A magnificent glacier arm viewpoint!
Saturday: Today, Sogndal Turlag and Luster Turlag organized a hike to Røykjedalsbandet – which separates Røykjedalen valley from Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier – a side arm of Jostedalsbreen glacier and the longest glacier arm in Norway – 19km long.
It’s a moderately long hike from Krundalen in Jostedalen (7,5km) but the reward is waiting at the end.
10 people had signed up for this hike. In addition, Arne Fossøy and Anne Rudsengen (my girlfriend) were trip leaders. I counted the 13th soul, introduced to the group as a “rogue photographer” and there were clear instructions to don’t mind me at all. I could be way back and way ahead. And along was may loyal hiking mate Karma.
We had been granted parking at Snøtun/Bretun in Krundalen and after 0,3km along the Krundalen road, we turned left and followed the Røykjedalen signpost. It was a foggy morning, but the forecast for the day gave us hope for better weather. At 9:10am, we were on our way.
Then we headed up the forest. The path was easy to follow.
After approx. 2,3km and 470 vertical meters, we reached the Røykjedalsstølen cabins (825m). The trip leaders had stories to tell…
And there were definitely grounds for hoping that the fog would lift properly.
From Røykjedalsstølen, the hike was easier. The path was vague, but indeed possible to follow thanks to small cairns. The ascent climbs from 825m to lake Røykjedalsvatnet 1136m across 3,4km.
At the lake, we had lunch with Røykjedalsbandet ahead of us. The snow looked steep but based on reports we had from the day before, it was possible to hike in the boulder next to the snow.
The “rogue photographer” and his little helper was now way ahead of the others and concluded that the snow didn’t look so steep anymore.
As I was quite worried about Karma’s shoulder, I chose my terrain carefully. And walking on snow would definitely be better than walking in boulder. And the snow wasn’t steep at all.
I was about to aim for the “band” – the lowest saddle on the ridge but remembered Anne said that there was a better viewpoint up to the left. And she was indeed correct. The view was quite … astounding.
I’ve had my fair share of good viewpoints over the years. I’m not easily impressed any more. But this was definitely worth the hike and looked forward to the rest of the group arriving…
A woman with no previous experience from this area shouted “THIS IS SO COOL!” and smiled from ear to ear. I think she spoke for the rest of the group – counting some people who also had their fair share of good views through the years.
And then it was time for a group picture.
Of course, I had to take a picture of Anne and the glacier (top picture).
And then someone took our picture, not quite following my instructions about camera operation, but OK…
Then it was time to head back down. I chose the snow one more time with two others following in my steps. The others chose the boulder.
I had a migraine emerging throughout the hike and now it was just killing me. And the group was not moving fast at all. They were just having a good time, but I didn’t feel like waiting for them.
Halfway down the valley, I told the group that I would be leaving them but see them again back at the trailhead.
Karma and I resumed to our normal hiking speed and soon the group was just a dot in the horizon.
Karma and I were back at the car 4:02pm, almost 7 hours after leaving. I moved the car into the shade and went into “recovery mode”. I didn’t really have a migraine, I had tension headache and it came from the muscular system. I have my bag of tricks which takes a while to execute, and I guessed I had half an hour on the group. Normally, far from enough, but today it was.
So, when the group arrived, some 30 minutes later I was actually quite OK again and could enjoy barbeque in Anne’s backyard later in the evening.
I wouldn’t stay up late though. Come tomorrow, I would have to return to Jostedalen to host a remarkable trip which was a gift for my the 50-year anniversary for a friend of ours – given last year.
Trip statistics: 15,2km, 1035m vertical meters, 6h:52m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone 13 Pro Max) from the hike: