According to people who I have spoken to; the summit is/was called Høgenykjen, at least by someone (mountain people I have spoken to in Stordal and Vaksvik have never heard of this name). Høgenykjen appeared on a former edition of the Stranda 1:50,000 map, but has now been removed. Sandfjellet is (apparently) the name of the south ridge, not including the summit. Or perhaps including the summit. The summit is slightly obscured behind the south ridge, and in Stordal, they refer to what they see as Sandfjellet.
Heimste Skorkja is the north ridge, or perhaps point 1135m on the north ridge. Or perhaps the summit. It depends who you talk to. Apparently, some call the high point Høgenykjen. This is a classic "depending-on-where-you-live" scenario, but seldom have I come across a more complex case involving names. For practical purposes, I have chosen Sandfjellet as the primary name (because Høgenykjen isn't on any maps anymore).
Pictures taken before this trip will show Heimste Skorkja as the mountain name. From here on, I will use Sandfjellet on pictures. In any case, thanks to Jostein Hustadnes for making me aware of the multiple names for this mountain.
Sandfjellet is the westernmost peak on a high ridge that also spans Sandegga, Storbotnshornet, Grytavasstinden and Lauparen. The Stordal/Ørskog kommune border follows the top of this ridge.
Sandfjellet is easiest reached via the south ridge, and it seems logical to walk directly from Midtbust near Stordal. This is the route described on this page. You can also ascend via the north ridge (from Vaksvikfjellet). I have no other details on this ridge, except that it has steep and exposed sections. Providing that it is convenient to reach Midmorgonshornet (962m) from the north, then you can also get to Sandfjellet via Dyrkorn.
From Midtbust, you reach Midtbustsætra on path (approx. 415m elevation and locally known as Mebusætra). From here on, it is easy off-trail walking until you reach the boulder high on Sandfjellet. The views from Sandfjellet are quite good, as the other tops on the ridge are just slightly higher, and do not steal much of the views. From Midtbustsætra, you can also reach the tops Varden and Midmorgonshornet, and you can get to Storheimshornet via Turrnausa.
Based on signs in the forest, it does not seem that hikers are welcome (in the forest) during the deer-hunting period from Sep 10 through Nov 15.
Sandfjellet (M711: 1322m, Ø.K.: -, UTM 32 V 399803 6921791) has a primary factor of 172m towards the higher parent mountain Sandegga (1364m). The defining saddle (approx. 32 V 400211 6921747) is found between the two tops. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), the saddle is within the range 1140-1160m, interpolated to 1150m.
My GPS reported 1319m as the height, averaged (waypoint) over a 6-minute period, although the tracklog shows 1322m during the same period. The tracklog peaked up to 1333m once I started moving.
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.
Midtbust - Sandfjellet (summer/autumn)
From Ålesund, follow highway E136->E39 towards Åndalsnes. From the E136/E39/Olsvika roundabout near Breivka, follow E39 approx. 28Km to the RV650 junction just after Sjøholt. Turn right onto RV650 (Geiranger/Stordal) and drive to Stordal. 300m after the church, turn left when you see the sign "Vinjehjellane Bustadfelt". This exit is approx. 18,8Km from the RV650 junction at Sjøholt. Drive 500m and you will see the sign "Griggås Natursti" on your right-hand side. Find parking here.
Alternatively, continue driving and take the first road to the right. Drive to road-end and park next to a creek. You have two houses in front of you. Walk down to the house to the right and on the garage, you will see a "Tursti" sign. You can save 45-50m of vertical gain by starting from here.
Follow the "Natursti" trail in the northeast direction. The trail is marked by red paint on the trees, and is well worn. You will pass several information boards along the way - a good opportunity to learn more about the forest. The trail leads you up to a crossing tractor road. Turn right onto this tractor road and approx. 100m down the road, turn left into the forest when you see the "Midtbustsætra" sign (located on the right-hand side of the tractor road). Follow the forest path up to Midtbustsætra at approx. 415m elevation. A few minutes before you reach the old cabin, you pass close to the river, and you can fill your water bottle here. Unless it is exceptionally dry, you will find running water all the way up to the Midmorgonshornet - Sandfjellet saddle.
From Midtbustsætra, head northeast (off-trail) into a basin which is partly birch forest, partly open space. Figure out what is the best route for you. From the Midmorgonshornet - Sandfjellet saddle, continue norteast directly up to Sandfjellet summit. You will walk on boulder from 1000m elevation and upwards.
Sandfjellet summit has 3 cairns, but none of them are located on the actual high point. Upon descent, consider descending down to the cairn at approx. 1260m. I found the summit logbook hidden in this cairn. Continue down the south ridge and gradually steer towards your ascent route.
This Saturday morning, I couldn't see any of the high mountains from Ålesund, because of fog. It was a warm day, and I actually expected the fog to burn off within the next hours. I knew that the weather would gradually get worse during the week-end, but so far it seemed OK. Except for the fog, of course. I grabbed my gear (and my dog "Troll") and headed eastbound. I had no clue if I would end up in Tresfjord or in Stordal. I would decide along the way.
On the way to Sjøholt, I got a glimpse of Lauparen, and assumed that the burn-off was in progress. I decided to go for Sandfjellet. I drove to Stordal and found the Midtbustsætra trailhead. We headed out 12:50PM and before 5 minutes had gone, light rain was coming down. I mistook a stream for the river from Midtbustsætra and was heading the wrong way on a tractor road before I was able to get on the right course. The wrong turn took away the dog's good spirit (he doesn't like wrong turns) and I had to put him in the backpack. The hike up the forest was killing hot, and all of my clothes were wet from sweating by the time we reached Midtbustsætra 13:40PM.
The basin ahead was larger than I had imagined, but I just had to get on with it. I found a convenient route up the basin and looked forward to a great day on the mountain. All of the fog had now burnt away. But just as I reached the Midmorgonshornet - Sandfjellet saddle, the fog came sweeping across, completely hiding Midmorgonshornet and Varden. I headed into the fog and could only hope that it would go away within the next hour.
Reaching 1100m elevation, I was now ABOVE the fog. What a luxury! I continued up the steep mountainside and reached the top of Sandfjellet 15:15PM (after crossing only one small snowfield). And then it started to rain. After a few pictures, I had to put away the camera. The dog expected lunch, but I discovered that I had forgotten it back home. I'll never forget his eyes and his slanted head when he realised that there would be no lunch. Then I noticed that a handfull of nuts and raisins had falled out of the box during the Saksa hike last Sunday. Seemingly happy, he ate it all. The fog was now rising and soon there was nothing more to see from Sandfjellet.
I put Troll into the backpack and descended down to the cairn at approx. 1260m and discovered the summit logbook. The front page said "Sandfjellet, 1322m", and I found it odd that they kept 500m south of the summit. I was the first to sign it in 2006. The rain had made the boulder slippery, but I was able to descend on snow all the way to 1000m. For the most part, it was steep enough to slide down. I gradually moved towards my ascent route and let Troll out of the backpack at 850m. He walked all the way down, and we were back at the car 16:50PM, exactly 4 hours after leaving it.
On Sandfjellet / Heimste Skorkja
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