Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal

Rotsethornet, Mar 30 2008

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Rotsethornet and the summer route

Rotsethornet and the summer route
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I woke up late ..

this Sunday morning. Mainly because I was tired after the Sprovstinden adventure the day before, and partly because I worked with the trip pictures half the night. And since I had forgotten to adjust the clock one hour ahead, the time was 10AM when I dragged myself to the bathroom. Only to get spooked by my tired face in the mirror.
So, today would be all about walking the dog (Troll). Preferably on a new mountain. But where? I studied the map and came up with Rotsethornet as an interesting candidate. The map showed a path from Rotset and straight up the mountain. Excellent. I expected a well broken path all the way from the trail head. Which meant that Troll would - at least - be able to descend the whole mountain. a 600 vertical descent would surely qualify as exercise. Especially for an old dog like him (14+).


I let the GPS lead me to the Rotset trail head. A man walking his dog and passed by me. I asked (with an optimistic tone) if he had been up the mountain. He gave me a somewhat strange look and shook his head. Then he said that if I had plans for Rotsethornet, I was on the wrong side of the mountain. "But but..." I didn't agree. I *was* on the right side of the mountain. So where's the (well broken) path?
Another man joined us and I learned that the summer path was not frequently used in winter. I was painted a cruel picture, involving recent fatal accidents on the mountain. I had heard about those accidents, but I couldn't picture myself having one (Famous last words..)
"Have you been here before?"
"Have you checked the weather forecast?"
"Do you have a map and a compass?"
-No. A GPS, though...
"Are you an experienced hiker"
-I'd like to think so...
My answers didn't seem to be what they wanted to hear, but now I was really curious about this mountain.
I decided to head up and have a closer look.

Steep forest, deep snow

No one had even walked the forest road lately! My hike started out 13:00PM on a snowy forest road. This was certainly not according to plan! After a while I reached the antenna where I read a huge warning sign, sponsored by the municipality of Volda, The Red Cross, The Norwegian Civil Defense and the Police! I have not seen any signs like this before, and I could virtually feel how the authorities pointed their fingers at me, while screaming you are an irresponsible person!

Steep forest

Steep forest
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With the deep snow, this walk would certainly be a struggle. And I hadn't even brought water. I was just here to walk the dog! In any case, I wasn't about to turn around.

The forest got gradually steeper, and halfway up the forest, it became so steep that I needed some kind of ascent plan. I had no idea how close or far to the forest path I was. The sign had told me to follow the marked route, but how about marking the route above the snow??

Then I noticed a manmade step and shortly after, a rope. The ascent plan was now in place. In summer, I probably wouldn't have to use either of them, but right there and then, I wecomed both means. Above the rope, it was still quite steep, and without the ice-axe I could easily have risked a fall. Which was not a pleasant thought. So, after shoveling quite an amount of snow, I could seat the ice-axe firmly into the slippery grass below and shortly after, I was in the clear.

Avalanche hazard?

The deep snow was simply too strenuous to walk on foot. Even if the terrain was still too steep for snowshoes, I just had to put them on. By the time I reached the ridge at 440m elev., it had taken me 1h:15m to ascend 270 vertical meters from the antenna.

When I had the final mountainside ahead of me, I had to consider the avalanche hazard. Big snowballs came tumbling down the - fairly steep - mountainside. On my way upwards, I contributed to the amount of snowballs and the entire mountainside looked messy. My stomach feeling said I would be OK, and I continued upwards.

Finally ..

on the top. I reached Rotsethornet 15:15PM, 2h:15m after leaving the trail head. I arrived at Instehornet 10 minutes later and my thirst made the summit stay quite short.

My way of descending the mountain surely looked ridiculous. The idea was to create a good path for the dog. Snowshoes on wet snow can make a good path if you walk in a certain way. Troll was not happy about the grade and put his brakes on. But once he acclimatized, we made progress. Dull life was never his middle name.

The steep forest was quite a memorable trip with snowshoes on. Snowshoes are not designed for steep forests, and they work really bad when the metal "claws" are filled up with hard snow. No brakes. But since I really, really didn't want to proceed on foot, I had to develop a method for descent. The method was to aim for the nearest tree/strong bush, hold on tight and then turn around to receive an incoming dog with "I'll never, ever .. " written all across his face.

Of course, I wasn't able to snowshoeski the rope section, and the dog had a temporary stay in the backpack. I didn't bother attaching the snowshoes to the backpack, so I held them in my hands. Along with my poles and the rope. Quite a scene. Once down below the rope, I was short of a pole. When did I see it last? Oh yes, on the top of the rope...

16:56PM, we were back at the trailhead. Except for the rope section, Troll had walked all the way down. In that respect, I had accomplished what I came here for.


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

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First part of the ascent

1. Sunrise, early morning 2. Rotsethornet seen from Volda 3. Rotsethornet seen from Rotset 4. Looking back on Rotset 5. The boring forest road 6. The antenna 7. A clear warning 8. Passing a mirror 9. The lower forest

Second part of the ascent

10. Very steep forest ahead 11. A manmade step 12. My passenger 13. View down along the rope 14. Rotsethornet comes into view 15. Downtown Volda 16. On Rotsethornet 16B. Volda seen from Rotsethornet

Wide-angle panorama from Rotsethornet (vaguely annotated)

17. Wide-angle view from Rotsethornet

Wide-angle panorama from Instehornet (annotated)

18. Wide-angle view from Instehornet


19. Keipen - a characteristic peak 20. Liadalsnipa 21. Descending Rotsethornet 22. A ferry leaving Volda 23. Troll descending Rotsethornet 24. Steep forest below

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