2022 Week 33

After a  slow start of the week, a great finish…

Lake Styggevatnet and Austdalsbreen glacier
Date Peak/Place Height PF Location
15.08.22 Rambjøra 132m 109m Herøy, M&R, Norway WCP
16.08.22 Signalen 231m 231m Giske, Norway WCP
17.08.22 Storetua 592m 249m Sande, Norway WCP
18.08.22 Orkja 948m 470m Jølster, Norway WCP
19.08.22 No hiking Sogndal, Norway
20.08.22 Røykjedalsbandet 1360m 0m Luster, Norway
21.08.22 Styggevatnet & Austdalsbreen 1270m 0m Luster, Norway

Rambjøra (132m), Aug 15 2022

A cat was occupying the trail. We didn’t have time to wait for it to move and spooked it

Monday: Karma was limping after the Rundegga hike yesterday and so I was looking for a low-key hike today. The natural choice was to head into my Rambjøra backyard to continue the never-ending trail maintenance.

It started a bit differently this time, as a cat was occupying the trail.

Karma is used to the stop-and-go routine by now and is just as patient as I need her to be.

Stay put. This will take some time…

It was actually a nice day, and it was just too bad to spend it here. But as things were as they were…

Enjoying the day…

When we reached the top, I was not interested in a round-trip hike. We had probably picked up a few ticks already and if we descended on the other side, we would surely pick up more. So, we returned the way we came – with exception of taking the path down to the school instead returning straight to my house.

View from the top

Trip statistics: 2,7km, 135 vertical meters, 1h:45m

Signalen (231m), Aug 16 2022

Our hike across Signalen

Tuesday: Ålesund day and today Karma would get her first injection of Librela – a medicine used for dogs for the alleviation of pain associated with osteoarthritis. I’ve decided to let her get a monthly injection for the rest of her life, providing that we see good progress on her shoulder. It will definitely be a budget line, NOK 600-700 per month. The car was already cheap compared to dog maintenance before this. But what don’t you do for the loved ones…

Karma began the rest of her life by staring into the water near the Vet’s office

It had rained all day long but after work, we got a break from it. I decided to drive to Valderøya island and do a round-trip hike across Signalen. It had been a couple of years since we were out there.

Heading out from Valdervoll

It was an incredibly foggy day, and I didn’t expect to see anything on top. Not that it mattered much, as I know quite well what one can see from this top…

The fog makes the steep cliffs even more dramatic

Karma was reluctant to walk at first, which got me a bit confused. Was she in pain or didn’t she like this particular route? I decided to play hardball and told her that I would walk alone then. If she was in pain, she would stay put. If she was just bored, she would come along. She came along

Heading up the mountain

Nothing much else to report from this hike. As I gathered, there was nothing to see from the top.

On top of Signalen

But, we got a nice round-trip hike…

Heading down on the other side

Trip statistics: 5,8km, 250 vertical meters, 1h:24m

Storetua (592m), Aug 17 2022

Our route up and down Storetua

Wednesday: In my lunch break, I drove to Ulsteinvik to pick up anti-tick medicine for Karma. After waiting 20 minutes in line at the pharmacy, they told me they didn’t have the medicine and sent me off to the other pharmacy. Another long queue, and I got a feeling that for many old people – the highlight of the day is to go to the pharmacy and have a long conversation with the pharmacist.

I had two take-aways from this: 1) will I be like that? and 2) the medicine is way, way more expensive than the price as I will certainly not be back home before my lunch break is over. But while in Ulsteinvik, I could might as well let the dog walk on the Osnessanden beach…

At Osnessanden

After work, I decided to hike Storetua on the Sande side of Gurskøy island. I couldn’t remember the last time I actually hiked there. This is normally a skiing mountain for me. We drove to Vassverket by Holte and just before getting there, I noticed that I was being observed

Hello there!

We then headed out along the path…

On our way to Storetua (background)

I didn’t look forward to the wet area ahead. It’s normally always wet there but this season, it was off-the-charts wet. But to my pleasant surprise, someone had put out a wooden bridge. Well done!

Oh, that was neat!

There had also been some activity above the forest. I had foreseen a long jump across the river (which was way bigger than normal) but there was a bridge there too!

Easy river crossing

The hike up the mountain was as I remembered it and when we got to the first cairn, Karma acted as we had reached the top. “Treats, please”. I told her that we had still ~1km to go before we could talk about treats.

Get your geography straight, girl!

The weather was unclear. It was windy, but the question was if it would start raining any minute. I could feel really light rain coming from behind – but without getting wet.

This could go either way…

When we reached the top, it was the most natural thing in the world to find the narrow spot that one could call shelter.

On Storetua

It was so windy that I decided to go off-trail on the south side of the mountain, just to avoid the wind. But all in all – a good hike!


Trip statistics: 5,4km, 460 vertical meters, 1h:18m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the hike:

Orkja (948m), Aug 18 2022

Our hike up and down Orkja

Thursday: Time to head for Sogndal again. I had a busy weekend ahead of me. As the weather was nice, I decided to hike Orkja along the way.

Orkja by lake Jølstervatnet

The route from Dvergsdalsdalen is normally quite wet and not so fun to hike, but the upside is that I can (still) get up and down this mountain within the hour. The trailhead is ~450m, so it’s a 500 vertical meter ascent along 1,6km. In other words – it’s a steep hill to hike!


Today, the route was more wet than I have ever seen it. Going up was hard work!

Heading up Orkja

But once the route meets the NE ridge, it gets less wet, and the good views are coming up – giving motivation for the final leg.

View towards Skei

The 500 vertical meters was covered in 33 minutes. I spent a couple of minutes on top before heading down.

