Rauddalen Area

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasRauddalen AreaWalking Routes › Ra.10

Ra.10 Gjendebu lodge to Olavsbu cabin via Skarddalen
7-8 hours / 17km
750m / 290m
Unmarked path.

Leave Gjendebu lodge and head up Storådalen valley on the marked path Ra.2 towards Leirvassbu lodge for 8 km or 2½ hours.

This very pleasant path takes you up through the luxuriant birch forest with a rich undercover of grass and wild flowers for 5 km or 1½ hours, until the is a junction with the path Me.5, which descends down the slope on the east side of the valley. Just beyond this junction, on the west of the grassy path is the private Storådalsbue cabin.

Continue on the grassy path up Storådalen for another ½ hour to reach another junction with the unmarked path Me.8 heading north. Beyond this junction the marked path crosses the turbulent Semelåi on a seasonal bridge and then starts up a short steep step on the north side of  the magnificent Hellerfossen cascade.

At the top of the cascade is the km long Hellertjørni lake. Follow the tundra terrain along  west shore of this lake to northern end. Leave the path here and head west across stony tundra for 200 metres to reach the tumbling stream. This stream is difficult to jump so expect to wade it. If the river is high wade across at the delta where there is no danger of getting swept downstream. Some 150 metres after this crossing is another substantial crossing over a cascading stream which might also have to be waded if high. Once over this second stream you can lace you boots properly again and head up the easy tundra slope to the west for a km to reach Trondsholstjørni lake lying at the foot of the spectacular east ridge of Skarddalseggi.

Saunter round the pleasant grassy east shore of the lake to the inlet stream and climb up the tundra for a short km to reach the larger  Skarddalsvatnet lake, hidden between two of the wildest ridges in Jotunheimen. Head round the south shore of the lake which is surprisingly easy despite occasional moraine. Indeed there are some beautiful sandy areas along the southern shore initially.

After following this easy shore for 2 km to the foot of the north ridge of Midtre Rauddalseggi the terrain changes considerably. The beaches are gone, replaced with bloodsome boulders and moraine for the next 1½ km. It is probably best to keep near the shore initially as you round a spur which protrudes into the lake. Thereafter clamber you way through boulders for a good ½ hour while climbing slightly. Do not go too high but make for the most prominent saddle ahead.

Weave through the boulders above Øvre Skarddalsvatnet lake, 1501m, and below the massive dark and dripping north face of Store Rauddalseggi until you some to the edge of a small glacier. The crossing point of this small glacier is at an altitude of about 1630 metres. Do not go too low as there are larger crevasses lower down the glacier as it slips down to the lake. It is about ½ km across the glacier. The higher slopes of this glacier and the surrounding snowfields are steep and are avalanche prone in the winter and spring making this route risky. Once across this steeper glacier there is now just a gentle snowfield and some easy moraine for ½ km to reach the Skarddalsbandet saddle.

If you do not have the experience level to cross this glacier it is possible to avoid it by crossing the stream between the Skarddalsvatnet lakes and then head up outcrops to a small basin with tarns under the south flank of Skarddalstind. From this tarn filled basin head south west up a ridge between large crags and a glacier to the knoll at 1812m. Descend south west off the knoll 1812 down to Skarddalsbandet saddle where you meet the path Ra.10 again. Add 1 hour to the overall time if making this detour.

From Skarddalsbandet head west for an easy km traversing down across bare rock and tundra under the towering west ridge of Rauddalseggi until you intercept the marked path Ra.8. Turn south here and soon pass the massive boulder to the west of the path at 1500m. From this boulder it is a simple saunter down the easy path for a km to reach Olavsbu cabin.