Rauddalen Area

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasRauddalen AreaSkarddalseggi › Alternative Routes

There are 3 routes up Skarddalseggi. The moraine strewn north flank, the craggy and exposed west ridge and the classic arête of the east ridge, which I have described in the main section as the preferred route. The north flank and the exposed west ridge I have described here as alternative routes.

North Flank Route

The north flank is best done from Leirvassbu lodge. Follow the marked path to Gjendebu, Vi.1, for 2 hours over the Høgvaglen saddle and then along the rocky north shore of the two Høgvagltjørnin lakes until you meet the marked path to Olavsbu cabin just to the north of the west end of the larger Langvatnet lake.

The north flank of Skarddalseggi from the south shore of the Langvatnet lakeCross the river here on stones and follow the marked path, Ra.8, to Olavsbu cabin for 1½km until you cross a wide shallow stream coming down from the small lakes in Semeldalen.

Leave the path here and head east across moorland along the south shore of Langvatnet lake for 2 km. Before you get to a splendid sandy beach with a marshy fringe leave the lake shore and start heading south for a ½ hour up the north flank of Skarddalseggi, heading for the base of a moraine ridge at the lower east side of the glacier between Skarddalseggi and Skarddalstind.

For the next ½ hour clamber up the debris to gain the apex of this moraine ridge and continue until you reach an area of steep slabs on you east. Scramble up these awkward, unpleasant and sometimes loose slabs and then blocks for ¼ hour to reach the broad ridge above. The scrambling here is not technically difficult, but the steep loose terrain make it testing.

Once on the solid broad ridge above this steeper section the incline eases and the route goes up across bare rock and shallow slabs for an hour with splendid views west down onto the crevassed glacier. After an hour of this pleasant ascent you reach the top of the arête along the crest of the massif, which has a precipitous drop on the south side.

Turn east and follow the arête along the top of a snowfield for ¼ hour until you get to the foot of an ominous looking, but easy, crag. This crag is an easy grade II scramble, but can also be circumnavigated on the south side by clambering over rock. At the top of the crag is the large summit cairn.

Return by the same route and allow 8-10 hours. Alternatively head down the east ridge if making the long descent to Gjendebu lodge allowing 9-11 hours or make the difficult traverse over the arête to Skarddalstind and return to Leirvassbu lodge allowing 10-12 hours or Olavsbu cabin allowing 9-11 hours. These two alternative descents are described below as ascents.

West Ridge Route

Skarddalseggi full size mapThe west ridge of Skarddalseggi from the saddle with Skarddalstind is a challenging and exposed ridge. The route down from Skarddalstind to this saddle is quite straightforward, composed of boulders and blocks. However, from the saddle up to Skarddalseggi involves two challenging and exposed scrambles.

The first is not far above the saddle where two slabs meet to form a sharp arête. The 3 metre scramble here is grade III but the exposure is great and protection could be useful especially in the wet. Thereafter it is a steep and airy clamber up to the foot of a much larger crag.

This crag is about 20 metres and can either be tackled straight up a well-cracked grade III slab on the south face or avoided by clambering up steep blocks on the south side of the crag to gain the arête above it again. From here the arête continues past another couple of interesting points before you clamber up again to reach a more horizontal section of the arête.

Follow the arête east for ¼ hour until you get to the foot of another crag. This crag is an easy grade II scramble, but can also be circumnavigated on the south side by clambering over rock. The summit is just beyond this crag.

The return is by the east ridge ascent route to Gjendebu lodge as described below in the main section allowing 10-12 hours from Leirvassbu lodge (9-11 from Olavsbu cabin) having gone via Skarddalstind first. Alternatively return by the north flank as described above returning to Leirvassbu lodge, also having gone via Skarddalstind first, and allowing 10-12 hours.

Alternative Starting Point

It is also possible to get to the base of the main ascent route up the east ridge from Olavsbu cabin instead of Gjendebu lodge.

Follow the main route to Store Rauddalseggi as far as the south shore of Skarddalsvatnet as described on the Store Rauddalseggi page. Continue to follow the quiet southern shoreline over easy terrain until you get to the lakes outflow. If the water is high there might be some difficulty in crossing this stream and it might have to be waded.

The west ridge of Skarddalseggi rises from the saddle with SkarddalstindThere might still be a snow bridge 200m below the lake outlet earlier in the summer but this could be thin and extreme care taken. Once across go over a small knoll to the north and make for a small tarn.

The route up from the tarn weaves its way along wide grassy shelves teeming with alpine flowers and rock outcrops. There is no route as such but it is obviously up and common sense must dictate the best path. After 250 metres of ascent the gradient begins to slacken off and the vegetation disappears.

It is probably best to move slightly to the north side of the spur at the bottom of the east ridge while you are climbing it as the gradient is less here. If you have swung round onto the north side you might now have to cross a shallow snowfield before reaching the flat area at the top of the east spur and where the main east arête starts. Start climbing the east arête as described in the main route section below.

The return is by the same route or down the exposed west ridge and over Skarddalstind back to Olavsbu, allowing 9-12 hours for either route.