Memuru Veo Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasMemuru Veo Massif › 11.2 Store Memurutind (2366m)

Store Memurutind, 2366m, is the northern highpoint of a huge massif encircling Memurudalen with contains 13 mountains and numerous peaks over 2000m. The massif, which is one of the highest in Scandinavian is heavily glaciated and is largely surrounded by large moraine fields. Store Memurutind dominates the north of this massif and is the eighth highest summit in Scandinavia. It has two main summits, the east top and the west top, which are separated by a km long jagged and airy arête. The east top is slightly higher and is the summit.

The Route from Spitserstulen Lodge
total distance for return trip22km   
total ascent and descent1300m   
total time for return journey 9-11hrs
difficulty rating - 7season: jul, aug, septno skiingno glacier crossingno climbingnot suitable for wet conditions

From Spiterstulen Lodge head south up Visdalen valley, keeping about 200 metres to the east of the river on the substantial path. Follow this path for about an hour crossing a couple of smaller streams until you have covered the 3½ km to where the path divides. One branch continues south over 2 substantial log bridges while the other head up to the south east in the direction of the tumbling Heillstuguåi steam. Follow the latter path for half km until it is beside this glacial steam by a gorge.

The obvious path now follows this stream keep on the north side of it for a further three km. The first half across pleasant meadows and the second half across glacial debris, but much of this is gravel and the path remains good. About half km before the snout of the Heillstugubreen glacier the path peters out and it is time to begin the sustained climb up to the Veo skard saddle.

This climb has little to commend it. It is over 500m in ascent most of it across steep, relentless boulders which are reasonably stable. It is probably best to go a little to the east of the direct line and then turn north again for the steepest section. A plus point of the climb is the impressive unfolding view to the south over the towering Heillstugutind ridge with its various alpine peaks and nunataks. After climbing 400 metres the gradient eases, but the terrain is still a boulder field. After about 1½ hours climb the Veo skard saddle is eventually reached and more impressive views appear.

From the Veo skard saddle the route now heads south up the broad ridge to the knoll 2264m, which is where the spectacular panorama of the arête between the two summits of Store Memurutind is finally revealed. From this knoll the route continues south over a broad flat plateau before climbing slightly to reach the cairn on the west top.

From the large cairn at the west top 2364m, which is often optimistically mistaken for the summit the arête over to the east top is clearly visible. During its entire length the north side is a sheer drop for up to 200 metres. The south side is largely composed of 40-50 degree slabs which are often bare, but frequently covered in scree. The apex is sometimes very narrow and is composed of largely stable (but occasionally unstable) frost shattered rock. There are about 5 areas which either climbing techniques or must be avoided on the south side by descending down the south side then traversing across the slabs under the obstacle. The first of these areas is after just 50 metres and is typical of what is to follow. The second obstacle is after about 250m there is a steep drop of about 10 metres. This extends all the way down the ridge it forms on the south side and cannot be avoided. The route past this involves descending the ridge for about 30 metres until a notch is reached. Climb down into this notch where there is a awkward further five metre downclimb on the east side in a vertical chimney to the base of this obstacle. The third obstacle is a pronounced square notch in the arête which has a 4 metre grade IV climb at the east side. This is quite easily avoided on the south side across some 40 degree slabs. The remaining obstacles are not as difficult as these first 3 and can be avoided on the south side without major problems. Towards the east end the arête widens out for the final walk up to the east and main summit. The entire traverse along the arête takes 75 to 100 minutes. Early in the summer season some of the slabs which are crossed to avoid the obstacles may still be covered in snow which will add some hazard and an ice axe is essential. Similarly if the slabs are wet crossing them will be much more difficult and the arête itself will be slippery. The crossing of this arête is only recommended in dry conditions.

The descent is by the same route returning back over the arête to the west top then back down to the Veo skard saddle. It is however a long way back over the arête and it is possible to avoid this by descending the loose steep east ridge to Memuru skard saddle (see above for details). From the Memuru skard saddle it is easy to access the Veobreen glacier and return across this glacier to Veo skard saddle via the saddle to the south west of Veobretind. For this, however, the party needs to have rope, ice axe, crampons and moderate glacial experience. If this alternative route is taken then both Austre Memurutind, 2301m, via some demanding scrambling for 20 metres on the east ridge and easier descent on the north ridge, and Veobretind, 2183m, via the normal route, can also be considered. If both these other two mountains are also included allow 15 hrs from Spiterstulen.