On top of Orkja

On top, Karma had something to say…

“Listen… As you know, I’m turning 10 years old next month and I was thinking… How about a day with just plain cake and no hiking?”

The descent was done in 20 minutes and then we could continue to Sogndal…

View from Orkja

Trip statistics: 3,1km, 500 vertical meters, 0h:59m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone 13 Pro Max) from the hike:

No hiking, Aug 19 2022

How Friday afternoon was spent…

Friday: This afternoon was spent with my chainsaw in Anne’s backyard. The timing was perfect. I finished my last log when the battery went flat. Of course, I had forgotten to bring the charger, but it wasn’t needed now. Anne happy!

Røykjedalsbandet (1360m), Aug 20 2022

Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier view from Røykjedalsbandet

Saturday: This very memorable trip is covered in a separate report

Lake Styggevatnet & Austdalsbreen glacier, Aug 21 2022


The hiking and kayak routes

Sunday: Last year, I gave a friend of mine a special gift on his 50th birthday – a kayak trip on lake Styggevatnet, followed by a glacier walk on the Austdalsbreen glacier – in the outskirts of the Jostedalsbreen glacier (the largest glacier in Norway – mainland). The date for the event was also set – Aug 21, 2022.

Normally, this is the kind of gift that I would be deliver without external help. But hauling kayaks up to lake Styggevatnet is an ordeal and so it was far easier to book in on an Icetroll trip – without having to think about the logistics.

We met up at Breheimsenteret in Jostedalen at 10am and the total group counted 11 persons and 2 guides – Nahir from Argentina and Lisa from Sweden.

Back in 2014 – Anne and I gave this trip as a 50th birthday present to another friend of mine. Then we were so fortunate to experience chunks of ice from the glacier, floating in the water. That was the icing on the cake, literally.

Chunks of ice on lake Styggevatnet (2014)

But today, there were no chunks of ice. Just kayaking from the Styggevatnet dam to the glacier front.

On our way to Austdalsbreen glacier

The forecast was not good, and it was raining heavily in the morning. But as we were about to head out from the dam, the fog lifted, and weather was quite OK.

Based on the experience I had from 2014, I chose to wear a dry suit. We were then kayaking in the middle of the lake and the distance to the guides was quite long at times. If anyone should fall into the lake – holding 2 deg. C. they would be in serious trouble. And some were really uncomfortable on their first kayak trip ever. As such, I figured that if the worst happened, I could at least be of help. One of the guides made a comment about by outfit, which I chose to ignore.

The plan was to follow the shore and the instruction was – “if you fall into the lake – swim to the shore”. OK. That’s different. No need for a dry suit then.

After 6,8km of kayaking, we arrived at the glacier front, and it was time for lunch before moving on to the glacier.

On shore

I had taken my friend to the Nigardsbreen glacier before, where I introduced him to ice-climbing. With that in mind, the hike on Austdalsbreen glacier was quite boring – if it is permitted to say that a glacier ever can be boring.

On Austdalsbreen glacier

Back in 2014, we did fun stuff on the glacier and it’s not the fault of the guides that there wasn’t much fun to do on the glacier this day. But all in all – a bit boring.

Fun stuff on the glacier (2014)

The “fun” stuff today were the crevasses (it’s a glacier) and the occasional hole

Nice, but how about some action?
Nice, but no adrenaline rush…

The upside was the weather was great!

View up to Rundeggi (not the same Rundeggi as I hiked last weekend…)

When it was time to return, the weather was still great, and since we were on the “shore track”, I decided to skip the dry suit. Then two things happened: 1) The guide wanted us to kayak on the other side of the lake and 2) it began to rain. Big-time! As I had a dry suit going in, I skipped the skirt, and now I just felt stupid.

Skipping the dry suit on the return. Stupid choice…

We were now in the middle of the lake, it was raining heavily and the wind was picking up. We definitely had waves! That said, the kayaks were incredibly stabile, and I was never worried that anyone would end up in the water, even if it was only me and my buddy that had been kayaking in “open waters” before.

After 6km of kayaking, I was dripping wet by the time we returned to the dam. The two Germans in the group insisted of that it had been hailing, with little support from anyone else. The same couple also insisted that the road to Styggevatnet was incredibly dangerous

We headed out from the parking by the dam around 10:40am and returned around 5:40pm. It had been a long day and it was nice to change into dry clothes.

One thing I did back in 2014, which was certainly not on my mind today – was to take a swim in the lake – holding 2 deg. C. Going for a swim is one thing, but diving in – head first – almost knocked me out back then. That was just stupid…

Not to be repeated (2014)

On my way back to Sogndal, the German couple headed out just before me. They were doing 30km/h down the road. This was intolerable, and although I was on their tail, on the left-hand side of the road, they didn’t let me pass. I had to seriously honk the horn to get past them. Seconds later, I was doing 80km/h and they were a dot in the horizon.

Minutes later, I caught up with the Italian couple, not as scared about this road as the Germans, but doing like 50km/h. They saw me coming from behind and were kind enough to pull over immediately.

My thoughts about the trip… I’ve done this twice now, and while I applaud Icetroll for their services and skilled guides, this is the last time for me. Compared to 2014, everything was just too tedious and took a long time. Which is perfectly OK when most clients have never been in a kayak or on a glacier before. But, things take time. Kudos to Icetroll for their service when it came to booking and I have nothing bad to say about them, other than THANKS for providing the service!

The most important thing was that my buddy was very happy about his birthday present!

Trip statistics: ~2,7km on foot, 12,8km in kayak, 190 vertical meters, 7 hours

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