The 2nd highest top south of the Jotunheimen range
|Høgeloft||1920m||793m||Lærdal/ Hemsedal, Norway|
The original plan this Sunday was a ski-trip to Suletinden (1780m) on Filefjell. With Anne’s energy level ranging from OK to rock bottom, that would be a challenge for her. But she was willing to give it a try. We also had to consider Karma and the snow quality. This would be a very hard trip for Karma in rotten snow. So plan B was some easy top on Hemsedalsfjellet. Breinosi or Slettind.
On the way to Hemsedalsfjellet, I suddenly remembered that buddy Lars mentioned recently on the phone that he and Cathrine was going to ski Høgeloft. They live on Nøtterøy, but would drive to Hemsedal to visit friends. I texted him and asked when the trip was, and he replied “today“. From the message, it seemed that they hadn’t started yet. How cool it would be to surprise our friends on top! But Høgeloft would be a harder trip than Suletind, so I didn’t say anything other than that they were going there. After a little while, and most likely after having a thorough inner discussion with herself, Anne said. Let’s go too!
How cool! I’d been thinking about this top since before I became an avid hiker. But the opportunity never presented itself. Until now. We couldn’t see their car at the parking area by lake Eldrevatnet, so we assumed they hadn’t started yet. There was a good chance that we would meet them along the way, unless we did different routes.
It was a gorgeous day. Sunshine and no wind. Probably seldom on such a high mountain on the border between eastern and western Norway. This is the highest peak in Lærdal (west) and Hemsedal (east), and seemingly, a popular top too. We were NOT alone up here.
As we didn’t know this mountain, we asked other skiers about to head out for route advice. The common advice was to ski up next to Solhaugen. Which seemed like a real detour to me. Later I noticed that the same people did the same route as we did – straight up along Skorheimsgravhalsane. I found that a bit weird…
We had chosen randonee equipment. It was definitely terrain for regular mountain skis, but it was a high mountain, and the descent would be more fun on solid skis and bindings.
We took a break at 1650m – below Store Jukleeggi. And when we moved on, I could see four skiers on the way up, in our direction. Through my zoom lens, I thought I recognized both Cathrine and Lars. The other two was probably their friends.
The break had done Anne good. She was close to fatigue after the long and hard hillside. And from here on, it would be less steep and the summit would only get closer and closer. And eventually, we reached it – 3h:15m after heading out. Lars and Cathrine seemed to be approx. 10 minutes away from here, so we had time to get something to bite, take pictures, etc. The usual procedures.
When the others arrived, they were in for a huge surprise – seeing Anne and Arnt on the top. And Karma, naturally. Lars told me that since neither me nor Anne had been up here before, they had already planned to invite us next year. Their turn to be ski guides! I guess we blew that one. Oh well… there will be other mountains.
The plan was that Cathrine and Lars would come to western Norway visit us on May 10th, and we would go on day-trips from a rented cabin. Weather permitted. I am writing this report on May 11th, and sadly, they decided not to come because of the weather forecast. Which, it turned out, was a terribly wrong forecast. The weather is just great in western Norway. So, if they didn’t make it to western Norway, at least we could have a good chat on Høgeloft!
When I spoke with Lars yesterday (May 10th), he wasn’t sure if we could count Høgeloft as a trip we did together, us being 10 minutes ahead and all. “I would have been 10 minutes ahead, anyway”, I replied and we had a good laugh.
Eventually, it was time to get off the mountain. I preferred to say goodbye to Cathrine and Lars on the summit, as it’s a heck of a challenge to make sure Karma doesn’t tangle herself up in someone’s pair of skis. She likes being close to them. Which was fine, as they wanted to descend along a different route.
While the randonee equipment may have seem like overkill upon ascent, it felt pretty darn OK on the way down. As most of the route runs “sideways”, related to the hillsides, we didn’t get an epic run, but it was still pretty darn OK.
There were a couple of minor uphills that we could have done without, but all in all, when we returned to the trailhead 5 hours after leaving it, there was no doubt that this trip would get the tag “memorable” ticked off…
The trip: 18,1km, 840m vertical meters.
Pictures from the hike: