Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal

Svartevasstinden, July 29 2008

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The route to Svartevasstinden

The route to Svartevasstinden
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Svartevasstinden was a mountain I didn't have a strong urge to visit on my own. Information about this mountain varied from "fairly easy" to "rock climbing". But based on my own pictures of this mountain, it was easy to tell it was steep. Fortunately, Odd Arne Maridal (whom I skied Breitinden with last year) had an ambition to visit this mountain too. On this Tuesday afternoon, late July, we joined forces at Daugstadsætra.

Being the (far) more experienced climber, it was only natural that Odd Arne led the climb. We carried two 60m half ropes, which seems to be the normal way of climbing these days. We left Daugstadsætra 4:30pm. It was yet another gorgeous summer day, and the walk was nothing but hot. Upon my visit to Øspetinden in 2006, I might have promised myself never to walk this valley again, but here I was. I'm obviously no good when it comes to promises. Not that there is anything wrong with the valley, other than it's a long one. And I don't enjoy walking long valleys without any particular vertical gain.

55 minutes later, it was time to leave the path and head towards Svartevasstinden. We had used the book "Fjelltopper i Vestnes" as source, and we were pretty sure we were heading for the correct couloir. Getting to the base of the couloir meant fighting bush, but it wasn't that bad, and eventually we found a corridor, covered by high grass.

Once onto the mountain proper, we first followed the ridge to the right of the couloir, before moving into it. I hadn't seen a couloir like this in this county before. It was simply amazing. A long series of steps, nicely cut out of the mountain. When the couloir got split up by a ridge, we went left as the book said. We were now standing below a wall which was too high to consider as an a late afternoon climb. And this surely couldn't be the rute, either.

We crossed the ridge and moved over to the other couloir. I noticed that I felt a bit uncomfortable moving around from turf to turf, being more and more exposed and with few handholds of the type I like to see. Odd Arne did not suffer from this, and moved around quite nicely, and always with a big smile on his face. The correct route presented itself immediately - a sequence of grassy ledges leading up to a pillar just below the summit. We had now gained considerable height compared to the couloir on the opposite side of the ridge. It would be a short, but steep climb up to the summit.

Climbing Svartevasstinden

Climbing Svartevasstinden
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Odd Arne headed up and left 5-6 anchors before reaching the summit ridge. He considered setting up a new belay on the ridge, but  the short distance didn't justify the work. He chose to pull more rope instead, a heavy task at this point of the climb.

After Odd Arne had set up belay on the summit, I followed after. I made a mental note about adding "picking out nuts" on my "stuff I should practice on" list. The climbing was easy enough, but the moves at the end required more thought than in the beginning. Arriving on the ridge, I could see Odd Arne, smiling from ear to ear, and a very narrow and exposed ridge. It didn't take long before I joined  Odd Arne on the summit. The time was now 7:50pm.

This was a first class peak, no doubt about it. A very rugged ridge led towards Trolltinden and a similar ridge led towards Prosten in the other direction. Technically, it looked easier to ascend via Jakobsdalen, but our view from high above could easily give a false impression.

After an enjoyable stay on top, it was time to head back down. The sun was setting, and sea fog was moving in on the coastal region. Sukkertoppen in Ålesund was quite a sight, with sea fog covering the mountain, except for the summit. The abseil point was in spitting distance from the summit. A number of slings around a large rock indicated that this would be a good place to descend from.

Descending Svartevasstinden

Descending Svartevasstinden
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At first, we planned to abseil straight down the wall, but then we found it more practical to abseil along the ridge and then down into the couloir. I insisted on having the prusik above the ATC (very, very old school). Odd Arne said it looked "crazy", but let me make my own decision. I made another mental note about teaching myself the prusik-and-carabiner method before my next climb (postnote Aug 3: this has now been learned..).

I descended first, grabbing the opportunity to handle nested coils of rope along the way. The rope ended up on the east side of the ridge, and once I had abseiled the first section, I had to toss the rope over on the west side. The result wasn't pretty, and while trying to sort out the mess, as I continued to abseil, I forgot to move the prusik along. Mess below and mess above, but good practice. I abseiled the full 60 meters, and was happy to hand over a perfectly stretched rope to Odd Arne. Retrieving the 120m of rope went flawless and soon we were on our way down the mountain.

The hillside was no fun (except for the neat steps), and we uttered a small yihaa upon joining the valley path. After a quick walk along the path (45 minutes), we were back at Daugstadsætra 10:35pm. Which meant it had taken us approx. 7 hours to visit this mountain. I had now completed all the 38 tops on my Vestnes list, which of course is not comparable to the list of tops defined in the Vestnes book (and by the Vestnes locals).

Thanks to Odd Arne for leading the climb (in an excellent manner) and for being excellent company!

Odd Arne

Odd Arne
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The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 300D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6

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To the correct gully

0. Trip tracks 1. Daugstadsætra 2. The Trolltinden - Svartevasstinden ridge 3. The Trolltinden - Svartevasstinden ridge 4. Blåtindane 5. A short break 6. In the couloir 7. Neat stairs, but the wrong couloir 8. View towards Ålesund 9. In the wrong gully 10. In the wrong gully

From the gully and up

11. Switching gullies 12. Switching gullies 13. Following the grass 14. Odd Arne on a research mission 15. Preparing for the climb 16. Odd Arne is setting up belay 17. Odd Arne is heading up 18. Me, climbing the pillar 19. On the summit ridge 20. The summit ahead

On Svartevasstinden

21. Odd Arne on Svartevasstinden 22. Me on Svartevasstinden 23. View down 24. Svartevatnet 25. The ridge towards Trolltinden

Wide-angle view from Svartevasstinden

26. Wide-angle view from Svartevasstinden

85mm zoom views from Svartevasstinden

27. 85mm zoom view from Svartevasstinden 28. 85mm zoom view from Svartevasstinden


29. To the rappel point 30. About to descend 31. Abseiling Svartevasstinden 32. Odd Arne abseiling 33. Odd Arne abseiling 34. Odd Arne abseiling 35. View up the mountain 36. Nice evening colors 37. Late evening shades 38. Our routes up and down

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