Norwegian Mountains, Sogn og Fjordane
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It was a bit strange; I was on my way to Sogndal for what I hoped would be a fantastic, sunny weekend in the Sogn mountains, and on a side note - it was also the time of the year where most cars in southern Norway had summer tires on (mine not included). And here on Sunnmøre it was snowing. It was not only snowing, it was snowing hard! Fortunately, Anne told me that that Sogndal had spring (as we like we know it) so I had something good to look forward to.
I arrived in sunny Sogndal in good shape and ended up (to my surprise) on a soccer match at Fosshaugane. Sogndal beat Molde 2-1 and the town was on fire. We didn't take part in the celebrations as we wanted to be ready for one of the best ski-trips in a long time - a round trip across Steindalsbreen the next day.
Sunday morning was simply gorgeous, and we drove up Sogndalsdalen with the roof down while listening to the Mega Dance Mix 1992 CD. Yes, 1992. It was a good music year...
The time was 09:10am when we headed out from the start of the Anestølen road. 3km and 38 minutes later, we reached the Anestølen cabins. For someone (like me) who was dying to get up to the mountains, this transport leg was a "killer". But finally, we could enter Tverrdalen and I send some silent thoughts to the mountains towering above - asking them to hold the snow until we had passed...
In the avalanche-prone Tverrdalen
Anne had gone up Tverrdalen on skis before, and as we entered the narrowest section of the valley, she took a detour up to the left rather than going straight through. I decided to cut straight across, but on my way up and out I ended up falling down and realized that there was very little protecting me from falling into the river below. Carefully, I raised myself up and decided that detours are underrated...
A narrow section of Tverrdalen
At Tverrdalsvotni, it was time to leave Tverrdalen and we skied up to the south end of Tverrdalsvatnet. We followed a small valley east of Nipa before we reached the southeast end of the glacier. We followed a ridge up to point 1562m - and arrived on our first top of the day at 1:08pm. Glory, glory...
On the way to 1562m
What a day and what a view! Moreover, the hardest part of the trip was over and the rest of the trip would just be a wonderful cruise! I felt good and could not detect any form of penalty for dragging heavy skis and boots up to the glacier. But 1562m was not the main goal, so we moved on after a short stay. We took a steep route down to the glacier and got mentally ready for a 2km plod.
On the way to the high point
We reached Steindalsbreen's highest point (1585m) at 1:55pm - 4h:45m after leaving the trailhead. We couldn't see the end of the world from here, but we did see Galdhøpiggen, Hurrungane, Tverrådalskyrkja, Fresvikbreen, Meneseggi, Jostefonni, Jostedalsbreen and more. We did NOT see the Sunnmørsalpane range, which was quite OK. That gave me at least a feeling of being somewhere else than home...
On top of Steindalsbreen
I was so much looking forward to the Grand Finale - the descent - that I (almost) forgot that we already had two new mountain tops in the bag, and that the third one (Steindalseggi) was just around the corner. Oh my ... I can only take so much good news at one time...
After a nice stay on top (I've made a mental note to bring the shovel more often, as it's quite nice to dig out a place to sit...) we moved on. Within a couple of minutes, the route across Steindalseggi came into view;
The descent from Steindalsnipa was short, but nice. At the bottom of the hill, I put on the skins for the 3rd time on the trip. The ascent up to Steindalseggi's north top was equally short, but now we had the time to enjoy the Fjærland peaks...
We reached Steindalseggi's north top 2:50pm, and by now there was little new to be seen in the horizon. However, there was big action on Frudalshesten. Anne had heard rumors about a wedding on top, and we could see a bunch of people on top and lots of tracks down the mountain. It seemed like the ceremonial part was over, and that folks were on the way to the party...
We congratulated ourselves with the 3rd top for the day, knowing that the magic descent was getting closer and closer. We moved on to the south top, and I put on the skins for the 4th time today.
The south top was passed 3:10pm and for a while I really thought that we would start the real descent soon. But then there was yet another top (Sogndalseggi's east top - 1384m). Too insignificant to get my full attention, but way too cute to pass. Darn!
Sogndalseggi's east top was conquered 3:37pm, and I had put on skins for the 5th time today. Perhaps I should revert to wax-free skis again? At least when skiing in Sogn og Fjordane. But now - yes really, really, really now - the descent was on!
The skiing was highly enjoyable, and the nature was just breathtaking. Just when you feel you've seen it all, Mother Nature slaps you in the face. Again...
After a wonderful 974 vertical meter descent (approx.), we returned at Anestølen just as another pair of skiers (acquaintances of Anne) was about to head back to the trailhead. We talked for a little while before taking on the transport leg along Anestølsvatnet.
At 4:50pm (7h:45m after heading out), our journey across Steindalsbreen had come to an end. And what a journey it was! Unforgettable...
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 550D + Canon EF-S
17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
+ a Canon Powershot G12
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
To point 1562m
Wide-angle view from point 1562m
To Steindalsbreen high point
To Steindalseggi N
To Steindalseggi S
Wide-angle view from Steindalseggi S
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