Wow! What a hike!
Oh my, this turned out to be an unforgettable hike.
It was Monday afternoon and I had been working from my 2nd home office in Sogndal, and I decided to give Hesteskrednipa above Fjærland a go after work. I didn’t really know what I would be running into up there, but had heard from a local guy that the round trip route I had asked about was indeed doable.
That route was up Geitabotn and down via Skrednipa and Skredholten. I decided to do this hike without Karma, who had to stay behind with Anne in Sogndal.
I found the trailhead in Fjærland right away and got mentally prepared for a vertical ascent of almost 1500m. Which in itself was not terrifying, but the day before, Anne I had done a 23km, 1000 vertical meters hike on Vikafjellet, and I hadn’t been lazy in the previous week either.
I looked up towards Skrednipa, and my planned descent route. I didn’t get particularly worried. Yes, it looked steep, but not very steep.
I followed a visible path up the steep forest, and the forest part never seemed to end. But eventually, I rose above the forest and reached the ruins in Geitabotn. The view up the valley inspired me even more to reach higher ground.
As I headed up the valley, I started to wonder if I would get problems reaching the high ridge. I could see a lot of snow, guaranteed to be hard, and I didn’t have any crampons. I hoped that I would find a place to get on the ridge further north…
I aimed for a ridge free of snow leading up to the high ridge. There was a cliff that I could see from a long distance, that I wasn’t able to interpret. Either I would have to turn back down there, or I would miraculously find a way up.
Upon closer contact, the cliff didn’t offer any problems at all, and then I was on the high ridge – with a good view towards the route ahead.
And what a view towards Bøyabreen glacier!
The ridge towards Hesteskrednipa was easy enough. I had to pass across a hump before taking on the final ascent.
As I got closer, Hesteskrednipa looked much steeper than from a distance, but by sticking to the edge of the ridge, I didn’t have any problems.
I also had a good view towards Fjellstølsnipa – which I didn’t have time for on this afternoon. It looked like an easy ride from the place I entered the ridge.
I reached the summit 6:24pm, 2h:10m after heading out.
Next up was the descent across Skredfjellet. The first part seemed easy enough.
But when I got to the steep section of the ridge, my heart skipped a beat or two. It was really steep, and there were absolutely no handholds. Just a long, steep section of grass and scree. A fall would easily be fatal!
I tried to bypass the upper scree section by scrambling the ridge proper, but eventually I was forced into this nightmare of a hillside. I considered turning around, but ended up with focusing on centimeter by centimeter. It was as far from fun as it gets. Hence, I’ve ticked off the “Alpine” category for this hike. You have to be really, really careful here!
Once back in easier terrain, I hoped the worst part was over. Then the ridge got really narrow, and I had to pass a really exposed point. It wasn’t technically difficult, but now I just wanted the ridge to get nice and easy!
At 640m elevation, I decided to leave the ridge and aim for the river. Due to high grass and bush, I had no idea about where I was, compared to the point where I had planned to cross the river. But it turned out that my instincts were OK, and when I got the overview, I was only 100 meters away from that point. The river crossing was easy, but only at this particular point!
It felt really good to be back on the forest path. I had made it, and lived to tell about it!
Trip statistics: 10,8km, 1485 vertical meters, 4 hours
Pictures from the hike: