For Information, maps, trailhead and route descriptions, click HERE.
My first attempt on Lodalskåpa was back in May 2002. The plan was to traverse Jostedalsbreen glacier via Skåla, Tindefjellbreen and Lodalskåpa. The ascent to Skåla was hard (heavy backpack, strong wind and clumsy me on skis). The trip across Tindfjellbreen the next day, was harder (10 hours skiing). And we hadn't even reached Jostedalsbreen! In short, I was mentally not ready for this trip. Our 2nd camp was on Strupebreen below Lodalskåpa. When bad weather sat in that night, two of us wanted out. The next day, we descended to Bødalsæter via Kåpevatnet. But I had already decided to be back. Hell yeah!
My second attempt on Lodalskåpa was earlier this year, in May. There was no doubt that we would include Lodalskåpa during our ski-trip across the Jostedalsbreen glacier. But after 1700 vertical meters and 10 hours on foot and skis the 2nd day, the urge to spend (at least) 3 hours for a Lodalskåpa climb, simply wasn't there. Instead, we ended up on Brenibba. I didn't mind much. Lodalskåpa wouldn't go away, but I certainly didn't plan on waiting 5 more years...
Thus, not so long after, I asked my friend Torbjørn to come along for a summer/autumn trip to Lodalskåpa. Coming from Hardanger, he has high mountains all around, but since Lodalskåpa is ... Lodalskåpa, Torbjørn was quite willing to take the long drive from Bergen. During the summer, we reserved two autumn weekends for the trip. However, the autumn weather was bad and unstable, so if we wanted to stand on top of this mountain, we would have to be on a permanent stand-by.
Every weather service in Norway promised GREAT weather on Lodalskåpa on Wednesday, Aug 22. Even we believed in it and decided to make the trip. We would meet at Bødalsæter on Tuesday evening, camp in a tent, do the mountain and head back to (respectively) Bergen and Ålesund the same evening. On Tuesday morning, I told my colleague Terje (my tent mate from the May 2007 glacier traverse) that a trip was on for Wednesday. There was no question about it. He wanted to join in.
And since Terje has access to the family cabin in the Stryn region, a hard tent floor was traded in for beds. I should have slept well that night, but I didn't. There was nothing wrong with the mattress or the cabin. I simply never fell to sleep. Having no education involving glacier rescue techniques, I spent the first half of the night pondering on the rescue theory. By 04:00AM, I *would* have fallen asleep, hadn't it been for that damned cellphone screaming for my attention. The cellphone told me that I had standby duty at work ON THURSDAY. Thanks for telling me in advance, in the middle of the night, and 26 hours before my standby duty begins!
I was awake again, and pictured Terje swaying back and forth down in a crevasse. Now let's see. First I set up an anchor...
As Torbjørn wanted to be back in Bergen before midnight, I proposed a plan. We get up 06:15AM, leave the cabin 07:00AM, be on our way from Bødalsæter 08:00AM, reach the top within 13:00PM (5 hours ascent), leave 13:30PM and be back at the trailhead 17:00PM (3,5 hours descent). I had faith in the plan. Torbjørn and Terje seemed more doubtful but didn't object to the plan.
We got up 06:15AM Wednesday morning to thick fog, but didn't worry much. Typical morning fog, and we looked forward to rise above it. 08:05AM we were on our way from the Bødalsætra parking, and more importantly - above the fog. We kept a steady pace up the valley, looking forward to the day ahead. Walking in the shade was a blessing. This would surely turn into a very hot day!
I proposed lots of short stops, opposed to a few long ones. Torbjørn announced that his physical condition wasn't 100%, and vaguely indicated that I kept a good pace. Terje, carrying the rope, didn't say much. The short stops were of the kind - Terje and Torbjørn managed to get a zip of water before the evil, self-appointed trip leader suggested that we would get nowhere by just hanging around.
I made sure to tell the others that we were in good shape regarding the 5-hour plan, yet knowing that at some point, they might shout to HELL with your 5-hour plan. But so far, everyone was happy. In a place like this, and on a day like this, who wouldn't?
We passed two groups (5+3) of hikers below point 1331. They were half-way up the hill when we were half-way in the valley. I figured they walked extremely slow, but Torbjørn and Terje might not agree to those words. We made a good push up Brattebakken and arrived the glacier front (1570m) 10:40AM. 30 minutes later, at 1660m, we had lunch. A 15-minute break that did everyone good. The mighty, mighty Cape were just in front of us. Its summit towering more than 400m above us. Motivation was high.
We walked the glacier for 5 minutes until we decided to rope up. The melting water created holes beneath the wet surface, and we had no idea what the holes were like. The crevasses higher up on the glacier got more and more visible. Very narrow (can't even squeeze a dachshund in there), but gradually deeper. As one might expect, given how this glacier falls.
