the way, other than a slightly steep hill that may not please those who isn't comfortable with skiing at all.
The mountain has a connecting ridge to Oterfjellet, which together with Melen and Frostadtinden form a mountain triangle around Lake Mellivatnet. The peak Melen looks fantastic while ascending Storhaugen, and you can enjoy views down towards Fiksdal and Tomra as well as Molde and the wide fjord.
Storhaugen (M711: 769m, Ø.K.: 770,40m, GPS: 773m, UTM 32 V 391132 6941431) has a primary factor of 425m towards the higher parent mountain Melen (807m). The defining saddle (approx. UTM 32 V 390198 6940366) is found in Oterskaret, between Oterfjellet and Storhaugen. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (5m contours), the saddle is within the range 345m-350m, interpolated to 348m.
Note: Økonomisk Kartverk has to be wrong regarding Storhaugen. There are three notable points; a) the northern viewpoint, 770,40m on Ø.K., b) the high point, 769m on Ø.K. and the SW viewpoint, 768m on Ø.K. Ø.K. suggests that the trig. point is higher than the high point 74m further SW. This is wrong.
I measured the SW viewpoint for 10 minutes, and the average height was 772m. I measured the high point (for a brief moment) to 776m, but I have subtracted 3m (just in case) so the high point is 1m higher than the SW viewpoint (this is also in line with Ø.K., relatively speaking). The trig. point was (briefly) measured to 772m, which is too high. I am not sure what the error margin was up here, but it seems probable that the high point is approx. 773m. Since Ø.K. is incoherent, I have chosen to use my own readings.
Notes: Class ratings are in reference to YDS. Click here for more information.
The trails described below are not necessarily the *easiest* trails to this mountain.
Fiksdal - Storhaugen (winter)
From Ålesund, follow highway E136->E39 towards Åndalsnes. From the E136/E39/Olsvika roundabout near Breivka, follow E39 approx. 13,3Km. Turn left onto highway RV661 (Skodje/Brattvåg/Vatne). After 1,5Km, pay toll at an unmanned toll booth (coins + credit cards + AutoPass). Approx. 9,7Km after you left E39, you reach the RV659 (Brattvåg)/661(Vatne) junction. Turn right and drive the remaining 17,5Km up Vatnedalen and down Nakkedalen valleys to Fiksdal. Turn right in the Fiksdal junction and drive 1,5Km to a bus stop. Find parking nearby.
Follow a tractor road up to a fence. Here you will join a forest road that traverse the north ridge at 60m elevation. Turn right onto this forest road and follow it approx. 900m and then turn left onto another forest road. Keep an eye out for this road as it is easy to miss.
The forest road runs approx. 800m in the forest, up to 180m elevation. From here on, just head up the open forest. Once out of the forest, you have a steep hill ahead of you. This is not exposed terrain, as long as you stay away from the east side of the ridge. Above this hill, the terrain levels and rises gently towards a "false top". From this top you have the summit in view.
As mentioned in the "Primary factor" section above, you will first arrive the trig. point. The high point is approx. 70m further SW. Another viewpoint is found 150m SW of the high point. There is no cairn that marks the high point or the SW viewpoint. Descend your ascent route.
For some reason, I had no desire to visit ANY mountain when I woke up this morning. I couldn't see any of the Haram mountains from my window, because of fog. Down came a mix of snow and rain and I really felt for staying indoors.
Later in the morning, the weather seemed to clear up, and many of the Sunnmørsalpene peaks were seen when I was out buying newspapers. There was even sunshine above. It was too late in the day to cross the fjord, so I decided to take a quick trip to Vestnes and visit Storhaugen. First of all, I had never driven further than Reset in Vatnedalen, and second, I wanted to see Melen from the north.
At Fiksdal, I parked by the road, close to the lower end of the north ridge. I put my snowshoes on, and after installing my dog "Troll" in the backpack, I was on my way 13:45PM. I met a farmer who told me that there was a forest road I could follow for a while. Once on this forest road, the snow was hard enough to carry the dog, and Troll was let out. Perhaps it was the scent of deer having recently passed that made him forget about the usual protests.
I'm normally not too keen about forests, but this one was nice. It was open, easy to walk in and had a "mood" that I can't explain. It gradually got steeper without cumbersome parts. Moreover, the snow remained solid and I pictured the dog would walk all the way to the top. There were deer tracks all over the forest and I got busy getting the dog to focus on OUR direction. It was snowing light, and the weather wasn't the best. But it wasn't raining, and it might just clear up.
Out of the forest, a steeper hill awaited before we could take on the gentle section of the north ridge. We stayed on the east side of the ridge and had fine views down towards Tomrefjorden. Troll followed willingly in the trail I broke, but there was overall little snow on the mountain. Skiing wouldn't have been fun at all, and snowshoes was certainly the right choice for the day.
We reached the cairn with the visitor's register 15:35PM and signed in. We were visitor's 2 & 3 in 2006. The last visit was in the middle of January. While the locals may be visiting this hill frequently during summer and autumn, this may be place to go if you want solitude in winter. But we were not on the high point and moved on towards the SW viewpoint and I was confident that I was looking back up towards the top I passed earlier (the high point). Then the sun broke through and it was a lovely day. For the first time this winter, I didn't have to wear the wind-jacket or gloves on the summit. Was this the first day of spring?
Troll had certainly earned his lunch-box and got busy while I took pictures. We then turned back around, and there was no doubt that Troll would walk all the way down as well. Not bad for a 12,5 years old dachshund, measuring 23cm above sea level. As the ridge got steeper on the way down, it became difficult to move graciously on snowshoes. I had to descend the steepest hill backwards. This felt a bit stupid, but I didn't want to slide down the hill.
We were back at the trailhead 16:45PM and were met by the local farmer, being curious about our trip.
Two wide-angle panos, the first nearly 360 deg.
50mm panorama, medium quality
Misc. zoom views
Back in Ålesund
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Melen north ridge pictures from this hike
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