Kvitnyken is a very characteristic mountain on Vaksvikfjellet that looks fascinating when seen from the Tresfjorden side (see picture above). Seen from the west, the mountain resembles a large sail. The mountain connects to the famous Lauparen massif through a high pass (714m) to the south. The normal routes runs from the road between Vaksvik and Tresfjord, which is closed in winter. This page will describe a spring ascent on skis from Kjersemsetra.
The summit ridge has two tops. The south top is highest, approx. 3m higher than the north top. While the west side of the mountain is quite friendly, Kvitnyken drops sudden to the east. If you fall here, you end in "Inste Hola", a basin above Eirsdalen valley.
Kvitnyken (M711: 1244m, Ø.K.: 1163,33m, UTM 32 V 401083 6928150) has a primary factor of 530m towards the higher parent mountain Lauparen massif. The defining saddle is found west of Lake Sørvatnet. Ref. the 1:50,000 map (20m contours), the saddle is defined by a fixed point; 714m.
My GPS measured 1248m (on top of the cairn) as average height over 10 minutes. This point was 63m north-northeast of the summit point on the Garmin GPS map, and outside the 1220m contour. I have a strong confidence in the 2D positions reported by the GPS.
The north top was measured to 1246m, 138m north of the sout top. This point is also outside the 1220m contour on the GPS map, which suggests that the map contours are not precise.
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.
Kjersemsetra - Kvitnyken (spring, on foot/skis)
From Ålesund, follow highway E136->E39 towards Åndalsnes. From the E136/E39/Olsvika roundabout near Breivka, follow E39 approx. 28,1Km to the "Geiranger/Stordal" junction in Sjøholt. Turn right onto highway 650 (Geiranger/Stordal) and follow this road 7,3Km. Turn left towards "Vaksvikfjellet" and drive 7,8Km up the road. Turn right onto a gravel road towards Kjersemsetra (not signed). Drive approx. 600m on this road and park nearby the cabins. Note that the road across this side of Vaksvikfjellet is not open in winter, so the amount of snow will determine how far you can drive.
There is a path that runs along the south side of the stream from Litlebotnen. When free of snow, follow this path up until you reach snow. Ski up the west side of the mountain. You have several alternatives. The center part of the west side offers 400m of free skiing when the snow conditions are good. Consider avalanche hazard in this hillside. If there is too little snow for skiing, consider the southwest ridge. I don't know if this ridge has any "surprises" towards the top, but it looks trivial from below.
There are two cairned tops on Kvitnyken. The southernmost top is the highest.
Svein Myhre took the intitiative to this trip (thanks to him for dragging me along on all these fine tops!). We drove together from Ålesund and drove all the way to Kjersemsetra (390m). We were happy to see that there was a tongue of snow not too high above the trailhead that would allow for skiing. We left Kjersemsetra 17:00PM with the skis on our backpacks. We were also carrying ice-axes (I had crampons too), as none of us knew if there were any surprises high on the mountain. The weather was OK; overcast with the sun lurking behind.
At 570m elevation, we could put the skis on and skied carefully across snowbridges over streams. The skiing terrain got better and better by the minute. The southwest ridge would be a natural choice a bit later in the season, but there was still snow in couloirs on the west side of the mountain. We decided to traverse diagnoally up the side, leaving our descent route "untouched".
The snow on the mountainside was soft, and skiing got increasingly more cumbersome the higher we got. The upper hillside was approx. 35 degrees, just on the border of my preferred limit on skis. The last 50 vertical meters were done on foot, and by 19:00PM, we were standing on Kvitnyken summit. The north top seemed higher, and it was obvious that we had to go over there and check. We reached the north top 19:20PM, concluded that it was lower and sat down for a little rest. Svein had recently attempted this mountain from the north, but didn't complete because of lack of time. The north ridge looks fierce from Tresfjord and is quite a sight.
We began our descent 10-15 minutes later, headed down to the skis and put them on. Just then, the sun popped out from beyond the clouds. I was quite eager to start skiing and was halfway down the mountainside before Svein got started. I had skied 100 vertical meters when I stopped and looked back up. A "river" of wet snow came flowing against me. I stepped aside and looked at this "lava-looking" snow pass by me at slow speed. I got impatient, crossed it and continued down. As I can only do Telemark on a certain type of snow, I headed down in slalom style. Very fun, and my short skis gave me just the feedback I wanted. With sore heels, I waited for Svein to complete his Telemark-run down the mountainside.
We skied the same route back down, and were back at the trailhead 20:20PM. An *excellent* way of spending a Wednesday afternoon, and it was a brilliant end to the two weeks with high pressure and gorgeous (yet hazy) weather.
Note:: Varying picture quality due to broken auto-focus.
360 deg. wide-angle panorama
The north top + descent
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