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This hike did not turn out as planned. This afternoon, I drove to Hausdalen, aiming to walk up the Drogegjelet couloir. I had walked up here a couple years ago, and remembered it to be easy scrambling. I brought along the dog, planning a round-trip across Sveningen.
Just before arriving the bridge that marks the beginning of the Drogegjelet couloir, I crossed the river and followed a boulderfield upwards. The initial section was just as I remembered it. Then I ran into a more complicated section, which I for the life of me, didn't remember. I told the dog to stay behind, while I climbed up the waterfall. This was class 3 climbing. At least. Lack of handholds forced me to climb inside the waterfall. There wasn't all that much water, but enough to make me wet from top to bottom. I tried to climb with my left hand only, pretending the dog was in the other. It was way too cumbersome, and I decided to find another way around. It looked like the ridge up to my right would bypass this section, and I concluded that I must have hiked the ridge on my last visit.
I wasted another 20-25 minutes on trying to reach the ridge directly from my position in the couloir. Even this proved to be tricky. I couldn't risk a potential fall, and backtracked to the start of the ridge. I was very confused as I scrambled up the ridge, through forest. The height down to the couloir increased by every step, and I didn't remember any of this from my last visit.
Halfway up the ridge, the mystery was revealed. The couloir down to my left was not Drogegjelet. I had followed the wrong boulderfield, and ended up on a ridge that I knew nothing about. Now, since being up here, I might just as well continue as far as I could go, doing useful research on a new route.
High on the ridge, above the forest, the ridge became more distinct, and routefinding became necessary. Without a dog on the back, I could easily have scrambled the ridge head on. But I chose to bypass this section by moving slightly down to my left and walking carefully up a steep section next to the ridge. At this point, it almost looked like the ridge would connect to the upper part of the couloir. But a closer look proved that this wasn't quite so. Nevertheless, there wasn't any significant exposure down towards the couloir.
It didn't take long before we reached the top of the ridge. Along the way, I noticed another ridge, closer towards the trailhead. That ridge looked even harder, and I knew immediately that I had to come back and check it out. Once on top of the ridge, we took a little break. It had started raining, and I dropped the plan to walk across Sveningen. Instead, we went to Søtefjellet summit, and returned immediately. I was just on plan to reach the Portugal-England quarter final in the 2004 European Championship if I took the same route back down. With a very interesting hike and a hell of a soccer match, this was a perfect mid-week afternoon.
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