A rough hike to a fine peak
I really should have rested the day after the “Balestrand Opp”event, but as the weather was great, I couldn’t afford not to take advantage of it. So I brought Karma with me and drove from Sogndal to Mundal in Fjærland, where I aimed to hike Heimstagretta (1494m).
But I didn’t get very far, as I hit a kerb at the local gas station and ended up with a flat tire. The time was now 10am, and I had a feeling that there would be no hike today. But I called my car rescue company and 10 minutes later, a local guy rang me up and said he was on his way. He arrived 20 minutes later, and said that he would take care of this during the day.
So I walked back up to Anne’s house and borrowed her car. Approx. 11am, Karma and I were on our way to Mundal.
Arriving at Mundal, I had the option to drive 2,4km on a forest road to the trailhead or park at the end of the asphalt road. Having panic for another flat tire, I chose the extra 2,4km walk (one way). It’s just about the mindset. I pretended this was the end of the road and came quickly to terms with my choice.
Shortly after passing Heimastølen, I found the forest path, marked by the “Holten” signpost. First, we crossed the river on a bridge and then the path went *steep* up the mountainside. Although vague, I didn’t have any problems in following the path. It was also partly marked.
After 65 minutes, we arrived at Holten – which was just a ruin of an old shepard’s hut.
From Holten, I didn’t see any good route up to the east ridge that continues all the way to the summit, so I chose to head for Holtafossen instead. I had to cross the river below the waterfall, but the crossing was easy.
Once above the waterfall, I had a good view of the ridge leading up to the summit. There was only one place I could get on it, so that’s the point I aimed for.
Getting up to the ridge wasn’t quite straightforward, but after searching around for a little while, I found a good route up for Karma and myself.
Heading up the east ridge, I had to choose if I should follow it all the way to the top, or ascend via the south ridge. The east ridge looked a bit steep below the summit, so I chose to go for the south ridge.
There was a lot of snow ahead of me, and the slope up to the south ridge was just steep enough to perhaps justify the use of crampons. I tried to avoid that (laziness) and went further to the south (towards Holefjell) but ran into a glacier (top picture). So I put the crampons on and headed up to the south ridge.
To get onto the south ridge, I had to cross a short slab section. I slipped, and lost my lens cover. I could see it slide down under the snow. I was determined to retrieve it once I returned for my descent.
We reached the summit 2:46pm – approx. 3 hours after leaving the car. It was good to be up here. This peak has been on my to-do list for a long time. Just as we reached the summit cairn, a falcon or hawk flew up from a crack between the rocks. I certainly didn’t expect that, and neither did Karma. She just stared up in the air, as the bird flew away.
If I hadn’t left the crampons down by the south ridge, I would have descended the east ridge. It didn’t look so steep from up here.
Besides, I had my lens cover to retrieve. And once back there, I forgot where it went. I spent a good 10 minutes looking into the crack between the snow and the rock before I saw it. And now my camera and the lens cover are happily reunited.
We followed the same route back down. I was tempted to follow the east ridge all the way down, but wasn’t in a mood for any “dead alleys”. The hike had been exhausting enough already.
We returned to the car 5:02pm – 5h:22m after leaving it. It was a good hike!
I checked my cell phone and found a text message from the guy at the local car garage. He had fixed my car, so I could pick it up once back in Sogndal. Excellent service!
Pictures from the hike: