In the amazing Jostedalsbreen glacier backyard…
Friday: Anne came up to Sunnmøre 2 days ago, and she had planned a work trip to Stryn – Sunndalen – Kamperhamrane this Friday (she’s a park ranger). I had never been to Sunndalen, and I really wanted to see Kamperhamrane and as the weather was gorgeous and I was on top of things at work – I decided to take Friday off and join her.
In the old days, before the road across Strynefjellet, travel from west to east in this region went through Sunndalen valley, up a rocky pass between Tystigbreen and Sikilsbreen glaciers (Kamperhamrane) before the terrain got smoother on the way to Skjåk. To ease the travel up to the pass, steps were built. In recent years, Sherpas have finalized this work as part of taking care of this cultural legacy.
We left my place on Sunnmøre 8am, only to find ourselves waiting almost 2 hours in front of the Eiksund tunnel due to a traffic accident inside of it. This was not a great start!
On our way along lake Oppstrynvatnet, I just had to stop to get the classical panorama picture…
When we finally got to Sunndalen, the (narrow) road was blocked by goats. Most of them were cooperative, some were plain stubborn and a bunch of them was on a bridge – looking as if they were to jump off the bridge if I came closer. Clearly the “crux” of the entire day.
Eventually, we came through and reached the trailhead 11:30am. 8 minutes later, we were ready to head out.
I never take the day off from work to go hiking, but today was an exception. But I was NOT taking the day off just to see some Sherpa steps. My eyes were on Sætrehyrna above. And to my pleasant surprise, Anne was interested in this top too.
There are two routes to/from Sunndalssætra – some cabins in the middle of the valley. We followed the route on the south side of the river, which also had “Sherpa upgrade”. Now, this was easy street for the cows…
I had not – by any means – let the “dimension” of the hike sink in. To me, it was just “in, up, down”. So, I was a bit humbled when I realized that this hike would not be over 3 hours from now.
The path to Sunndalssætra was good, but so far, we had hardly gained any elevation. Well, maybe 150-200 meters.
On our way to Kamperhamrane, Anne stopped to do a reading from the visitor counting device that was hidden inside a cairn. There had been 260 passages (both ways) since June.
Eventually, we got the rocky route up to the pass in view.
The ascent up Kamperhamrane was easy thanks to the steps.
When we came to a rock that provided shelter from the valley winds, we decided that this would be our lunch spot.
After lunch, we continued up to the pass and we could see far into “Skjåk country”.
However, we were not going in the Skjåk direction, but towards Sætrehyrna. The summit was still a 3,2km hike away.
Then we met Arnvid from Volda – the only human being was saw on the mountain today. Straight up, he asked me if I was the guy with westcoastpeaks.com? I was baffled. “What gave me away?”, I asked. “The dog?” Or maybe Anne, given all the pictures I have of her on the website? But Arnvid told me that he had been spending some time on my site, getting hiking tips for the Sunnmøre mountains and probably noted all of us. Being recognized like this happens so rarely that it’s quite fun when it does. And did Anne have a faint stroke of jealousy, as she is typically the one getting recognized – either through her work or through her “Opptur” books? Probably not 😉
We then parted with Arnvid and moved on. The hike to Sætrehyrna went through fairly easy terrain.
Karma never misses the opportunity of a good roll…
And finally – we reached our (or should I say “my”) goal.
The views were just superb. Maybe the view towards Lodalskåpa (and “Hanken”) was the best, due to the foggy coat (“kåpa” = “the coat”)
To be fair, though – the views were great in all directions.
Now what? Should we go back the way we came (potentially not so fun…) or try our luck with a descent down Tverrelvdalen valley (where we’ve never been before) and hope to find the path down to Sunndalssætra? The answer was – Tverrelvdalen. Of course!
But it wasn’t just a matter of descending straight into the valley. We had to hike 1,3km in the wrong direction before we found terrain that possibly would allow access to the valley below.
The descent went well. We were lucky – or experienced enough – to find a good route down.
The walk down the valley seemed like a “walkover” until we got to the point where the river forced us to thread carefully.
But once past this hurdle, the rest of the walk down the valley was easy and now it was just a matter of finding the path down to Sunndalssætra.
Let it be noted that if we hadn’t found this path, we would have a challenge on our hands. There was not enough daylight left to go back up and return the way we came, and an off-trail descent to Sunndalssætra would also be very time-consuming.
But we found the signpost that marks the route to Sunndalssætra, and now we just had a 500 vertical meter descent before we were back in easy terrain.
Almost down in the valley, we lost sight of the path, but after some off-trail hiking we found it again and entered the valley just west of Sunndalssætra.
We would now follow the route on the north side of the river. This route took us past the Tverrelvfossen waterfall, which was quite nice to look at.
I hadn’t been feeling too well the day before the hike, and I admit I was quite tired when we finally got back to the car. But overall, I was super-happy about the hike in this fantastic landscape. I was already looking forward to my next visit – whenever that would be – to see more of the Tystigbreen and Sikilsbreen glaciers.
Trip statistics: 20,9km, 1460 vertical meters, 7h:22m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone 13 Pro Max) from the hike: