Memuru Veo Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasMemuru Veo MassifAustre Memurutind › Alternative Routes

All approaches to Austre Memurutind require a glacier crossing except one which is from Memurubu lodge in the south and this is a huge day. As it is the only approach which does not involve any glacier crossing and as those routes which do require glacier crossing are also long it is the one I describe in detail. I have included two other routes which do require glacier crossing below, namely the route from Styggehøbreskardet saddle and from Memuruskardet saddle:

Styggehøbreskardet saddle can be approached from Glitterheim lodge in the north and Memurubu lodge in the south. The southern approach is long, but can be adapted to avoid any glacier and this is the route described in detail below. The route from Glitterheim lodge follows the path to Spiterstulen for 2½ km until the substantial Veo river becomes braided and is easier to cross. Then head south up steep boulders towards the top of Styggehø. As the incline eases and the top of Styggehø approaches veer west along the west ridge of Styggehø descending into a shallow saddle and continue west up knoll 1810m. From here head south west across moraine debris for a long km to spot height 1882m. At this spot height head south onto the crevassed glacier and follow it up for one km passing to the east of the large nunatak of Nørdre Styggehøbretind, when you can veer south west for a further km to Styggehøbreskardet saddle. For this glacier section rope, ice axe, crampons and experience are essential and none more so than at the approach to the saddle where, even late in the summer, there are often still snowfields covering crevasses and a bergschrund to negotiate. From this saddle onwards the route is described below.

In spring it is possible to ski to the saddle and continue to the summits via the summer walking described in detail below. The spring ski route can then continue down the south side across the two separate Austre Memurubreen glaciers and on into the Memuru valley and to Memurubu lodge. The spring ski route takes a slightly different route from Glitterheim to Styggehøbreskardet saddle. It goes south for four km to the east of Styggehø, before turning west for three km, passing to the south of Styggehø and then across the lake 1632 to the snout of the Styggehøbre glacier. It then follows the glacier up keeping slightly to the east edge. This ski trip from Glitterheim to Memurubu lodges via Styggehøbreskardet saddle is a classic and the ascent of Austre Memurutind will enhance it further.

Memuruskardet saddle is a long journey from north and south alike. From Memurubu lodge it is 13 km up the Muru river to the glacial lake at the snout of the Austre Memurubreen glacier. From this lake it is a further 3 km across the crevassed glacier to base of a short, but messy, 35 degree climb on ice followed by loose scree up to the saddle. From Glitterheim it is six km up the Veo river to the snout of the Veobreen glacier. From the snout it is a further five km across the heavily crevassed Veobreen glacier to the saddle which is not as steep as the south side but has snow covered crevasses even late in the summer season. The saddle can also be approached from the steep east ridge of Store Memurutind 2366m without crossing glaciers (see Store Memurutind page for details). From the Memuruskard saddle the ascent up the west ridge begins with an 40 degree arête up rough iron rich rock for 50 vertical metres. This leads up curving slightly to the south to the base of a 80 degree gully which is 20 metres high. This demanding scramble of grade III is not particularly exposed and is largely on solid rock with excellent holds. There is a little debris in the exit of the gully which could be easily be dislodged onto others. Climbing techniques could be used here especially if wet, but in the dry experienced mountaineers will consider it unnecessary. From the top of this gully there is a further 70 vertical metres of easy boulder and rock to the summit. While it is easier to get to Memuruskardet saddle in the spring, the climb up the west ridge is steep and may involve ice climbing up to grade IV.

As an alternative to climbing/descending the west ridge it is also possible to climb or descend the north ridge. The ridge can be gained at the point where its apex descends into the glacier or slightly to the west of this. Initially it is a steep scramble which eases off until a step of 4 metres which is grade III scramble. From the top of this step it is a simple climb up to the small uncrevassed 25 degree glacier. This glacier will be icy later in the summer season and crampons are essential as it cannot be avoided. From the top of the glacier it is a short easy scramble to the summit. The base of this north ridge can easily be reached from the Memuruskard saddle with a short 1 km glacier crossing but which contains crevasses often covered in snow.