For Information, maps, trailhead and route descriptions, click HERE.
I was invited to this trip by my friend Torill Berg. She, in turn, had been invited by friends of hers. She had told me about trips they had done together, and it was no doubt that this was a strong and experienced group. The other five were Leif-Erling, Inka, Nils-Idar, Hildegunn and Lars Jarle. From here and there in the Stordal - Sykkylven region.
I was thrilled about this invitation. Foremost, because Brekketindane were certainly on the top shelf of Sunnmøre mountains, and a type of mountain that I couldn't easily stroll to, on my own. Secondly, perhaps if I behaved well, I might get another invitation to come along on other trips. Yes, little by little I'm turning human. I actually appreciate a good trip with good company. Those who have seen my hiking log from the past years, may not have got that impression...
I was waiting for the 08:30AM ferry from Magerholm. All of my equipment was in the trunk, including the car roof. I decided to kill time by going over the technical stuff (ropes, crampons, axe, carabiners, slings, the works..) Shock horror! I wasn't able to open the trunk! The usual buzz was not there, and I had the "COME ON! GIMME A BREAK" look all over my face.
I found the car manual (!) and looked up the page about the roof and the trunk. Apparently, there was a device under my seat. I searched and found a small metal "stick". I returned to the manual to learn what I was supposed to do with this stick. Next on the to-do list was to pop out a wire hidden inside the chassis, near the door. I put the "stick" through the wire's head, pulled and suddenly, the good old buzz was heard again. I was very relieved, as I was the one who had the rope.
To the glacier
We met at Esso in Stranda - the usual rendevouz point for people coming from near and far. Then we drove up to Liasætra and were all ready to go by 09:50AM. The weather was brilliant I was slightly nervous about my left foot. The inflammation had not left the system, but I had no problems walking. The day before, I visited Storbua and Sandfjellet, carrying my dog across. If the combination of backpack weight + rocky terrain didn't make my foot any worse, then I should be fine on Brekketinden too.
The group kept a crazy pace up the valley. This was just fine by me. I've said it before - I'm not much of a valley hiker. I wanted to get to the mountain foothills as fast as I could. After approx. 1h:20m, we crossed the river and headed towards Brekketinden glacier. The snow was gone on the lower part of this route. When we reached snow, we roped up. From what I was told (Nils-Idar and Lars Jarle had been to Brekketinden before), this glacier was of the kind sort. Nevertheless, since we had brought a 50m rope, we might as well use it.
To the ridge crest
On top of the glacier, a tongue extends to the ridge crest in winter/early spring. Arriving too late in the season, and you will have challenges here. We seemed to arrive in the nick of time. The snowmelt had created nasty "crevasses" (wrong word, since it's snowmelt, but you know what I mean..) and there was only one logical route left, up this hill.
We discussed how to approach this. I decided that I didn't want to be in a roped team. While the snow was far less steep than I had thought it would be, it was still steep enough to cause problems for the whole party, if one should fall. I guess my point of view caused a certain unrest, and the rest of the group didn't come up with an immediate plan. So I volunteered to head up and set up a fixed rope along the "crevasse". I borrowed another axe, and headed upwards with the rope trailing.
Approaching the crevasse had its nerve. I needed to get a look into it, but at the same time, not to position myself on a tongue that could collapse. The snow was already soft as butter, so poking with the axe didn't tell me a great deal. I had to go with my instincts. I felt quite safe, and didn't ask for one of the others to secure the other end of the rope. Safety measures can be time consuming. I wanted to move on.
As I traversed (downwards) on top of the "crevasse", I was gradually approaching another. The space in-between got small, but adequate. I felt very safe with two axes on the inside of the crevasse and crampons and soft snow on the outside. Once across, I set up an anchor with one axe. I retraced my steps back to the far side of the crevasse and set up an anchor with the other axe. The rest of the party could now follow. The snow was firm enough for a traverse, and we skipped prusiks. Once across, the rest of the route up to the crest was easy and we left the rope as it was.
We started out from a broad ledge, scrambled up to a distinct corner, which was the crux of the climbing route. From this corner, we had to advance 2m up to another ledge. A firm rock offered one good handhold, and then we had to figure out where to put our feet and the other hand. Grace was not of the essence here, and most of us arrived the ledge on our stommachs.
From this ledge, there was minor scrambling up to the summit ridge. The summit ridge was easy enough. Some large rocks were easily bypassed to the right. Store Brekketinden was reached 14:25PM and we were all merry about it. It felt really nice to be part of such an experienced group. Noone were lagging, complaining, hesitating. It was easy to tell that they all had been on sharp mountains before.
After lunch on Store Brekketinden, we retraced our steps to the ridge crest. Many seemed to handle the crux with greater ease and grace upon descent. Awkward as it may seem. We passed the "crevasse" without any difficulties and headed (roped) towards Lille Brekketinden's entry point.
A snow tongue gave easy access to the ridge crest. The scramle up the ridge was interesting - steep, mosaic-shaped slab rock with good grips for the fingertips. The ridge route got slightly more challenging when we encountered a 2m drop on the ridge. The immediate thought was to jump down, but the landing area wasn't exactly wide..
Instead, we found a way beneath and around and joined the ridge again at the "landing area". The rest of the route to the summit was easy. The time was 16:00PM when we stood on the summit of Lille Brekketind. Although there was nothing dominating about this satellite peak, it was truly of the alpine sort.
Upon descent of Lille Brekketind, most of us climbed the 2m drop on the ridge. The climb was similar, yet slightly easier than the crux on Store Brekketind. But far more exposed. Back onto the glacier, we headed towards our ascent route. In a steep slope at the lower end of the snowfield, we practiced self-arrest using the axe. Those who never tried this before, seemed to enjoy it.
Further down, we sled on our feet down snow tongues until we had to get back on firm ground. We crossed the river a bit higher than upon ascent (thus easier), followed the path back to Liasætra, which we reached 19:20PM. Some in the group even took a bath in Nysetvatnet. That looked cold...
This had been an unforgettable trip with extremely good company. I don't believe I made an ass of myself, and would be very happy about joining this group for future adventures. And I learned some new stuff about the car as well...
Up the glacier
Up the snow tongue (Store Brekketind)
The climb (Store Brekketind)
Wide-angle views from Store Brekketind
50mm views from Store Brekketind
To Lille Brekketind
Wide-angle views (2 parts) from Lille Brekketind
Zoom views from Lille Brekketind, fairly in sequence
Other pics from Lille Brekketind
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