Getting to the top of Galdhøppingen,
the highest mountain in Norway (2614m), for standing in the fog
Last update July 2015, a long day
Having been on the highest mountain of your new home country is obviously a must if you like to make an effort to integrate yourself. Well, we thought so anyhow and by doing so, we would probably be ahead of most Norwegians. Luckily Jotunheimen is not exactly Nepal and hiking up to the Galdhøppigen not a huge challenge as you can drive up a fair bit, until Juvasshytta that lies on 1.850 m.
The weather seemed to be favorable one September weekend, with some clouds but mostly sunny, and hopefully not many tourists with the same idea. We tried to get a room at the Roisheim Hotel, which is an old super cosy farm and often highly recommended by fellow travellers and magazines, but it was unfortunately fully booked.
So we stayed at the Elveseter hotel, just 10km further ahead. The rooms in the flat building are quite simple, but the main building hosts cosy fireplaces and the restaurant is in one of the old big farmhouses which we like so much.
That morning we got up early, drove the 18 km (30 min) to the starting point - the parking area at Juvasshytta - where we were already at 8 am. Because a glacier (styggebreen) has to be crossed on the way to the top, it is recommended to do it with an experienced guide. So we got the tickets for the tour at Juvasshytta reception, had a last hot chocolate and were ready for the day! A few minutes later the group gathered outside - and wow - it was about 50 people or so, probably because it was one of the last weekends to do the tour before early snow would make it much much harder.
The hike itself
After few instructions by the guides, the group quickly spread out as the walk up to the glacier front could be done by everybody in his or her own speed. With a nice view at the Galdhøppigen we started walking, properly dressed and in very good mood.
We wandered over hill and dale in mildly ascending terrain, following a marked trail for about an hour up to a steeper climb over some ice and rocky ridge. Leaving that behind us, we could now see the glacier in front us but not the Galdhøppigen any longer as some clouds had covered it meanwhile. We hoped for the best.
The glacier is rather vast and as it was late summer, you could really see that it was ice, not just a snow covered, slightly tilted plateau. The colour was something between light blue and grey-white, with a lot of worryingly deep and long crevasses.
After a break - last strengthening before attacking the top - the group (and unfortunately 2 more, so in total there were at least 100 people) split up into smaller teams of 10-15 people, all hooked up with ropes.
Off we went and onto the glacier. It was not tricky, just a bit slippery of course but as the guides circumvented big holes and cracks in the ice, it was not dangerous at all.
It took a while to get used to keeping the right distance to the person in front of you - and not knocking him/her of the feets or getting knocked off because of no slag in the safety line - , but everything went well.
Just the weather got worse and worse: not only clouds were still covering the top of the mountain, but it also became a bit foggy.
To the top
After having crossed the glacier, the rope was removed and the guide told us that the remaining hike was to be done individually again and that we would meet here afterwards for the walk back at a certain time.
Now it was really foggy and we had little hope to see anything from the top, but of course we continued up the steep mountain wall of Galdhøppingen and made it to the top in another 45 min. And yes, as expected, the fog did not suddenly magically disappear. Just lots of other people, in surprisingly good mood, sitting around on the small top next to the cross, having a break, chatting, taking selfies and eating up whatever they brought with them. The same we did. We had a quick look in the little kiosk / cafe which is actually right up there, but as it was too crowded, we spend some more time outside.
Update - Røisheim hotel
Another time, on the way to the Sognefjell, we had a stop-over at the Røisheim hotel which is a bit closer to Lom.
What a fantastic place! Build sometime in the early 19th century, it was early on turned into a hotel, now part of the "De historiske" group.
We liked in particular the guestrooms as some of them were in old stables. And look at the bathroom! Just perfect after a day with long strenuous hikes.
Slightly disappointed we ticked off this hike from our "have to do it when living in Norway" list, but decided right away to return when the weather was more stable and descended on the same way as up.
Back at the car, the sun came out again, of course, but at least the mountain top was still covered by clouds.
Well, next time then!
Walking 60 m and 6.000 years back in time,
into the ice at the Mimisbrunnr
"Stepping though the Ice Tunnel is like traveling 6000 years back in time. The easy walk leads you past rooms, corridors, exhibitions and an auditorium, educating you along the way on climate development, the nature and prehistoric hunting off Jotunheimen. It is a breathtaking journey during which your path is illuminated by the work of artist Peder Istad." It is worth the extra time.
Daily guiding at 10.30 am and 14.00 pm in the period 20th of June - 23rd of August. Then only in the weekends until 14th of September.
The 1 km distance to the entrance is conveniently and nicely done with wodden planks and 8 info stands til the cave entrance.
Distance from Oslo
400 km / 5 hours by car
The hike to Norway´s highest mountain
Visit to the ice cave Mimisbrunnr
Enjoying the view from Juvashytta
As usual: lots of winter sports activities (skiing, sledding etc.) possible
Overnight stay we can recommend
The extra tip
Galdhøppigen has an extra postmark, nice to remember when sending postcard
The tour takes about 7 h in total.
Take proper hiking equipment. Be pepared for sudden weather changes up to snow fall in summer
Joining a group with a guide (against a small fee) is strongly recommended because of the glacier crossin
visitnorway.com about Jotunheim
Click on the map for opening the right clipping in google maps in a new window