Finally back in the Sunnmøre alps
15 days ago, when my girlfriend Anne fractured a spine her back. Besides the obvious downsides, one good thing was having her stay with me for more than a month. And even if she couldn’t go hiking with me, she was good sport and came along to the trailhead and found something to do until I returned.
Today, we took the ferry to Leknes and drove up Urkedalen. I planned to visit Breidfonnhornet – which I hadn’t been to before, and descend via the 3-peak Saksa mountain.
The ferry trip from Sæbø to Leknes is amazing in good weather. There are gorgeous peaks in all directions, with perhaps Slogen as the grandmaster. This peak is also known was “the queen of the Sunnmøre alps”. How some peaks get their gender, I can’t say. But Slogen is the definitely the majesty of the Hjørundfjord.
I knew nothing about the ascent route to Breidfonnhornet, so I just decided to hike up along a creek coming down from the mountain. Anne decided to walk with Karma further up Urkedalen. I had wanted to take the dog along, but not knowing how difficult the route would be, it was better to leave her with Anne. I had been to Saksa before, and I knew that there was at least one section where I could be in for a little struggle in getting her up.
The first challenge was to cross the river without getting wet. I managed, barely.
Then I hiked along the creek until I noticed a deer track leading up to the ridge to my right. It made perfect sense to stay on the ridge, instead of following the creek. And for the first 50m, everything was just OK. Then I ran into problems.
The problems stuck with me for the next 300 vertical meters, until I got out of the forest (sounds of joy…). 3 hikers were coming down the mountain, and I assumed they would ask me about the route. At least, I had touched the deer track here and there. But although they saw me, they just headed down a different direction.
A little bit later, I ran into a new group of hikers coming down, and now I saw the sticks. Sigh…
Finally, I made ut to the ridge between Breidfonnhornet and Elsandtindane. The new “Hjørundfjordegga” route runs here, and I need to come back one day for Elsandtindane. The route to Breidfonnhornet looked steep, but how difficult could a route marked with sticks be?
This is Sunnmøre. The bar for what is challenging is probably higher in these parts of Norway. The locals do some crazy routes unroped. A couple of places called for the use of hands and good balance, without being difficult. So far, Karma could have come along.
I reached the top of Breidfonnhornet 1h:18m after heading out. Another Sunnmøre alp “in the bag”. It felt just great. Now I could just enjoy the descent via Saksa.
Descending Breidfonnhornet, I had to pass another section where I had to use my hands. As for a dog on this route, I think I will just have to learn from friends and let the dog take care of itself. Let it go. Trust the dog. Still it’s hard. Even if Karma is probably a better scrambler than me, she doesn’t understand the concept of slippery slabs.
The ascent up to Saksa high point was easy enough. From here, I could see the south peak, where 95% (I guess) of those who claim to have been to Saksa, turn around.
The ridge to the middle top is narrow, but not difficult. And from the middle top, I could see that the most challenging point – up to the south top – was now secured by chains. There was no chain when I was there in 2006, and it’s that complicated discussion again – should we put a chain up in every place that’s slightly challenging? More importantly, does the people putting them out there also resume responsibility in the future?
On the south top, I stopped for a minute to enjoy the view. Then I missed my litte family and decided to make a swift descent and started jogging down. Sherpas have been here too, and made sections of the rocky part of the mountain much more enjoyable.
I kept a good pace and scared several hikers on their way up or down. I left the Saksa south top (1045m) 3:07pm and was down by the parking (30m) at 3:43pm.
Anne was resting in the car. Her back got really tired after a few hours. We then drove to Leknes and had to kill approx. 1,5 hours while waiting for the ferry. Anne decided to rest some more…
Back in Sæbø, I could see that they still had my 2006 Saksa panorama in the store window. Quite amusing…