Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Went up the highest hill in northern Europe and came down again


Drove to Spiterstulen via Visdalen and then walked via Svellnose (2272m), Keilhaus topp (2385m), the Piggbrean glacier (which lower down becomes the Styggebrean or ‘Dangerous’ glacier) to the summit of Galdhopiggen (2469m, P2372). Besides being the highest point in Norway it is the highest point in northern Europe and an Ultra (for the uninitiated that is a hill that has a prominence of more than 1500 metres (and is only my second Ultra ever – the first being Monte Cinto, Corsica)).

Turn your screen 90 degrees to get the full effect of summit elation

The achievement was only marred by the fact that there were rather lot of other people there, of all ages – I reckon I was the oldest, though. On the way up the weather was fine with occasional sunshine. Unfortunately it started to rain as I reached the summit. Thankfully the cloud base was higher than it had been for a while. And there was the pleasure of joining in the speedy and mildly dangerous bumslides down the steeper snow/ice slopes, particularly on the Piggbrean. I know I was the oldest doing this – all the others were under 25 years old – my excuse being that it was an opportunity to practice ice axe breaks.

Piggbrean glacier

A welcome cup of hot chocolate at the end of the day
Judging by some of the route descriptions I have read there is rather more snow around this year than usual.
Spent the night at Spiterstulen – and actually paid for the privilege so that I could have a much needed shower.


  1. Hi Martin,

    well done - did you do it in normal hiking boots or did you need something more technical?


  2. There is nothing technical about this hill if you start from Spiterstulen in summer. In winter you would need ice axe and crampons. Five year old children were doing it - although I suspect Norwegian children are more used to snow than British adults. Take waterproof pants if you intend to bumslide on the way down.
    The more technical route across the glaciers doesn't need special boots - but you are not allowed to do it without a guide unless you are a member of a bona fide climbing club and know how to deal with crevasses.
    Hope that helps.