|Estimated net time||6-8 hours|
This is a long hike, and it's well worth
bringing a bike for the lower 6 km, which runs on good gravel road
The hike is technically easy with one notable exception; the gully a little below the summit. This gully has good hand holds all the way and there's no need for any technical equipment in summer conditions, but there's a lot of gravel and small stones so be careful and if you're several hikers in the party either ascend one at a time or stay close together. The crux of the gully is the first couple of metres when descending into the gully, and the best route is probably to stay left as you look down into the gully.
|Drinking water||Many sources of running water at least up to 1100m.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage up to 600m (almost the end of the road in Riksheimdalen) and in the upper part of the route. Else sections of patchy coverage (July 2014).|
|Parking||Room for a few cars around trail head.|
|Start height||60 metres|
|Vertical metres||1495 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||19.9 km|
From Ålesund drive road 60 towards Magerholm and cross the fjord on the ferry to Aursneset. From the ferry port at Aursneset drive 10.2 km towards Stranda on road 60, to Straumgjerde. At Straumgjerde turn right, drive across the bridge (crossing Norway's shortest salmon river), and continue north. Drive 3.9 km from road 60. You are now at Erstad, and turn left onto a gravel road. There is an old sign on the right hand side of the road pointing towards "Riksheimdalen". Follow this gravel road uphill for approximately 600 metres. You now get to a gate, and could in theory continue to drive uphill. But most likely the gate is locked, and if it isn't you might well risk that it is locked when you get back down. You should therefore find parking somewhere close to this gate. There are several places where a car can be parked along the road, but you need to make sure you don't block access for tractors etc. to the fields.
Start walking by following the mountain road uphill. At 320m you get to lake Dammen, and from here proceed another 4 km up to the end of the mountain road at 670m. Note that it would be highly beneficial to cycle up to here, particularly for the descent. Head up to the small cabin and follow the path, marked with red "T"s, into the valley. When you get to lake Storevatnet the path forks and you could in principle follow either leg, but the easiest route is probably found by forking left. This path is very vague in places but there are red "T"s at frequent intervals. When you get to lake Tridjevatnet at 874m cross the stream by the lake and continue on the path on the right (west) side of the lake. At the west end of the lake the path fades away, and from here on there are only sporadic traces of a path, in addition to faint dots of red paint.
From lake Tridjevatnet head towards the stream coming down from lake Fjerdevatnet. Start the ascent a little before you get to the stream, and show some care on the slab if it's wet. Stay on the right hand side of the stream up to the lake, and then pass the lake on the right (west) side, where you will find a vague path a little above the lake. From the south end of Fjerdevatnet continue east and up to a small lake, Femtevatnet, which you pass on the left (north) side. Aim for the left hand side of the gully coming down from the valley and find your best route through scree up to approximately 1200m. From here turn a little left and head north-east up to a distinct gully a little right (south) of Blåbretinden's summit.
The gully requires scrambling, and several moves definitely requires the use of hands for upwards movement, but the hand holds are good and most reasonably fit people will find it technically easy. But there are a lot of loose gravel and small stones, which requires care both with respect to climbers below and also danger of sliding on the gravel. If you're several hikers in the group you should either ascend one at a time or be close together. At the top of the gully turn left and walk the final few metres to the summit, which is marked by a cairn.
Descending the gully is a little more challenging than ascending it, but not technically difficult. Note that all the moves can be done with the back inwards (i.e. face downwards), at least on dry rock. Once the gully has been descended follow your ascent route back down to Erstad.
13. July 2014
Blåbretinden had been very high on my wish list since the spring of 2011, but I hadn't found the right combination of sufficient time and good enough weather to take on this long hike before this Sunday. I was joined by Kjetil and Trond for this hike, and we all met up by lake Tridjevatnet in Riksheimdalen; Trond had been staying the night up in Riksheimdalen and Kjetil and me joined forces at the top of the mountain road since he was walking and I had a bike. Trond's dog Akira was also part of the group.
Hiking Blåbretinden via Riksheimdalen is probably the easiest route to this fine mountain, but it's a long walk and the 6 km of mountain road from Erstad and up into Riksheimdalen is definitely not the most exiting route. But with fantastic mountains all around there is plenty of nice scenery, and the road makes for easy walking. From where Kjetil and I met Trond, by lake Tridjevatnet, things get a little more exiting, and the lakes amongst the mountains are a fantastic combination of the best of Norwegian nature. Our walk past the next three lakes, in gorgeous weather, was an easy stroll, and then things got a little more strenuous as we started the climb up to Blåbretinden's west slopes. There was very little snow, but we did find some stretches of snow which would make the descent a little easier than descending through the boulder.
At the top of the hill in the west slopes we finally got to the gully that would take us up to the summit ridge. After a quick look at the gully we all concluded that it would be best if Trond and Akira ascended first, with Kjetil and me waiting in safety a little to the side of the gully, since it was very likely Akira would kick small stones down the gully. After a few minutes Trond shouted that they were up on the ridge, and Kjetil and me then followed close together. When we re-joined Trond up on the ridge he told us he had had to lift Akira in one place, but otherwise there had been no issues for a dog to come up via this route.
We walked the last few metres up to the summit and enjoyed the spectacular summit views, and also dug into our lunch sandwiches and rested a little before starting the descent. When we got back down to the gully both Trond and I hesitated a little and weren't quite sure how to approach the upper couple of metres of the gully, but Kjetil quickly came to our "rescue" and showed the way. The rest of the descent down the gully can best be described as easy scrambling, but focus is required since there's a fair bit of gravel that can easily cause a slide.
Below the gully we crossed the little snow there was, and then down to the small lakes above Fjerdevatnet. I couldn't resist a quick swim in the lower of the two (Femtevatnet), which was a most refreshing experience with still ice/snow covering some of the small lake. Down at Tridjevatnet we got ourselves a big surprise when we saw a sheep swimming in the middle of the lake. It had probably been frightened by Akira, but as it was now it clearly had problems. None of us had ever seen a sheep swimming, and it was obvious that this animal is not a good swimmer. But luckily it managed to get to the shore before it got too deep in the water, and towards the end it was only a little bit of its head sticking up above the surface of the water.
When we got to the top of the mountain road Trond and I jumped onto our bikes and left Kjetil behind, and I soon concluded that whatever pain you might have in getting a bike up the hills it is such a benefit to be able to cycle back down the 6 km of mountain road.