Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal

Melen traverse, Sep 27 2007

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Part of the Melen traverse

Out of the blue came another fine September evening. The regular evening hikes to Sukkertoppen are nice, but on a day like this, I felt for doing something else. I called my friend Torill, and we decided to hike Melen. With limited daylight (it's fairly dark at 20:00PM), a local mountain is the only practical option. Moreover, I enjoy Melen. Torill had also been to Melen, but had not been on the north ridge. If time allowed (and it should), we could take a closer look at the harder points on the ridge.

I had traversed Melen back in June 2006, and it was a memorable hike. My backpack became a problem at the hardest point, and I was quite close to falling off the mountain. I looked forward to seeing this point again. The first visit is normally the most memorable one. Would I find the passage trivial this time?

The north ridge of Melen/Fiksdalshornet
The north ridge of Melen/Fiksdalshornet

The traverse and crux #1

Torill and I met at Reset, where Nakkedalen and Vatnedalen valleys meet. Along came my dog Troll, to be carried in a backpack to Melen summit. Hopefully, he could walk all the way back down.

Upon crossing the creek from Lake Mellivatnet, we noticed that the recent rain had turned this creek into a small river. We crossed without too much difficulty, and followed the path up Melen's broad south flank. We arrived at Melen summit 17:35PM, 55 minutes after leaving the trailhead.

We then headed to the "crux" on the north ridge. The "crux" was a 2,5m drop on the ridge where climbing down face in felt awkward. Face out was my preferred choice of passing this drop. I could simply lower myself straight down, using my arms to control the descent.

As I was carrying the dog, the traverse seemed out of the question. And I had left my bag with objectives where the ridge had started to become narrow. But now that we were here, we should at least become familiar with this "crux".

I put down the backpack and the dog and lowered myself down. That wasn't very difficult, but I remembered the feeling of the backpack being stuck for a second - the last time I was here. It was Torill's turn. She wanted to downclimb face in, but I talked her into descending the same way as I did. I gathered she would be more in control, and she followed the advise. Torill has come a long way in a short time, which means taking the step from do I really want to do this? to Alright, let's kick some a$$.

I then climbed back up and lowered the backpack to Torill. Carefully. Troll looked seasoned during the event, but darn - I'd give a dollar or two for his thoughts.

Crux #2

There was enough time to take a look at crux #2 - a gap on the ridge. Descending into the gap was easy enough. Climbing up from the gap (YDS class 3) was easy climbing. Climbing with Troll up from this gap wasn't tempting, but I decided to give it a shot. And it was easier than I had expected.

We had now come a long way on the ridge, it was still a great evening, and time was on our side. Should we just as well complete the traverse? Torill was up for it, and off we went. Then I remembered the bag with the objectives near the summit. (Bad word uttered here...)

Rather than calling off the traverse, I decided to go and get it. I had a fairly quick pace up the ridge. I had to stay focused, because the ridge was quite icy in places. Not too many minutes had passed when I joined Torill again.

I told Torill that there was a fair chance of this being the first time Melen had been traversed with a dog. A dachshund, at least. She responded that she didn't think too many people had been running this ridge, either.

Descent & the river

Torill truly enjoyed scrambling this ridge. The descent didn't include difficult passages, but was still quite a sight as seen from above. Upon descent, I noticed that the river could pose a problem. Normally, it doesn't, but normally it doesn't rain as much as it's done lately.

The descent went smoother than on my last hike. We turned west much higher than I had done, and avoided the final last section. After a short hike through the forest, we reached the river. We had spotted the obvious crossing point from high on the ridge, and now it was just a question of getting across.

Getting onto the small islet in the river was easy enough. And I found that getting onto the river bank was quite easy too. The final jump to the river bank was too long without visiting a slightly submerged rock. This manoeuver required a certain pace as well as good timing.

Torill struggled with the first jump - getting from the islet to the rock in the middle of the river. The struggle was simply a lack of experience from jumping river rocks. After a short training session on some easier rocks, she was ready for the first jump. That went quite well.

The second jump was an interesting one. There was no room for error, if one wanted to stay dry. The dog in my backpack, and the camera around my neck, only added flavor to the jump. The important thing - once on the river bank - was to grab the bush. Otherwise, one would fall back into the river.

My jump went fine and I found a spot to capture Torill's jump onto disc. I'm not quite sure what went wrong, but she ended up in the river. She said that she wasn't able to hold on to the bush, but I think her pace was too slow. I think the mojo wasn't at peak level. In any case, I bet it was an valuable river lesson that she will make good use of, upon her next river crossing.

But she said the hike had been far too good to let wet boots become a concern. A few minutes later, we were on the Nakkedalen road, and finally - Troll could do some walking. It was roughly 3Km back to the trailhead, and the shades got deeper and deeper by the minute. By the time we reached the trailhead, it was turning dark. Good timing. Goodbye to Melen for now. The next visit will be a winter traverse.

Pictures from the Sep 27 2007 hike

Slideshow, all pics

To Melen

1. Melen trailhead (249KB) 2. Vestnes info at the Melen trailhead (253KB) 3. The south flank of Melen (243KB) 4. River crossing (431KB) 5. Up the south flank (339KB) 6. Entering rocky terrain (380KB)

Wide-angle view from Melen

7. Wide-angle view from Melen (1311KB)

50mm views from Melen, 2 parts

8. 50mm view from Melen, part 1 of 2 (1294KB) 9. 50mm view from Melen, part 2 of 2 (884KB)

Zoom views from Melen

10. Zoom view from Melen (1396KB) 11. Zoom view from Melen (802KB) 12. Zoom view from Melen (888KB)

The traverse, and crux #1

13. Heading out on the north ridge (331KB) 14. On the north ridge (332KB) 15. Crux #1 (324KB) 16. Torill on crux #1 (317KB) 17. Torill checking out her options (407KB)

The traverse, and crux #2

18. Moving on (340KB) 19. Steep mountain side (525KB) 20. Easy scrambling (363KB) 21. To crux #2 (361KB) 22. Crux #2 is a short, but exposed climb (378KB) 23. Arnt and his crazy dog (540KB) 24. This is one, lucky dog! (369KB) 25. The four-legged rider (262KB)


26. Back to summit to pick up some photo gear (149KB) 27. A narrow section (332KB) 28. The final hump on the ridge (253KB) 29. Descending Melen (282KB) 30. Melskarsvatnet (200KB) 31. A river that we need to cross (238KB) 32. DEEP colors (199KB) 33. Still descending (345KB) 34. Icy Blåskjerdingen (192KB) 35. A shiny hotel in Molde (125KB)

River crossing + return to the trailhead

36. Torill performs the first jump (252KB) 37. Torill performs the second jump (242KB) 38. The sun is setting (168KB) 39. The moon (118KB)

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