Sulafjellet, Oct 22 2022

A fantastic hike on Sula island

Our 14,8km hike on Sula island
Date Peak Height PF Location WCP/FP MAP
22.10.22 Vardane, Sula 776m 776m Sula, M&R, Norway WCP MAP
22.10.22 Grøthornet 650m 37m Sula, M&R, Norway WCP MAP
22.10.22 Langerabben 591m 23m Sula, M&R, Norway WCP MAP

Saturday: Karma had been limping for half a week but showed good progress the past two days – gradually stepping up the distance and vertical meters. Today’s hike to the top of Sulafjellet should have been a continuation of this plan, but today the plan went to hell.

Today’s goal – Sulafjellet

We headed up the Sulabakken route – a route I try to avoid due to ticks, but I was hoping that the recent cold nights had killed those bastards. It was a beautiful day, and it was all good when we arrived at Sulabakken. All I had to do was to turn left by the “Turveg” sign, follow the path to the top and take the same route back down. And Karma would probably be OK afterwards.

Go left. Go left!!!

Instead, the Adensgjølet couloir was “calling on me”. We’ve done that route before and there is nothing pleasant about it – other than bush and boulder. And still, I couldn’t stay away from it. What the HECK is wrong with me? This was the wrong thing to do, on all accounts.

No, no, no….

I tried to find the best route to the couloir, without putting Karma’s shoulder to harm. And eventually, we were in the couloir. I had kept thinking that the rock would be our friend, but it wasn’t. Karma looked constantly for a way out of the couloir.

I can see your point of view…

So, I gave her one and we aimed for Røysahornet. Come to think of it, just like the last time…

Our “exit route”

But to be fair, you get a pretty decent view from up here…

This is NOT a bad viewpoint…

I could see that Karma was tired and the next time I stopped for a picture, she laid down. She normally doesn’t do that.

View from Røysahornet

But now we were up on the meadow, and I hoped that Karma would find interesting stuff to do. And she was like, reborn

Karma’s type of terrain…

The hike across the meadow was just as boring as it ever has been, but eventually we got on the ridge and shortly after – on top of Vardane.

On Vardane – the high point of Sulafjellet

There were lots of hikers up here, which was not surprising. I took my pictures, gave Karma her treat and left the top.

Ålesund view from Vardane

The right thing to do now was to return along the route I should have come up – via Sulabakkhornet. It seems like every time I get this notion of “sensibility” I fight it with all my means. So, I decided to hike in the direction of Eltrane instead. It is NOT a minor detour, but I could always turn around if I saw that Karma was struggling.

Aiming for Eltrane (the tip of the island)

But Karma seemed so happy to be on the mountain that I simply didn’t want to cut the hike short.

First, we headed towards Grøthornet. I never let Karma move beyond my command control, but today I let her stay 50 meters ahead of me. There were no hikers and no wildlife that could get hurt. It’s not that she didn’t want to hike with me. She had forgotten about me

Just drift along. You have deserved it!

From Grøthornet, we continued towards Flesjehornet (581m). The terrain was a little cumbersome as I chose to go off-trail to avoid elevation loss. But eventually, we found a vague path that helped a lot.

It was a stunning view from Flesjehornet. It was only now that I noticed the clouds moving in…

Ålesund view from Flesjehornet

For 3 seconds, I played with the idea of descending from Eltrane, down to the fjord – along the same route as I ascended in 2008. Then I concluded that the idea was totally ridiculous.

Towards Eltrane

Overlooking Eltrane (the western tip of the island), the time was 3:54pm. I would have 2 hours of good daylight left. But not a whole lot more. Should I turn around here and have something to go on in case Karma started limping and I would have to carry her?

Overlooking Eltrane and Breidsundet (the sound) between Hareidlandet and Godøya

And then it occurred to me. I hadn’t been shopping for the weekend. Well, the stores would be open for seven more hours, but they stopped selling beer at 6pm. Sigh. I had been looking forward to a cold beer (or two) after the hike but there was no way I would be able to: a) do 6km hiking back to the car – most of it in cumbersome off-trail terrain and b) drive 15km(+) to the nearest store before 6pm. Or?

Peaks, peaks and peaks
Nice contrasts

So, goodbye to Eltrane and I sat course for Langerabben (off-trail). I could definitely stand a chance of a cold beer if we just stayed on the paths, but revisiting a top I hadn’t been to in 14 years was worth sacrificing a beer for.

Heading for Langerabben

The terrain across Langerabben was just terrible (turfs and holes). And even more for Karma. This was the last kind of terrain I should expose her to.

On Langerabben, looking towards Vardane

But the terrain got even worse as we were approaching Sulabakkhornet. Impenetrable juniper bush. But fortunately, after searching I came across a path that took us through.

I was SO happy when we finally got on the Sulabakken path. I checked my phone. 4:50pm. Holy cow! Plenty of time to make it to the store. The upsides today were just endless. The weather, the terrain, Karma (still) not limping and beer for the evening.

On the path to Sulabakken

I decided to jog down the path. Not because I had to, but because I enjoyed it. I enjoyed feeling in total control on a slippery and rocky path. We soon overtook a (much) younger man – also jogging. He didn’t have a backpack and I wonder what he was thinking when we passed him. God! I’m childish

Sukkertoppen – one of my favorite coastal tops

We were back at the car 5:05pm and I had all the time in the world to drive to Fiskarstrand and obtain “necessities for the fridge”. Driving back to Sulesund, I was wondering how long I would have to wait for the next ferry. It was only on Wednesday I missed the ferry by 10 seconds. Today, I was 10 seconds ahead and watched the gate close behind me as I drove onboard…

Ålesund – and the Aksla mountain

However, the big question was if Karma would be able to walk in the morning…

Trip statistics: 14,8km, 980 vertical meters, 4 hours
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone 13 Pro Max)

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