Ascent of Snøhetta on 2015-07-11

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Lee Newton -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Adrian Rayner
Pete Ellis
Date:Saturday, July 11, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
    Elevation:7500 ft / 2286 m

Ascent Trip Report

We did this as an after dinner hike from Snøheim hut, after our morning ascent of Galdhøpiggen. We summitted at 1130pm, just after sunset. Not our original plan but it was good to be able to summit both southern Norway ultras in the same day, in excellent conditions.

After driving up Blåhøe en route, we arrived at Hjerkinnhus in plenty of time for the last bus (1900). Had we known there was an earlier sitting for dinner at the hut we could have caught the 1650 bus.

Snoheim hut is served by an unpaved road from Hjerkinnhus. This road is closed to cars, and hiking is strongly discouraged, to minimise disturbance to the wildlife, particularly wild reindeer. The (obvious white) bus leaves from the obvious car park (no bus stop as such): we buy tickets on board (60 NOK per person, each way). The half hour ride goes through nice scenery with plenty of Musk Oxen sightings. These are the buffalo equivalent of Shetland ponies, quite small with very long silky hair; Shetland yaks as Pete calls them!

Snoheim hut is in a great location looking across a lake to Snohetta which is cloud free with a little snow on its easy East ridge. We had checked with returning hikers earlier: no need for axe or crampons, as expected. Dinner is at 2000 (there was an earlier sitting): good food and plenty of it.

The warden confirms the door isn't locked at night. We leave at 2115: sunset is at 2307 and sunrise at 0347. We're at a similar latitude to Shetland: it doesn't really get dark there in summer so we judge correctly that a night ascent will work.

From the hut we take the obvious good trail heading straight for the peak. However the old bridge has gone and there's a long boulder hopping stream crossing. To avoid this, take the trail left from the hut, cross the bridge and follow the obvious trail keeping lake on your R. We came back this way.

After the stream crossing our trail rejoins the main one, crosses a couple of snow slopes and a small stream (stepping stones), passes a small hut, bends right and climbs steeply up a boulder field, mostly stable. Very well marked with metal poles: best line generally keeps close to them. Final ascent is on easy snow, unfrozen, quite deep judging by how far the marker poles are buried.

We summit at 2330, just after sunset. The sun set behind the mountain but the afterglow is gorgeous, deep crimson. The summit has a tall tower and a rather rough cast trig pillar with rather rough square marker bolt on top. There's also a hut (locked up but with a light left on) and a timber helipad.

The western tops look very fine (traverse is a roped climb). We head down the way we came, soon dropping down out of the chilly breeze. The 45 minutes steep boulder hopping demands full concentration and it becomes quite dusky but never dark enough for torches. Taking the main trail R of the lake we're back at the hut at 0115: 4 hours round trip. Another (solo) hiker has just got down: he'd seen us on the summit from one of the Western tops. Suddenly we feel almost normal!

This was Adrian's 50th ultra and quite a memorable one. We creep quietly to bed after a superb day, alarms set for an 0800 breakfast and a tentative plan for an afternoon ascent of Glittertinden.

Snøhetta photo album
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2665 ft / 812 m
    Trailhead:4835 ft / 1473 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 1
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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