- If you miss a single time you are done, then you don’t do anything more. You do not even become a cripple lying in a wheelchair and being force-fed throughout the life, you are just gets a wet spot … in Norway.
- But beside that has it been a good trip?
- Totally fantastic! It has been really, really fun and really, really scary.
A conversation between Mattias and Øystein on top of Galdhøpiggen
Friday 9 of September, Team Lajt together with the two Norwegian mountain goats, Øystein and Geir leaves Oslo for a weekend in Jotunheimen. The goal is to go around Svellnosbreen, a classic ridge traverse with some of Norway’s (Scandinavia’s), highest peaks. There are a total of 12 peaks over 2000 meters.
Our car with Tobias, Victor and Mattias arrive after nightfall on Friday evening to Spiterstulen. The other car has already been her an hour, so we meet both a raised Lapp cot and finished dinner. We eat with gusto and share the common equipment before it was time to go to bed. We must be up early tomorrow.
The alarm rings at 5:00 and it is pitch black outside, I feel the lack of sleep throughout the body and thinks for a second to remain in my new warm sleeping bag, but quickly I had second thoughts and crawl out. We are eating breakfast and quickly pack the last equipment. Less than an hour later, we are heading out in the dark.
The Norwegians holds a fast pace in the darkness and I have a little hard to keep up, with my heavy backpack filled with 60m rope and other equipment. Pretty soon we arrive at the glacier edge and we have two possible routes up the Tverråtinden M 2302m. Either, walk over the glacier, up the hill and then up the back or to climb the face. We choose the latter. We noticed quickly that the climb was not easy with the damp moss and with backpacks and hiking boots, we do not feel confident to free solo climb up. We decide “better safe than sorry” and brings up the rope and wedges. The climb is going well but we lose a lot of time to secure us. Too much time is lost and well on top, we realize that we are two hours behind schedule. Maybe we would have chosen the easier way up, but that would not have been as much fun.
We continue on the ridge and rapidly reach the western Tverråtind, 2288 m and Big Tverråtind, 2309 m. Once at the Big Tverråtinden it’s time for the tour first rappel (turns out to be the only). We can easily find your anchor is composed of various strands, which are around cavities in the rock, it all feels reliable. We are eager to get down when we are several hours after the plan and are thinking not so careful about where we should are heading. Geir is first out and lower himself down to the first plateau. Once down, it is much rope left so he decides to go further down to the next plateau. The rest of us follow soon after, but once down, we find no new anchor. We have gone down too far, we should have stopped on the first plateau. We still have a few feet of rope left, but the goal is very far to the side of us, will we have enough rope? We start something that may resemble a scene from Cliffhanger. We literally run on the wall to reach the trail. The entire operation goes under the circumstances smooth. But once everyone is down, we discover that the rope have gotten stuck and are impossible to pull down. We are considering for a second to just leave it hanging on the wall. But we change ourselves and Øystein begins to climb up a bit, the same road that we came from and succeed in getting loose the rope.
We are once again on the road, but now even more behind schedule and with some quick estimate, we realize that unless we change the route, we stand on Galdhøpiggen peak no earlier than 21 and from there it is at least three hours down to camp, then in the dark. We are considering going down the glacier and follow it down, but no one has the urge to go back already. We came up with another plan. We can cross the glacier and skip Tverråtindan, 2207 m, Ymelstinden, 2304 m and Storgjuvtinden, 2344 m. Instead, go up on the ridge between Storgjuvtinden and Galdhøpiggen to continue up to Galdhøpiggen peak.
Said and done. We put on the crampons and tie ourselves up in ropes and goes with focused steps over the glacier. We manage to cross the glacier without any major problems. The road up to the ridge is steep and full of very loose stones, but we are fighting our way up and about an hour later we are at the crest.
Now start walking and climbing to the top Galdhøpiggen, Norway, Scandinavia and Northern Europe’s highest mountain. The road to the top is hard and is mostly scrambling. At times it is very exposed to several hundred meters down just next to you. The climb is not difficult but the view does it’s on the psyche. One can see also that we are higher now, a lot more of new snow from the night remains, it makes it slippery and difficult to see the surface.
When we finally reach the summit of Galdhøpiggen, the clock had become a little after 18 and we are tired but happy and do not have a huge desire to take the final two peaks on the way down. So we start walking the long way down.
21.30 we are down at the tent, then we have basically been walking and climbing in 15.5 hours and climbed seven peaks over 2000 meters. It was not quite as planned but we are happy anyway. After a shower and some dinner, we all fall asleep quickly and begin to dream of new mountains and expeditions.