Memuru Veo Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasMemuru Veo Massif › 11.12 Hinnotefjell (2114m)

Hinnotefjellet, 2114 metres, is a small pyramid shaped mountain with a steep north face down to Vestre Memurubreen glacier. It rises from the very southern tip of this glacier. The neighbouring mountains, especially to the north, completely dominate Hinnotefjellet both in size and character. Indeed, it may be mistaken as simply as a spectacular end of the impressive Heillstugu Ridge which extends from the saddle at the base of Hinnotefjellet northwards.

There are 2 interesting glacial features around Hinnotefjellet. Firstly there is a lake on top of Vestre Memurubreen glacier just at the foot of the north face of Hinnotefjellet. This lake is present during the spring and early summer but then seems to drain away under the glacier after midsummer leaving its broken icy surface resting in the residual hollow formed by the exodus of water. Secondly to the west of Hinnotefjellet lies the glacial lake of Semelbretjörni which has icebergs calving into it from the Semelbreen glacier. This lake must have been about 5 metres higher until quite recently when a dam, undoubtedly caused by the Semelbreen glacier, melted away and allowed the water to pass out. Evidence of this can be seen as a sharp contour, about 5 vertical metres above the surface, round the lake where there is only extremely recent lichen growth compared to the more established older growths above this. This contour is only really discernable when viewed from high above the lake.

The Route from Gjendebu Cabin
total distance for return trip21km   
total ascent and descent1130m   
total time for return journey 7-9hrs
difficulty rating - 3season: mar, apr, may, jul, aug, septskiingno glacier crossingno climbingsuitable for wet conditions

Leave Gjendebu cabin on the path to Leirvassbu and Spiterstulen and follow the Storådalen Valley through woods for 3km and then through scrub for 3 km until you near the spectacular Hellerfossen waterfall, which although not that high is certainly one of the most impressive in the whole of Jotunheimen. Just before the waterfall a small track leads northeast from the main path and heads up a gradient adjacent to the stream coming down from Semelholet. Follow this track uphill for 2 km as it veers north to follow along the east side of the stream coming down from Semelholet and then eventually begins to level out between a small lake on the west and a saddle on the east. The saddle between Hinnotefjellet and the south end of the Heillstugu ridge should now have come into view.

At this point the gradient eases off completely and the track continues for another 2 km over undulating rocky ground northwards towards saddle between Hinnotefjellet and Heillstugu. After 2km this undulating ground leads to the foot of a steep slope that is the southwest flank of Hinnotefjellet itself. To the northwest is the iceberg studded lake of Semelbretjörni which remains frozen trapping the icebergs until after midsummer.

The route now continues north to the now distinct saddle to the north. The path is now all but vanished and route finding across large boulders towards the saddle is dictated by common sense. While this climb to the saddle is only 1 ½ km and only involves 180 metres of ascent the progress is relatively slow because of the boulders. Within ½ an hour of starting this penultimate ascent you should have reached the saddle and see stretching before you the vast Vestre Memurubreen glacier. In spring this is one of the entry/exit points if glacier crossing is being made from Gjendebu to Spiterstulen.

From this saddle the route to the top now heads southwest up the ridge line. This is an 220 metre ascent over ½ km so is quite steep and again over rocky terrain. As you near the top of the ridge there is a band of rusty red iron rich rock which requires minimal scrambling before the summit is reached.

The return is by the same way, but it might be better to descend southwest from the summit towards the middle of Semelbretjörni lake and bypass the saddle beside the glacier. This is a more direct but more sustained route.