Norwegian Mountains, Oppland
Nordre & Søre Svartkampen, Sep 13 2009
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Lars and I had met our weekend goal and hiked Rondslottet the day before. After dinner in Otta, we relaxed and spent Saturday night in our "base-camp" at Sjoa Vandrerhjem. Although Lars' knees were in terrible shape from the hike the day before, he still insisted on going hiking before returning back to Tønsberg. I looked at the map and reckoned that Svartkampen would be the perfect mountain; a high trailhead, short distance to the mountain and no steep sections.
After breakfast, we checked out and drove up the trailhead we had agreed on. The weather was gorgeous and I looked forward to getting to the top and to some fine Rondane pictures.
We headed out 9:21am, and Lars was definitely not happy about his knees. At this point, I didn't really believe that we would make it to the top of the mountain, but he kept pushing on. "As long as it's uphill, it's OK", he said. We continued, pretending that there never would be such a thing as downhill..
We followed the forest road up to Sveasætri, from where we continued along a forest path which became vaguer by the minute. Still, we managed to follow it until we were well above the tree line. Nordre Svartkampen was just ahead of us, and the distance to the mountain was short.
The colors were absolutely breathtaking. Autumn at its finest, no doubt. Now that we had the mountain straight ahead of us, I wanted to take the shortest route. This meant a slightly steep ascent up Nordre Svartekampen, rather than continuing across the meadow until we got Søre Svartkampen in sight. I composed a the-beauty-of-a-round-trip story for Lars, who just smiled and gave me the yeah, yeah look.
After this slightly steep ascent, we reached Nordre Svartkampen's south cairn. On our way up, I was quite certain that we were looking at the summit cairn, but once there, I saw that the summit was still 400m to the north. The time was 11:21am when we reached the summit marker on Nordre Svartkampen.
It was nice to finally have a 360 deg. panoramic view. As I feared on the way up, the Rondane peaks were hidden in fog. But there was a clear sky to the west, and I recognized some of the eastern Jotunheimen landmarks, such as Besshøe and Glittertinden.
Below Besshøe (but not seen from our position) was Veslefjell, which Lars and I visited on our way home from northern Norway in August 1992 - 17 years and a generation ago. In addition to Veslefjell, Rondslottet and Svartkampen, we skied Høgste Breakulen in 2005. I hope (and trust) there will be more memorable trips in the 17 years to come...
We had to get moving. We still hadn't reached the main top, and Lars was concerned about his progress. After all, he had a train to catch this afternoon. The distance was roughly 1km and the time was 11:48am when we reached the summit of Søre Svartkampen. We only stayed for the pictures and then began our descent.
Lars's knees made it hard - bordering to impossible - to go downhill. So he had to switch back and forth. One second, he was laughing about this awkward situation, the next he was throwing curses around after a yet another painful step. I suggested that he could just lean forward onto my backpack, which meant that he wouldn't have to bend his knees. We attempted this technique a couple of times and got a good laugh from it. But I guess that Lars found it a bit too ridiculous, because he quickly resumed to walking on his own. I didn't mind either. Having a grown man lean on me with all his weight - in a downhill slope - didn't do my knees any good either..
We got another good laugh from a sheep that was on its way up the path from Sveasætri. Rather than just popping into the forest (and then resume its journey), it ran down 50m, stopped and evaluated (like sheep do), then ran another 50m, stopped and... This went on until we reached Sveasætri, where the sheep went out of sight. I wonder if it gave the path one more try, or if the desire for higher ground was totally abandoned...
1:36pm, we were back at the car. A nice 4h+ hike had come to its end, and now it was time to head back home. But first, we had to get lunch. We drove to Otta and treated ourselves with a tasty burger meal before I dropped Lars off at the train station. With less luggage in the car, I could take the roof down and enjoy a 4h delightful cruise back to Gurskøya.
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 450D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
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Wide-angle view from Søre Svartkampen
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