Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hellstugu-ryggen/ridge from Spiterstulen at 2339 mts.

Norway's 19th highest peak at 2339 mts. a.s.l. (moh).
Not commonly climbed.
A much better experience than Galdhøpiggen.

The pictures:
1. View of the valley we came from, nice view but only the beginning.

2. View of the long narrow part of the ridge, seen from Nørdre Hellstugutinden 2218 mts. a.s.l.

3. Rest stop on the ridge.

4. The group descending an area on the narrow ridge.

5. Happy to close in on the target seen in the background.

6. Moving down from the peak towards the glacier.

7. Short break on the glacier, enjoying the view.

8. The happy couple with our peak Midtre Hellstugutinden in the background.

9. The second rope with trekkers crossing the glacier.

(...yes it's a shame, I forgot to take pictures with the cellphone from the very top, will update later with real camera shots :) )

Initial plan being like "everyone" else's at DNT's tourist hut/hostel/camping: a day trip to Norway's tallest mountain "Galdhøpiggen". As we listened to the info about guided tours the next day the plan changed, after a little consideration and persuation - Hellstuguryggen with the middle peak as our target (not knowing exactly where that was, until we saw it with our own eyes way into the climb the next day :-p ).
Our guide Hågen said this trip was done only in nice weather, otherwise it would be too slippery.
Basically it was the coolest day-trip any of us had had before! Despite the fact it took us ca 12 hours ;)
It's a "ridge", something I think few in the group of 14 members thought much of, partly because of the strange sounding name.

The route:
From Spiterstulen head south, upwards along the stream (the big one in the middle of the valley), after aprox. 3kms you cross a bridge over the melted glacier (Heilstugubreen) running below it, you will then have "Hellstuguhøe" on your left on the right hand side of the glacier stream, ascend it as "head on" as you like. It is 2272 mts. a.s.l (moh). From then on it's pretty much given where to go, the ridge lies ahead.
There is a large relatively flat area close to the top of this "høe" (round top) this is where we had the first rest with food.

As we closed in on "Nørdre Hellstugutinden" 2218 mts. a.s.l. ("tind" is a pointed peak/top), most of us thought it was the end... Oh how wrong! From the peak we could see the middle peak on top of a long narrow ridge. "We're going there" Hågen said. Is he joking? Are we going all the way over there?
Midtre Hellstugutinden at 2239 mts. was in sight! :-)
Normally we're "trekking" mountains, this time we were actually climbing :) using our hands, a lot of balancing and help from others.

Having constant focus on where you stepped and watching out for loose stones was a necessity.
I love this kind of airy paths and was able to enjoy it a lot :-)
Due to the height of the last hindrance before the peak I bent forward to help Karen over it, which caused our food to fall out of my back pack that had opened in silence during the climb, it fell to an unrecoverable location. We got some from the others and lunch was saved :)
Finally the peak was reached, bellies no longer starving and we got ready for traversing relatively loose blocks of stone down to Hellstugubreen (the glacier to the left of the ridge).
With harness, spikes on the shoes and all connected to ropes we rather quickly walked down and to the end of the glacier and the beginning of its stream.
Phew, now it was "straight" home...
Tired, happy and full of impressions :-)

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