At Ståleskar, we had to ascend 50 vertical meters on rock before reaching the snow on the ridge. We didn't bother taking the rope off. Once on the ridge, we put the crampons on. That wasn't necessary, but at the time, we didn't know that. We also took the rope off. I wasn't sure whether we were on a very friendly glacier or on permanent snow.
After a short walk on snow, we entered rocky terrain. We crossed the 1940m contour, only to lose some vertical gain. We decided to bypass Veslekåpa to the south, and we put the rope back on. Crampons too. The section towards Lodalskåpa could be treacherous. I had been warned about it. But there was no open crevasses to be seen. The route seemed quite harmless. In front of us, there were two Austrian hikers that we first saw on the snowfield above Ståleskar, just as we began traversing Bohrsbreen. We passed the couple just below Hanken.
At Hanken, 13:00PM (damned, there goes my 5-hour plan..), we left the ice-axes, crampons and the rope. The route to the summit was (almost) snow free, and the scrambling was quite easy. I tried to picture this route covered by snow, and I didn't like the picture. I'm not Tarzan in steep snowslopes.
I'm much better off on rock, and after a hard push, I arrived the summit 13:15PM. Terje followed shortly and a very tired Torbjørn followed a few minutes later. But fatigue is soon forgotten when you're on top of Lodalskåpa. What a panorama! Fortunately, the air was rather clear, and I could see the mountains "back home", crisp and clear.
After 5 years of "trying", I was finally here.
The Austrian hikers then followed, and we chatted some. But I wondered what had happened to the other eight hikers. We suspected that they might had been heading for Brenibba, and we did see tracks up to the Brenibba ridge.
By - are we staying up here all day, or what?, I tried to bring my friends back to reality. The time was now 14:00PM, and I had "promised" Torbjørn to have him back down at 17:00PM. I knew we wouldn't make it down in 3 hours, but perhaps 3,5. Back at Hanken, we packed down the rope. We had good faith in a safe descent. We stopped by Veslekåpa on the way down, and got additional views down to Kåpevatnet, greener than green!
From Veslekåpa, I could see a man walking back and forth on the 1940m contour. I recognized him from earlier in the day - an elder man in company with two younger women. "Where's your hiking mates?" I asked him. He told me that they had turned around, and that he was looking for a place to jump from. He was carrying a paraglider in the backpack. I don't know which country he came from, but assumed he was French. The French do these kind of things. I have no idea why I haven't taught myself paragliding, so I could jump from mountains too. But I just haven't.
We caught up with the two females just above Bohrsbreen. They were sitting at the end of a snowslope. One of them was responding to nature call, just as three blokes came boot-skiing around the corner. Within a second, her pants were back on. I do hope she was done already. We passed them and found running water 50m above Bohrsbreen. Quickly, before the water got "contaminated".
Down on Bohrsbreen, I noticed that I was missing my GPS. I must have forgotten it where we filled water. I passed the two women just as they arrived the glacier. One of them was mighty red, and it wasn't sunburn. Back up at the water source, I had to look hard for the GPS, which had fallen into a hole. That's why it wasn't discovered when I looked around before leaving.
Back on the glacier, I passed the women again, and joined Torbjørn and Terje, waiting for me. I decided I needed some sort of penalty for almost losing the GPS and decided that I would not claim the extra 50 vertical meters I gained while returning for it.
We boot-skied the upper part of Brattebakken, and back on the path, we got the "Frenchman" in view, gracefull and silently sailing down the mountain. Wow! That's descending a mountain, allright. Perhaps I should give this some thought. After the dog has gone, of course. Paragliding with a dachshund is probably very awkward.
Several tourist were on the way up Brattebakken, but none of them seemed to have plans to go beyond the glacier. We then caught up with the party of 5 that we passed upon ascent. They went after Brenibba, but didn't make it all the way to the top.
We had kept a steady pace down the mountain. I was a firm believer in being back at the trailhead at 17:30PM. Torbjørn was still referring to the good pace, with some weird emphasis on good. "Have to get you back home, old friend", and while on the subject, "we're not walking that fast". Terje and Torbjørn said that if they could write their add-ons to the trip report, there might be nuances. Said with a smile, of course.
The walk down Bødalen was long, and if it hadn't been for the gorgeous afternoon and the spectacular landscape, it could have been boring. We reached the car 17:30PM (just as promised) and Torbjørn would now reach Bergen before the night. So that was my Lodalskåpa story folks. If you haven't been there already, go there. And bring your paraglider if you've got one...
Pictures from the Aug 22 2007 trip
#43:(50mm view): The peak under the text "Soleibotntind" is Store Ringstind. Soleibotntind is in the foreground.
Wide-angle view from Lodalskåpa
50mm views from Lodalskåpa, 3 parts
Zoom views from Lodalskåpa
Other views from Lodalskåpa
Down the glacier
Down the mountain
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