Breheimen

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasBreheimenStore Hestbrepigg › Alternative Routes

Store Hestbrepiggen is a reasonably remote mountain and all approaches to it require either a long day or spending a night in a tent or cabin. The two usual approaches to the mountain are either via the south ridge via the spectacular arête which is described in detail below, or via the north ridge from Lundadalen which is described on the main page. The preferred route, although slightly longer than the route from Netosætri (it can still be done in a long day) avoids the exposed arête on the south ridge which should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers. The arête should not be attempted in wet weather as the rock along the route becomes very slippery.

Initially the arête is quite straightforward for the first 200m with only one small section of scrambling. However, it soon becomes far narrower with a huge drop to the west side and a substantial drop to the east side. In addition to this there are a few areas where the rock is a little loose. The first choice section involves a decent of 200 metres in length, which is quite exposed. This section terminates in a 3m pillar/fin the hardest bit of the arête. The pillar/fin can either be traversed along its apex or can be traversed on its west side by following a crack two metres from the apex, with good handholds higher up. From this pillar/fin the arête is still very exposed for another 300m as it drops and then rises to a steep section that is again probably best avoided on the west side over a very exposed traverse for 7 metres before climbing onto the ridge again. The rock on this exposed traverse could be loose in place and it is imperative to go with extreme caution here. After this traverse the arête reaches its southern end at the height of 2131m. From this top there is a reasonably steep descent down to the saddle. A sometimes icy snowfield can be used to get down the lower half of this.

In spring some of the hardest sections of this arête can be avoided with difficulty by traversing along the steep snow formations on the east side of the arête. In summer, however, these have all but melted leaving just the steep glacier and the arête is preferable. It is also possible to avoid the arête altogether by crossing the heimste Breen glacier from the saddle between Østre Hestbrepiggen and Midtre Hestbrepiggen to the saddle between the arête and Store Hestbrepiggen. But glacier expertise and equipment is necessary and there is sometimes a large bergschrund at the southern saddle.

From the saddle north of the arête there is a steep but straight forward boulder field which take about 15 minutes to climb to reach the summit of Store Hestbrepiggen. This climb is made more interesting by following the western edge of the slope overlooking the 300m drop down onto the glacier below.

For the very ambitious it would be possible to make an expedition incorporating all the Hestbrepiggen mountains in one go but this is likely to take slightly in excess of 20 hours with either Netosætri or Trulsbu cabin as the starting point and either as the finishing point.