With Sogndal Turlag
This trip was organized by Sogndal Turlag, and my girlfriend Anne Rudsengen was the trip leader along with Einar Målsnes. We were a group of 9 people setting out from Esebotn (near Balestrand) and we expected to see 5 more people from Vik somewhere along the trail. They were supposed to start together with us, but had apparently taken an earlier ferry and started before us.
Einar Målsnes was the local expert (“kjentmann“) and looked forward to show us the new development on the trail, both done by volunteers as well as Sherpas.
Anne and I hiked up to Bjørnabreen and Keipen in late July 2014, so I was a quite familiar with the terrain. But Einar suggested that we should follow the new route past Gulleplet (the Golden Apple …) The route was still under development, but we looked forward to that.
I decided to keep Karma on a leash though the forest section. Not that she cares about the sheep, but the warning in 3 languages at the trailhead looked pretty … serious. And I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison…
The weather wasn’t as good as back in 2014, but at least it didn’t rain – as the forecast had suggested. We headed up the forest with good spirit and enjoyed the section where the Sherpas had exercised their magic…
Not that we didn’t have local people who knew to build trails in the old days…
Shortly after passing Gulleplestølen, we we went west/southwest along the new route, instead of north. When the newly developed section was over, we continued off-trail up to Gulleplet, following the sticks. Along the way, Bekka caught up with us. She brought a remarkable dog with her; a certified bomb dog with service from Bosnia and Afghanistan, and a “thing” about carrying rocks. Which is not recommended by any dentist…
We took a break on Gulleplet and enjoyed the spectacular nature around us.
After a little while, we moved on and continued up Bjørnabreen’s south ridge. This time, along a slightly different route than back in 2014. Back then, I didn’t know that there was a marked path. And perhaps it wasn’t then. I’m not sure.
Bjørnabreen was not the target for the day, so we aimed directly for Keipen. We were now heading into fog, but navigation was not difficult.
On our way up to Keipen, we met the 5 women from Vik, who had started out earlier. It was nice to finally meet them, and if were to have a group picture taken, it had better be now…
After saying goodbye to the Vik group, we continued up to Keipen and it was definitely more chilly back in 2014. The below picture shows Anne and Karma in 2017 and 2014.
The ascent was more than 1400 vertical meters, across 7,5km. The hike up took us 3h:45min. We stayed for the photographs and change of clothes, but not a minute longer.
On the way down, we took the “old” route from Gulleplet and down to Gulleplestølen. We also caught up with the Vik group and said goodbye one more time.
The bomb dog kept me smiling, as it placed a rock on the path, only to run up and grab it just before we got there. Quite an amusing thing, if it hadn’t been for the impact on the teeth…
We were back at the trailhead close to 8 hours after leaving. Many thanks to the group for good company and to Einar for a lot of interesting local stories along the way!
Pictures from the trip: