Grytøya, Harstad – Day 2
Continued from day 1…
Saturday: It doesn’t matter how long the party lasts. Breakfast is at 10am!
After breakfast, it was time to get to the Nona trailhead below Kalveberget. We were not the only ones going up this mountain today.
With respect to the 1000m ascent – our group was diverse. I do this all the time. Being an ultra-runner, Bent is super-fit and well used to vertical meters. Lars don’t hike mountains very often but has this weird stamina and he always pulls through. I was more worried about Morten, who hike mountains way less often. I did a hike with him 20+ years ago, and he had … challenges on the way down. I don’t know how much hiking he has done since then and as he’s a big guy – I was worried if the terrain got steep and rocky.
Being realistic about this, Morten said that he would stop if he got too tired. Fair enough, but it was in the cards that it would be a massive win for the team to see him on top. Not to say a massive win for *him*. After all, this was “his” island and he had never been to the top. So, the plan today was “nice and easy, one step at a time”
The 3km and 430 vertical meters up the forest to lake Vadskinndalsvatnet went well. Everyone was happy and enjoyed the nice weather.
We talked to a couple of hikers coming down from the mountain. They outlined the route, which was not 100% obvious to us. But once explained, it made perfect sense.
The terrain above the lake was all boulder, and the route was marked. Not terribly well marked, but still marked – with a mix of red paint and small cairns. An experienced hiker will not have any problems following it. An unexperienced hiker may…
For every 100 vertical meters we gained, I reported the current elevation to Morten. He seemed to appreciate the progress report, although he was clearly tired. I sensed that the will to reach the top was strong in him.
The boulder isn’t the easiest terrain to navigate through when you’re a) already tired and b) the steepest part yet to come.
At approx. 800m, we entered a steep couloir which isn’t very difficult to ascend if you follow the marked route – bringing you into the couloir from the left-hand side. Note that it’s much more challenging on the way down. A stumble here must be avoided at all costs.
Once inside the couloir, it doesn’t make much difference which side you are on, but I would recommend staying on the left-hand side and scramble on solid rock instead fighting scree.
On top of the couloir, we were now on the SW ridge with still steep – but easier terrain above us.
A group of hikers were coming down the mountain and we were mindful about loose rocks that could come crashing down in lightning speed.
The route led us towards the first top on the summit ridge. We traversed below it and arrived on top #2, where another hiker took a group picture of us. There, I found a neat pinnacle that I just had to sit on.
Then we moved over to the 3rd and highest top.
For the first time today, we had to scramble. The scrambling was easy but exposed. Maybe we chose the most exposed route for the pictures. I don’t know.
But now we were up! Frickin’ all of us and Morten was over the moon! It took us 3h:20m to get there, but for the first time in a long time, I didn’t care one bit about the time-to-summit.
I was quite happy myself. The short summer holiday in northern Norway offered nothing but rain, and this hike plus Lundenesgalten the day before made up for that.
I sure missed my Canon EOS RP, but I was traveling light this weekend…
We were a happy bunch on top of Grytøya island!
After lunch, it was time to begin our descent.
I stopped by the lower top on the way down, just to have been there.
The descent down to the couloir was fairly easy, but we moved carefully.
The couloir was the most challenging part. Not because it was difficult, but it was steep, and we didn’t want this wonderful day to end in a rescue mission. I stuck to Morten like glue, telling him a mllion times to stay low. Easier said than done. A big guy like him can’t stay low without the knees taking a toll.
I was quite relieved when we made it down to the boulder. The terrain was still hard for tired knees, but at least no one would be thumbling down a mountainside.
In the boulder, we met a girl on her way up – cursing the trail marking. I had a feeling that she was probably used to hiking, but necessarily not finding routes by herself. Given that, and the fact that it was running quite late in the day and that she still had a long way to go, I helped her draw the conclusion that she should probably turn around. She seemed happy that someone helped her make that decision.
I was super-happy when we reached lake Vadskinndalsvatnet. The chance for accidents now was slim! Lars’ knees were aching, but he’s a tough guy and could probably have gone on for a few more hours if he had to. Morten, on the other hand, was approaching his limit. The remaining 3km to the car probably felt like 30.
But eventually we were back at the car – almost 7 hours after leaving.
Back at Morten’s summer house, we enjoyed a cold beer by the fjord while Bent took a swim. 12 deg. C., he reported.
The dinner that evening tasted heavenly and staying up until 3am Sunday morning was also an achievement – given the long and hard day in the mountains.
Continued on day 3…
Trip statistics: 10km, 1000 vertical meters, 6h:54m
Pictures (Iphone 13 Pro Max) from the hike: