An amazing route up to the Jostedalsbreen glacier
|Sygnesandsnipa||1548m||458m||Førde / Jølster||GPX|
This weekend, our friends Lena and Terje visited Anne and me in Sogndal. The day before was spent on the Nigardsbreen glacier and the plan for this Sunday was to hike Sygnesandsnipa (1548m) above Kjøsnesfjorden. Anne wanted to show us Lundaskaret (Lundeskaret) – a classic route up to the Jostedalsbreen glacier and recently upgraded by Nepalese sherpas. This was a project that Anne was in charge of, from the SNO (Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management) side.
The weather forecast wasn’t too bad, but far from excellent. On our way from Sogndal, we drove through one rain shower after the other. It was just a matter of positive thinking.
The trailhead is located at the entrance of Fjærlandstunnelen on the Kjøsnesfjorden side. The path follows the river for 0,4km before you get Lundaskaret in view and the path starts switchbacking up the couloir.
This is indeed a couloir and while the name Lunda-skaret denotes the mountain pass between Syngesdandsnipa and Marabreen glacier, the whole couloir is commonly referred to as Lundaskaret. Seen from below, it’s pretty hard to understand that the path does not run IN the couloir.
The first part of the path runs up a ridge on the left side of the couloir. You will see real sherpa work here, and this part of the route is not very airy.
At approx. 580m, the route crosses the couloir and from this point, it’s not easy to understand where the rest of the route runs. After a few switchbacks you get to a classic photo point.
Then you pass below Storalteret, which is a monumental rock and is really hard to miss. Further up is Veslealteret, a rock that you can easily climb but preferably not when the rock is slippery after rain.
The upper part of the route is somewhat airy and a couple of points can be said to be slightly exposed. If it hadn’t been for the steps, this would have been a very challenging route. Especially with a dog…
Anne, Lena and Terje found this ascent route to be particularly strenuous today. We didn’t exactly go to bed at 23pm last night either. But I was just so keen on getting a new mountain top and was filled with energy. It’s an advantage that comes with the peakbagging trade 😉
We arrived on top of Lundaskaret (approx. 970m) 1h:15m after heading out from the parking. Anne (not fully recovered after sickness) said she would turn around here and Lena decided to keep her company. Terje, Karma and myself continued towards Sygnesandsnipa – which was partly hidden in fog.
I was happy to see that the route ahead was marked with red paint. That meant easier navigation and a faster return to the others. After following a ridge, the route turned northwest and followed slab sections upwards.
I wondered if this route would take us up to Tuva and not Sygnesandsnipa, but at 1240m, the route continued to the east – in the direction of the Tuva – Sygnesandsnipa saddle.
The fog was gradually lifting, which was good. Sygnesandsnipa’s northeast ridge was one giant slab and routefinding could have been a challenge in the fog, despite of the marking. as the rock was fairly dry, the slab was fairly easy to ascend.
Just before we topped out on the summit ridge, Terje caught a fly in his mouth and then there was a big fight which the fly eventually won. Great views seemed to help some and soon he was smiling again.
We topped out on the ridge on the 1520m contour and had 0,5km to the summit cairn. The walk went pretty fast when a hare came in from the right and Karma hauled me all the way to the cairn.
I could not remember going downhill on the way to the summit cairn, but from the cairn it seemed that there was a higher point 130m in the direction we came. Terje didn’t agree and was confident that we were on the highest point.
I checked the GPS, which said 1547m (and later 1548m) and I was quite eager to take another waypoint on what I felt was the high point. But first we had to eat. We could see that fog and rain was moving in from west and we decided to get off the summit ridge before navigation got harder. And not to mention getting down the slabs before they got too wet.
When we reached “my high point”, the GPS said 1550m and Terje agreed that this was most likely the highest point on the mountain.
We missed the connection between the summit ridge and the northeast ridge and had to use the GPS to get back on track. If it hadn’t been for the rain, we would have taken the time to find it without the GPS.
The slab section was much more challenging with wet rock and fog. We used the GPS a couple of more times to stay with the marked route, but only because we wanted to get back down as soon as possible. That said, the route was never difficult! It was just a matter of concentration and avoid slipping on the slippery rock.
Finally, we reached Lundaskaret and the couloir now looked much steeper and crazy than upon ascent. The descent went quite well. At one point, I had to spend one minute figuring out how to get Karma safely down, but in retrospect I should just have let her figure it out by herself.
We were back at the trailhead 3h:47m after heading out. We then drove to Fjærland to join Anne and Lena who had spent time on Breheimsenteret. We went to Mundal hotel for lunch, but the cafe was almost out of food so we drove up to Brevasshytta where we enjoyed a very nice dinner with dessert. It’s quite spectacular to have dinner just below the Bøyabreen glacier! Afterwards, it was time to say goodbye to Lena and Terje, who headed back to Sunnmøre. It was indeed a great weekend, packed with good food, social stuff (game of Raffle – yeah) and outdoor adventures!
Pictures from the trip: