Hammarsettindane and Urfjellet
Urfjellet is the high point on the extremely wild and rugged Hammarsettindane arete, located near Sykkylven on Sunnmøre. While the Hammarsettindane peaks can only be traversed via difficult climbing (up to Norwegian grade 6), Urfjellet can be reached on skis from the south side. This is the route described on this web-page.
Urfjellet is also the highest point on the mainland north of highway E39 between Sykkylven and Stranda. This region contains other high tops such as Roaldshornet (1230m), Auskjeret (1203m) and Aurdalsnibba (1126m).
Directly translated into English, Urfjellet can be refered to as "Boulder mountain", or preferrably, "Boulder Peak". Perhaps all the more reason to visit this top in the skiing season. Through its relatively high primary factor (919m), Urfjellet offers superb views, as the pictures on this web-page will prove.
Urfjellet (M711: 1267m, Ø.K.: -, UTM 32 V 379931 6912601) has a primary factor of 919m towards the higher parent mountain Holetindane (1330m). The defining saddle (approx. UTM 32 V 383848 6912643) is found just south of Lake Sætrevatnet by Fjellsæter Fjellstue. This lake drains to Storfjorden via Lake Nysætervatnet, while the stream from Lafjellet drains into Velledalen. The saddle is found between the stream and the lake. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (5m contours), the saddle is within the range 350m-345m, interpolated to 348m.
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.
Hjorthol - Urfjellet (all seasons)
From Ålesund, follow highway E39 towards Bergen, and then highway RV60 (Stranda) to the Magerholm - Ørsneset ferry. This ferry runs quite often; every 20 minutes in the busy hours of the day. From Ørsneset, follow RV60 (Stranda) approx. 16,6Km into Velledalen. Turn right towards "Brunstad" and follow this road 600m to a junction with recycling bins and mailboxes. Find parking nearby without blocking for ANY kind of other traffic.
Follow a path to the left of the houses up to the main road (RV60). Cross the road and find the start of a forest road a few meters to your left. Follow this forest road up 1Km (ignore the forest road forking off to the left along the way) and focus on locating a path that runs into the forest, on your left-hand side. The forest road you are on ends 80m ahead.
Follow the forest path north/northwest from 230m to 450m elevation. The path turns east/northeast and heads up to the Koppen pass (approx. 520m elevation). Continue northeast across Svadfjellet up to 800m elevation, where you follow the final hill (Storfjellet) to the top.
In order to reach the high point cairn, you must pass a short, exposed section which may require ice-axe/crampons if this section is icy or if there is a cornice that forces you to walk along the side of the cornice. I have no knowledge about this section when there is no snow.
This was the first day of my friend Petter's two-day stay in Ålesund. A forecast that promised outstanding weather made him book a flight on short notice. Urfjellet was Petter's choice, picked from his list of the FINEST Møre og Romsdal mountains. I had been looking at the Hammarsettindane arete from various mountains since I moved to Ålesund, and I had not in my wildest dreams pictured that I would be standing on the high point 14 days after moving here.
I was slightly concerned about carrying my little dog Troll all the way to the summit, but we just had to make the best of it. Perhaps he would be able to walk for a short distance. That would be a bonus. In addition to skis, we brought ice-axes and crampons. No telling what might be needed on a mountain such as this, although the information that was available to us didn't report any particular challenges.
We had an early start from Ålesund and could enjoy the dawn along the way to Sykkylven. We quickly located the forest road at Hjorthol. Me, the eager beaver, had seen a tiny turnout alongside the highway and attempted a clever parking. This resulted in the car being dead stuck in the snow, and we had to dig our way out of this problem. 30 minutes later, we found it best to park down at Brunstad, and by 09:40AM, we were on our way. The snow conditions allowed Troll to walk by himself - an early bonus on my account.
A forest road fork made us a bit confused, and after some skiing back and forth, we found the forest path. Someone had walked up here earlier in the season, and the tracks were HIGHLY welcome. Not only did they point the way up the forest, but they also made it possible for Troll to keep on walking. The skis had to come off here. Even with skins, this forest was too steep for skiing.
The tracks ended at a viewpoint at approx. 450m elevation. Troll entered the backpack, and we could put the skis back on. We continued up to the Koppen pass, where we had the rest of the route in clear view. From distance, the hill didn't seem that big. But we had still 750 vertical meters ahead of us. Certainly, the remaining distance would call for some effort.
As promised, the weather was just amazing. It was the first week of January. The sky was crystal clear and no winds, whatsoever. Opposite to normal, I had to remove layers of clothing proportionally to the vertical gain. Sometimes one experience days when the body isn't the perfect co-player, and I had one of these days with headache and aching shoulders. I became very tired as we took on the final 400m hill, and the damned hill NEVER seemed to end. But of course it did, at last, and by 13:15PM, we were standing on the top of Urfjellet.
I looked down on Hammarsettindane - the "pinnacles from hell" and the countless peaks in all directions. And became speachless. It was a landscape beyond comprehension. And I was relieved about the fact that Hammarsettindane were NOT our descent route. The summit point wasn't a wide spot. Petter and I had to carefully exchange positions when taking panoramic pictures. Troll was firmly secured in the backpack. I didn't care how much as he wanted to get out of there, this was not a place for a dog. The short ridge to the summit point was airy, but very unproblematic with the current snow conditions. One could walk back and forth without using the ice-axe.
It was time to head back down, which I didn't look forward to. With a dog, camera, GPS, ice-axe and crampons in the backpack, falling was rather out of the question. With good snow, this wouldn't have been a concern, but the steep hill contained a mix of small cornices, icy crust and powder snow. We also noticed tracks from Telemark skiers that obviously had better skiing conditions some days earlier.
We made it down to Koppen, safe and sound. Back at the 450m viewpoint, Troll was free to walk again. And by 15:05PM, we were back at the Brunstad trailhead. A wonderful 5,5 hour trip was over, and we could begin focusing on the goal for the next day - Blåskjerdingen.
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