One of the giants in the Sunnmøre alps
My friend Terje Øvrebø had made plans to visit a peak in the Sunnmøre alps this Sunday, and I decided to join in when Anne said she would look after Karma.
Of course, I preferred to go to a peak that I hadn’t been to before, and my first choice was Vellesæterhornet. I had read a trip report from my friend Arngeir that ascending Vellesæterhornet from Langesæterdalen was unproblematic. Still, I decided to bring a bag full of climbing gear in case we decided to explore the ridge towards Bjønnatanna (Bear’s tooth) and Vestlige Vellesæterhornet (the western peak on Vellesæterhornet).
The weather forecast was excellent and I was quite DISAPPOINTED when the rain was pouring down as Terje came to pick me up. But we just had to keep the faith and when we got to Urke (we drove from Gurskøy via Grodås), the weather was just gorgeous. We drove up Urkedalen, on the west side of the river and parked at road end – approx. 350m.
We headed out 11:25am, crossed the bridge, saw the Velleseter/Patchellhytta signpost and – for some reason – decided to stick to the road by the river. That road didn’t lead anywhere so we had to crawl through the bush to get back on the path.
The first leg was the 2km hike to Langesætra (approx. 550m), which includes a river crossing on a bridge. A not too exciting transport leg, but at least it was progress. We failed to find the right path from Langesætra. We should have gone to the right of the cabins. The path is very vague here, and we didn’t pay enough attention. We caught up with some other hikers that also had lost the path, and then we realized that the path was above us.
From Langesætra, we had a 1,8km hike up to the place where we crossed the river (approx. 840m) at the foot of Vellesæterhornet. We could now see our ascent route directly ahead of us, and while it looked steep, it seemed by no means difficult – just as Arngeir had described.
The ascent was strenuous, no question about it. Mostly because of the scree, and it seemed like the hillside blended in with the sky, high, high above us.
After a while, we reached the south ridge and the views and the hike got more interesting. We could see Bjønnatanna and Vestlige Vellesæterhornet and wondered if we would be able to get those two pointy tops. It seemed like very rugged terrain…
We reached the top of Vellesæterhornet 2:17pm (2h:52m after heading out) and were rewarded with outstanding views! Slogen, Smørskredtindane, Jakta, Brekketindane, Råna, Urkedalstinden, Skårasalen, Kvitegga, etc. Wow!
This was a very uncomplicated ascent! There is no need to use your hands in order to get to the top of this huge mountain. Quite amazing, given how rugged this peak appears from all sides.
All of a sudden, fog came up from Vellesæterdalen and we didn’t know if the whole mountain would be covered in it. Moreover, the forecast had promised rain in the afternoon. Given this, we were not very motivated to take on an advanced ridge traverse towards Bjønnatanna, but we could at least take a look.
The ridge directly from Vellesæterhornet was a no-go, but we found a gully just below the summit which lead took us back on the ridge – below the steep drop from the summit.
I followed the ridge a little bit until it seemed impossible to continue. I later saw a picture that supported my decision to turn around.
We looked around for a route down to the saddle between Vellesæterhornet and Bjønnatanna, but we were convinced that we would have to make a really long descent before would be able to get into the gully. In the end, we gave up and decided that we should come back another day and climb Bjønnatanna from the glacier on the north side.
Back on our ascent route, we followed the ridge until we passed a hump that possibly could give us a better view to the couloir below – which we failed to get into higher up. Getting onto this hump was airy scrambling, and I didn’t become much wiser when I stood on top.
We continued our descent and when we reached the snow fields, there was no doubt! The final part of the descent would be of the easy kind!
Back down by the river, we satisfied our thirst and followed the same route back to the parking. We reached the car 5:03pm – 5h:33m after leaving it. Many thanks to Terje for a very nice hike and good company!. And it felt just great to “check” this peak that I had wanted to do for the last 10 years!
Pictures from the hike: