Jotunheimen, Wednesday

Day one

Day two

Day three

The night between Tuesday and Wednesday was quite windy, but we slept ok. We woke up to a great morning with only scattered clouds in the sky. We were glad that we had decided to change our route and skip Spiterstulen and Gjendebu. It would be one day less of hiking, but we would feel more relaxed and enjoy the hike more. While we were doing our morning chores two women passed us on their way up towards the ridge. The evening before we had seen three guys in a tent a couple of hundred meters away from our campsite. They had left too by the time we got up.

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The view I woke up to on Wednesday

The underwear I had washed in my zip-lock bag were still wet. I didn’t care much though, but put them on to let them dry on my body. We filled up our water bottles, made breakfast and then broke camp.

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We finally saw the top of Glittertind

This morning was the first time we actually saw the top of Glittertind. The other days it had been covered in clouds, but this morning the weather was excellent and the top was visible.

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Nice weather while hiking back up the ridge

We started to hike back towards the ridge. From time to time we saw the two women that had passed our camp earlier in the morning. We saw that they met someone, and after a while we met him to. It turned out to be a Swede with his dog, hiking down towards Glitterheim. He had planned to hike basically the same way we had planned, apart from the fact that he actually would try to reach the summit of Glittertind. Something we didn’t prioritize.

We chatted for a while and then continued up, back to the boulders. The trail felt shorter going back, and we passed the ridge and got to the trail intersection. This time we turned towards Memurubu.

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Descending towards Russvatnet

The trail crossed a rather large stream, but when we came to the bridge it was broken. The wires were there, but nothing more. There was a sign pointing us in the direction of the new bridge, that was places further down the stream, a lot closer to Russvatnet.

We came down to the bridge and found the two women there, so we stopped and talked to them. It turned out they were Swedes too. We then continued on the trail from the new bridge, but quickly lost the trail. We had a good notion on where the old trail should be, and bushwhacked through the landscape to get there (no bushes were whacked though). It took a lot longer than we thought it would, and we saw the two women following the shoreline far below us, and they were a lot faster than us.

Eventually we saw two girls further up, and thought they were on the trail so we set course towards them. Apparently they weren’t on the trail, and had set course towards us. We chatted a while and the asked about the directions towards the bridge, and gave us the directions towards the trail.

After about 45 minutes we reached the trail as it was heading down towards the shoreline of Russvatnet.

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It was windy when we walked alongside the shores of Russvatnet

We hiked a lot faster when we reached the trail. The women we talked to earlier were now far ahead of us. I guess their way from the bridge was a lot better.

By now it was really windy. My beanie almost blew of my head and I had to keep wear the hood of my wind jacket for it to stay on my head.

We had set a goal to reach the ridge above Memurubu before nightfall and set up camp there. The next day we would hike Besseggen, and we didn’t want to start the morning with a long ascent. We were quite tired as we had hiked far in headwind.

Eventually we came close to the ridge, and found a somewhat sheltered place with water where we could set up camp. In reality it wasn’t sheltered at all, but the other flat surfaces near was even worse.

While Fredrik started to set up his tent I started to hike the last stretch up to the ridge, to see the views overlooking the lake Gjende. Halfway up though it started to rain, and I turned back.

I set up my tent in horizontal rain. The wind was really powerful. We anchored our tents with at least two rocks in each peg, and double poled Fredriks tent with two hiking poles, as the wind that had bent the pole a couple of nights earlier had only been a fraction of the wind this evening.

When we had set up camp and anchored the tents we hiked up to the ridge. But the wind was almost strong enough that you could lean forward without falling so we turned back down to our tents.

The wind blew hard, and I was really afraid that one, or both of our tents would rip in a seam. I had set up my tent in the correct direction, with the foot end against the wind. The wind kept compressing that half of the tent, but the pole stood strong, without moving a lot.

I could hardly sleep that night. The wind kept blowing with the same force. It howled and roared and the whole tent shocked from the force. Halfway through the night the wind shifted direction and became a straight side wind. Not the best thing for tunnel tents. The tent fabric massaged me the whole night, but the pole kept staying strong and didn’t move much despite the hard winds.

I’ve never slept outside in winds like that before and it wasn’t the most relaxing experience. But in retrospect I’m glad I did it, and got to test my test my new Hilleberg Enan in bad conditions. It handled it without any problems, and I think it was unnecessary for me to worry from the start. I trust the tent do keep me save, even in harsh conditions.

Stay tuned for the last part of the trip report. I’ll also post a short post-hike gear review.

Jotunheimen, Tuesday

Day one

Day two

When we woke up at Tuesday morning in was raining and the wind was blowing like crazy. Fredriks hiking pole, that he used as a center pole in his Sil Hexpeak bent from the force of the wind. We had bad experiences from last year hiking in foul weather, and decided to wait out the bad weather in our tents. We saw one hiker passing our tent on his way to Spiterstulen, and he had a grim look on his face while forcing his way forward in the rain and wind.

