Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal

Nordre Sætretind via Fladalen, Apr 13 2009

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This Easter was about to become a complete disappointment. Because of work, not too good weather and an emerging flu, I hadn't been on a single ski-trip. But on the 2nd day of Easter (public holiday in Norway), I got my chance. The flu had come a long way already, and I needed one hour just to get out of bed. Nevertheless, I was determined to give Nordre Sætretind a try.

It's been my impression that Nordre Sætretind isn't a very hard mountain to ascend, and I was a bit concerned when a friend of mine told me that the final section was quite steep (and a bit exposed), and cumbersome without snow. So by now, the trip already had a certain nerve to it; due to my physical condition and how difficult the final section would be. It was a beautiful day, but when I got Sætretindane in view from Standalleitet, the fog was "steaming" around the mountain massif. I could only hope that the fog would disappear during the day. I felt a bit small...

Sætretindane come into view

Sætretindane come into view
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I headed out together with a couple of other skiers who planned to do Langenestinden, Nordre Sætretind and Kolåstinden - no less. I would be happy if I just could get up Nordre Sætretind. We had to carry the skis 500m (distance) before we found snow that could be skied on. The snow was rotten, and the ascent was strenuous. Long underwear was not a good idea. I was carrying only 0,5L of water, and thirsty as I was - I decided to save it until I came across a water source. I knew I would be in need of more water, but my (small) backpack was packed full of gear that might come into use higher up on the mountain.

Entering Fladalen, I forgot to look for more water. The body had begun to function properly, and I just wanted to make progress. A beautiful mountainside opened up in front of me, and I was already looking forward to a marvellous descent on soft, but good snow. 


On the way to Nordre Sætretind

On the way to Nordre Sætretind
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The need for water came along fairly soon. I tried to refill the bottle by packing snow into it. That wasn't such a bad idea in the beginning, but as I got higher on the mountain, the snow didn't melt anymore. Moreover, the snow prevented the water to come out of the bottle. I congratulated myself on being the "smartest bloke in town"..

The mountainside never seemed to end, and there were a couple of internal monologues. But finally, after 2h:10m, I arrived on the ridge and the point where most people leave their skis behind. The summit was towering 70-80m above me, and I had mixed feelings about the upper part. It looked steep. Steeper than it appears on the picture below, and I really, really, really don't like steep snow.

Below Nordre Sætretind

Below Nordre Sætretind
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I put the crampons on, took both axes off the backpack, put my camera around the neck, the GPS in the pocket, and headed up the ridge, leaving skis and backpack behind. When I got to the final climb, I felt a bit uncomfortable. There were old tracks close to the rock, but that left me with a balancing problem. I had to be further out on the exposed section in order to use the axes properly. There was nothing difficult about the route. It was just airy, and I didn't want to fall down. 

I went back down to my backpack, and pulled out a 20m rope, harness, some nuts and headed up again. I anchored the rope to the rock that is to the right of the yellow line on the above picture. The plan was to set running belays as I went along. After the 2nd belay, I entered the mini-gully leading to the top. No more belay points could be found. I also realized that the rope wouldn't be long enough. 

I descended and anchored the rope in the 2nd belay point. The sole purpose of this nitty-gritty work was to get my mind off the exposure. To acclimate, if you will. And it worked. I felt absolutely no comfort in being attached to a rope that wouldn't do any good until I'd fallen 40 meters. What made me decide to bother with the rope was the fact that the snow below was quite hard, being in the shadow.

The mini-gully was steep (it felt like a ladder up to the sky), but I was mentally acclimatised by now, and enjoyed the final climb, and the nerve that being alone brings along. That said, I wouldn't have attempted this climb without two axes. I reached the top of Nordre Sætretind 14:10PM, which meant it had taken me one hour from the point where I had left my skis. So what. I was on top! And the view (despite the clouds) was just awesome!


The mini-gully

The mini-gully
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I also enjoyed the descent, especially the focus applied in order to get back down, safe and sound. And now I could look forward to 900 vertical meters of fine skiing. And only then I realized how incredibly thirsty I was. I looked towards Langenestinden and could see that the other skiers had already descended in the steep couloir below the summit. They were probably on a direct route towards Nordre Sætretind, as I never saw them down in Fladalen.

My thirst got taken care of down by the river, and skiing down the forest was just as awkward as skiing up. I was back at the car 3:30pm, 5 hours after leaving. And two days later, I was flat out in bed with a flu that no longer could be described as "a mild touch". But was it worth it? A b s o l u t e l y !!



The first set of pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 450D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6.

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To the trailhead

1. Saudehornet 2. Sætretindane 3. Kolåstinden 4. Not exactly skiing terrain

To Nordre Sætretind

0. Trip tracks 5. Finally on (some kind of) snow 6. Nonshornet 7. Through avalanche terrain 8. Søre Sætretind 9. Søre Snarhornet 10. Fladalen 11. Elsandtinden 12. View up the mountain 13. Below Nordre Sætretind 14. Søre Sætretind 15. Sylvkallen 16. Skårasalen 17. Dalegubben 18. Two horns 19. Søre Sætretind 20. Søre Sætretind 21. Nordre Sætretind 22. Pinnacle south of Nordre Sætretind 23. Søre Sætretind 24. Below Nordre Sætretind 25. The ridge between Romedalstinden and Molladalstindane 26. The route into the mini-gully 27. The mini-gully 28. On top of Nordre Sætretind

Panoramic views from Nordre Sætretind

29. Wide-angle view from Nordre Sætretind 30. Wide-angle view from Nordre Sætretind 31. Wide-angle view from Nordre Sætretind

Other pics from Nordre Sætretind

32. Langenestinden aka Standalhornet 33. Randers Topp 34. Romedalstinden 35. Kolåstinden 36. Kolåstinden zoomed in 37. Stretet below Kolåstinden


38. Leaving Nordre Sætretind 39. Langenestinden 40. Ski-tracks on Langenestinden 41. View up the mountain 42. Water, at last

Road views

43. Kolåstinden 44. Søre Sætretind 45. Peaks around Koppvatnet 46. Fingeren 47. Kolåstinden massif 48. Sætretindane 49. Sandhornet 50. Kolåstinden and Fingeren 51. Hellefjellet 52. Romedalen peaks

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