Trollvasstind seen from the saddle
Trollvasstinden is a magnificient mountain located south of Volda in Møre og Romsdal Fylke. This peak, like most of the surrounding mountain in this region is very characteristic, with three ridges leading up the summit. Bytingstinden, a sub-peak, must be passed when hiking from the south, and a narrow and exposed saddle connect the two peaks.
The saddle is along highway RV14, south of lake Storesætervatnet. The 5m contours end on each side of the highway, just before a road that exits to the right (Skytebane). The last 5m contours are 285m, giving an interpolated saddle of 283m and a primary factor of 1002m. Bytingstinden's primary factor is well below 100m, and has not been estimated.
Based on Petter Bjørstad's research, Trollvasstinden is the 83rd highest mountain in Norway, in terms of primary factor (84 mountains have a primary factor of more than 1000m).
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
The below route runs from Bjørkedalen, up towards Laurdalssætra, into the valley between Storetuva and Litletuva, up the ridge towards Bytingstinden, and across the ridge towards Trollvasstinden. The summer route runs below Bytingstinden summit, into the saddle. This is probably a class 2+ route. The route described below runs from Bytingstinden summit to the saddle and has one class 4 point and a couple of class 3 points down towards the saddle. The route from the saddle to Trollvasstinden is 2+. The hike from Bjørkedalen to Bytingstinden is class 1.
Bjørkedalen - Bytingstinden - Trollvasstinden (winter, across ridge)
More details will follow on how to get to lake Bjørkedalsvatnet.
When coming from south, and arriving lake Bjørkedalsvatnet, pass the exit towards "N. Bjørkedal." Continue for a few hundred meters, cross a small bridge, and after a few hundred meters, exit left towards Bjørkedal. Drive straight forward on a narrow road until it forks. Find parking nearby.
There is a 3-way fork at the road junction. The road to the left runs to the nearest farms. The road to the right runs towards a camping area. The road straight ahead (2 o' clock) is the forest road you will follow. Follow the main forest road upwards in the direction of Laurdalssætra. At approx. 400m, exit onto a forest road that forks right. After approx. 100m, look for a red stick that indicates the summer trail through the forest. Since the map was published, another forest road has been made. So, higher up on the main forest road, exit right onto the new road. This will save you from considerable amount of forest. Follow the new road until you reach the stream that comes down from the valley, and find a route up on the left-hand side (facing the valley above). Do not cross the stream. The forest road doesn't continue for long.
Above the forest, you enter the Tuvedalen valley between Storetuva and Litletuva. Both ridges will take you onto the mountain, but the best thing is two go straight forward, and go up between two gullies. Onto the mountain, climb the ridge to point 1073, from where you get summit view. Continue up to the foothills of Bytingstinden, where you should leave the skis. Hike up to Bytingstinden summit and continue northbound a few meters on the narrow ridge before the ridge drops significant.
Towards the left, notice a passage that takes you to a level below. The passage is a rock that can be passed either on the left or the right. The right hand side is more exposed than the left, but technically easier. If you have a sling, seat the sling in the rock, and use the sling to descend to the level below. This is the hardest part on the route, graded to US class 4. Continue climbing down the same direction until you reach the snow. Pass the lower rocks and get back on the ridge. Continue on the ridge until you reach a new significant drop. Backtrack a couple of meters and descend to the snow again. Follow the snow until you reach the saddle. From the saddle, hike on the ridge to the summit. The summit is small, and contains a cairn and a trig point. Descend your ascent route.
Petter Bjørstad and I spent the night at a motel in Nordfjordeid, after the ski trip to Glitregga the day before. As the trip had been a skiing experience in less optimal conditions, I was quite pessimistic while watching the snow still falling in late evening. The evening weather forecast then promised gorgeous weather the next day. It was hard to believe. Were we the blessed ones?
After a quite stormy night, the misery weather went away, and we identified stars early the next morning. A good sign. We drove off towards the trailhead twentysome kilometres away, and began skiing 08:50AM, just as it was getting light. Due to the recent snowfall, we had to park at 40m. As we were starting 400m lower than the day before, and at roughly the same hour, I was eager to make up time. After 1 hour, we had scaled more than 400m, but now were running out of forest roads. After a quite cumbersome route through the forest, we finally got to the basin between Storetuva and Litletuva. I was curious on how steep it was up to the higher ridge, but it was no big deal. After a lot of zig-zags, we finally reached the point from where we could see the Trollvasstinden summit.
The concern was that the trail on the map ran below Bytingstinden. In summer, this is probably a straight-forward hike, but in winter there was just snow and a steep hill-side. The plan was to reach the saddle through a scramble down Bytingstinden. 50m below Bytingstinden, we traded the skis for crampons and axe. Within a couple of minutes we were on the Bytingstinden summit and quickly resolved two issues: a) The hike from the saddle to Trollvasstinden looked quite doable. b) It was quite steep down to the saddle. Petter went to the edge of the summit and started looking for a way down. I was mentally preparing not to burst into tears if he came back and told me it looked impossible (joke). I was happy just to be on this peak. But then he yelled for me, and I know that yell. Oh well, here we go again...
The first (immediate) obstacle was getting down a series of small ledges. Thanks to a sling, we had sufficient safety during the first move. This was also the hardest part on the entire route. Climbing face out with crampons on rock, requires caution. But the remaining part of the route down to the snow wasn't all bad. Even though I had to actively search for hand- and footholds at places. We used the snowline beneath the ridge when the ridge got too nasty, and got to the saddle without any problems. The route up to the summit was quite easy. No problems, although caution was called for. The ridge was indeed narrow.
We reached the summit 13:25PM and I was tired. The ascent had been a piece of hard work. And here I was in totally breathtaking landscape, not quite able to enjoy the achievement. It was cold and windy on the ridge, despite the beautiful weather. I was a little worried about time vs. darkness, and wanted to return instead of having a longer summit break. But I was amazed over the scenery. I knew we had spectacular mountains in this region, but seeing it for yourself is a whole different thing. And from what a viewpoint!
Crossing over to Bytingstinden went without problems, but this time we had the time to comprehend how steep our route was at times. Just below the summit, the sling came in very handy at the crux of the route. Not having been on skis for more than 6 months, and being a novice skier alltogether, the 1200m descent to the car was awful. I stopped counting how many times I fell backwards or forwards down the mountain. I fell backwards over icy pitches, as the skis accelerated. And I fell face down in deep snow where the skis came to a halt. But 15:35PM we were back at the car, well ahead of the darkness. Another 6 hours drive back to Bergen laid ahead of us, but after a trip like this, the length of the drive was less significant.
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