Eventually we heard more and more voices. A lot of people came from Spiterstulen heading towards Glitterheim. The rain stopped to, and a little after lunch we decided to break camp. By then we saw kids who couldn’t be more than fourteen years old hike alone in jeans and sweatshirts while playing on their iPhones with bored looks on their faces. It felt wrong to hunker down in our tents any more.

We changed our plans and decided to skip Spiterstulen. Our initial plan was to hike to Spiterstulen and then continue to Gjendebu, Memurubu and then back to Gjendesheim over Besseggen. This was a bit longer than we had time to, so with the weather looking bad, and half a day spent in a tent, we decided to hike back to Glitterheim, back over the ridge and then reach Memurubu from there. This route would be one day shorter than our initial route, but it felt more relaxed than having to race forward to get back to Gjendesheim in time to be back in Sweden by Saturday.

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Glitterheim, with Glittertind covered in clouds

We hiked back to Glitterheim, were we only stopped for a few minutes using the toilets and throwing trash. I also used a payphone to call my wife. We hadn’t had reception since mid Sunday and I had sent her a text with our planned route, and that we would be out of reception for a day or two as I thought Glitterheim would have reception. This was not the case so I thought it would be wise to call her so she wouldn’t worry. She didn’t answer though, so I left a message on her voice mail.

We carried on and passed the bridge over the stream below Glitterheim, and were back on the trail leading towards Memurubu. We didn’t hike far though, but set up camp with views over Glitterheim, and the cloud covered Glittertind.

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Our campsite for the night

The campsite had a good flat surface to pitch the tents, lots of rocks to anchor the guy lines and was close to a stream. The bad thing was that the place was littered with dried cow dung. I managed to pitch my tent in a clear space, but Fredrik complained that he had poop in his vestibule.

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My Hilleberg Enan. In the zip-lock bag I tried to wash my underwear. It worked great

Since we put up our tents relatively early in the evening I took this time to try to wash my underwear in a zip-lock bag as I had read on a forum that you could do that.

I used water from the stream, a pinch of washing powder and some of the hot water left over from dinner. Then I just shook and squeezed the bag for a while before pouring the water out (not in the stream of course). Then I filled it with fresh water a couple of times and squeezed the bag a bit more. I hung them in a guy line to get the worst moisture out, but I knew the underwear wouldn’t be dry the next day. I planned to walk with them on anyways, to let them dry from my body heat. This night it was windy to, but not as much as the night before.

Stay tuned for the last two days of the hike.

Jotunheimen, Monday

Day one.

As I wrote in my pre-hike post I had started to get a cold the week before the trip. I had used everything I could find to make the effects of the cold as mild as possible. By Monday I was starting to feel a lot better.

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It was cloudy, but gradually the skies cleared up a bit

We woke up to better weather than the day before. I was really happy to be up in the mountains. Especially since last years failed trip (more of that in some future post). I was worried that the trip would be canceled or postponed considering my new job and the cold just before the trip. There is something special about the mountains that’s hard to explain in words. But I feel kind of like Bilbo when he says to Gandalf that he needs to see mountains.

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Fredrik packing up before we leave the campsite

We started to hike towards Glitterheim, and soon reached the bridge we had set as a goal the day earlier.

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The bridge over the rapid

The bridge consisted of two steel wires with a net on which wooden boards laid loosely. The boards weren’t fastened to the sides of the rapid, but the bridge hanged loosely over it. It was somewhat scary to walk across it as it wobbled a lot.

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View over the lake Russvatnet

After the bridge the trail turned up and we gained altitude. After a while most of the vegetation disappeared and only scattered patches of grass remained. The whole area, including the trail, was covered in boulders. The higher up we got, the more boulders there were. It was strenuous on the feet to keep balancing on boulders. I had set a goal to reach the ridge before we had lunch and had really underestimated how long it would take for us to walk up there. Fredrik was silent, but I could see that he wished we would have had the lunch earlier. I asked him several times but he said that if the goal was the ridge we would wait until we reached it.

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View near the ridge
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The boulders got worse the higher up we got

We finally got to the ridge and had a nice view over the valley beneath Glittertind. We had a short lunch break. At this altitude it was both windy and cold. We packed up again and started our decent towards Glitterheim.

We filled up water in a stream that had its source near the trail and then continued down the mountain.

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Glittertind, with the top covered in clouds. If you look closely you’ll see Glitterheim

We sat down and had a coffee break before we reached Glitterheim. While sitting there we met a German who was going the same way as we did. He stopped and we chatted for a while. He had planned to go to Slovenia, but ended up taking his VW Campervan to Norway instead. In Norway it had broken down and he then hiked between the cabins.

