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Ascent of Galdhøpiggen on 1993-07-17

Climber: Greg Slayden

Date:Saturday, July 17, 1993
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Galdhøpiggen
    Location:Norway
    Elevation:2468 m / 8100 ft

Ascent Trip Report

What peak is Norway's highest is a matter of some dispute. Glittertinden at 2472 meters (8108 feet) is ostensibly the highest, but it is crowned with a thick, perpetual snowbank, and nearby Galdhoppigen, 3 meters lower at 2469 meters, has a prominent, rocky summit. It seems that most people consider Galdhoppigen the highest point in Norway (and all of Scandinavia), but isn't permanent snow really just as much part of a mountain as rocks? In any event, I was planning to climb both mountains.

Galdhoppigen was an easier climb, since there was a dirt road that provided car access to 1845 meters, high up on its southern flank. I drove up this steep, switchbacked road, shocked at the 45 NKr (US $6.20) a old lady at its entrance took as toll. The road ended at a busy parking lot above timberline for a mountain hut, the Juvvasshytta. I hurriedly changed and got my pack together before setting off up the trail for Galdhoppigen, even though it was almost 5 PM. It was a beautiful, cloudless day, I knew the sun wouldn't be setting until 11 PM or so, and the weather might be bad tomorrow, so I decided to go for it now.

The path led to the broad snowfields of Galdhoppigen, where a well-worn track in the snow led easily upwards to the summit. It was an easy hike, despite the snow, with only one steep section containing a very solidly bridged mini-crevasse. I didn't even put on my crampons in the very soft afternoon snow, even though I had them in my pack. I was up top by 7 PM, and I spent some time chatting to the guys on the summit with me (including a Czech), looking around the closed stone hut at top, and taking pictures. The views were awesome. The downhill hike was easy plunge-stepping down the snowfields to the open rocky terrain, then a short hike back to the Juvvasshytta. I arrived back at 8:45 PM, in broad daylight thanks to my extreme northern latitude.

I was able to secure a bunk for myself in the Juvvasshytta hut for 125 NKr (US $17.25), and after exploring the area, chatting to a Norwegian guy in my crowded eight-bed bunkroom, scavenging up some food for dinner, and watching the latest sunset I had ever seen, I went to sleep.

Galdopiggen is a fine rocky peak. View from the north approach (1993-07-17).
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:624 m / 2048 ft
    Trailhead:1844 m / 6052 ft
    Grade/Class:1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe



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