Fredrik is by no means a lightweight backpacker. Nothing wrong with that, since we all hike the way it suits us. But the German guy saw our packs and said that he thought it was unfair that Fredrik had to carry all the load. He thought we had shared gear, but we explained that we had separate gear but I just liked to keep it light and small. He wasn’t the only one to comment on it though.

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A picture taken the day before, showing our packs

We hiked with him to Glitterheim where we stayed for a short break. He would sleep there, and we would continue towards Spiterstulen. We said good bye and then continued. We hike for while longer and when we found a good spot near a stream we decided to make camp there.

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Another campsite with great views

The weather was really nice, but windy. The campsite was by no means sheltered and the wind blew hard. It was exiting though to set up the tent in windy conditions. I did want to test the tent and see how it did under these circumstances. We made dinner and then went inside our tents. I finished reading Mitt år som nomad and started to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve read it before, but I liked it, and I like to read books about hiking while hiking.

I listened to music when I read and I felt really at peace. Hiking is the best way I know to recharge my batteries and relieve myself of stress.

Posts about Tuesday to Thursday will be up shortly.

Jotunheimen, Sunday

I was able to get my schedule together for the weekend. I went on the first part of my old classmates reunion on Saturday, and after that I drove to Gothenburg to meet my friend Fredrik. In Gothenburg I met a man who bought my old Bergans tent that I do not use anymore.

After that we packed Fredriks car and started to drive towards Jotunheimen. We got away quite late, and didn’t leave Gothenburg until 17.30. We took a dinner break before we reached the Norwegian border and then kept going. The roads up to Jotunheimen are small, and the drive took a long time.

When we started to get close to Jotunheimen the temperatures dropped as we gained altitude. It was down to 1°C. We came to the parking lot near Gjendesheim and decided to pay when we woke up instead. We took out our gear and set up our tent in the birch woods a couple of hundred meters behind the parking lot. I looked at my clock when I crawled down in the sleeping bag. It was 03.45.

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Our campsite for the first night. Neither of our tents were pitched perfectly, but we just wanted quick roof over our heads for a few hours of sleep. Fredrik borrowed my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak

We woke up at around 10.00 and had breakfast. We packed up our gear and headed back to the parking lot, where we payed the fee of 500 kr for one week. After that we walked the paved road from the parking lot to the huts at Gjendesheim. In Gjendesheim there are also boats that ferry people across the lake Gjende, below Besseggen. Many people take the ferry and then day hike Besseggen.

We only had a loosely thought out plan on how to hike, but had decided to either start, or end the hike with Besseggen, which has fantastic views. On Sunday the skies were gray, so we decided to save Besseggen for the last day and headed towards the hut Glitterheim, located below the mountain Glittertind, the second highest mountain in Norway.

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View overlooking the lake Gjende. To the right is Besseggen, hidden in clouds.

We left Gjendesheim at around 11.30. The map said that it was a 7 hour hike to Glitterheim, but we knew from experience that those times were meant for Norwegians, who are basically born with skis or hiking boots on their feet.

The trail starts with an ascent up the mountain. My body was not used to hauling a pack full of weight, and I was still tired for getting to little sleep, so the first part of the hike was strenuous. I did however have a much smaller and lighter pack than Fredrik, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. This was my packlist for the week.

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Boiling water for lunch

We hiked for a couple of hours before we had lunch. I had a portion of rise with tuna, as I had on my hike on Vildmarksleden a couple of weeks earlier. This time though I added a bag of Varma Koppen shrimp soup to the meal, and it tasted a lot better.

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Me, with a weeks worth of gear on my back.

We went on and first passed the lake Bessvatnet, which you could also reach on Besseggen. It rained on and off, and I switched several times from my very breathable wind jacket to my rain jacket.

We went on further, and passed eastern end of the lake Russvatnet. We stayed for a short coffee break when we met a shepherd. He had been living in a small hut in Jotunheimen for three months, tending to 1700 sheep that spend their summers on the hills. We talked for a while with him, and discussed the trail and how we had planned to walk. He also told us that boat that ferries people across Gjende had ferried 30 000 people on July alone. Besseggen is almost a highway with the amount of hikers on the trail each day.

We left the shepherd and kept going. We had set a goal to reach a bridge before we would set up camp. We didn’t reach it though. It was slowly starting to get dark, and we passed a good open space and decided to set up camp there.

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My Hilleberg Enan with my socks airing out on the guy lines.

We set up our tents and unpacked our gear. Fredrik had first planned to sleep without the inner, but while setting up the fly he saw a gigantic (at least according to him) spider under the fly, and decided to go with the inner after all.

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A nice view before a good nights sleep

We had dinner and then went to bed. I laid in my tent reading for a couple of hours before falling asleep. It was a good first day. Mostly good weather, and only occasional rain.

Stay tuned for part 2-5 which will be posted the coming days.