|Estimated net time||5-6 hours|
|Difficulty||Per definition this is a difficult hike since there is glacier crossing involved, and the glacier Styggebreen is not something that should be tackled without being part of a roped team (unless you are on skis early in the season). The rest of the hike is without difficulties, but the terrain above the glacier is a little steep and you are likely to use your hands for balance in a few places.|
|Drinking water||No stable access to running water.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route, but a bit patch in places (July 2011).|
|Parking||Room for many cars by trail head.|
|Start height||1840 metres|
|Vertical metres||665 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||11.1 km|
From the round about in Lom where roads 15 and 55 meet, drive 19.4 km along road 55 in the direction of Sogndal, and turn left where signed for "Galdh°piggen", "Juvvasshytta" and more. Drive 4.8 km up to the toll booth above Raudbergstulen (fee NOK 85 per 2011), and continue another 8.9 km to Juvvasshytta. Park on the large car park in front of Juvvasshytta.
Start walking by following the vague path south and then south-west. This path gets very vague, but is well signed by large cairns. When you get to the glacier Styggebreen at approximately 2030 metres you need to hook up in a rope in a proper manner. If your hike is organised by one of the many professional guides (recommended for most people) all aspects of crossing the glacier safely will be taken care of.
The route across the glacier will take you to the north/north-east ridge of Galdh°piggen, and from here there is again free walking to the summit. The route to the summit follows the ridge, and involves some use of hands for balance in a few places. A few metres below the summit you will find a manned hut which sells snacks and souvenirs.
Descend by reversing your ascent route, including crossing the glacier as part of a roped team.
02. July 2011
We had come to Jotunheimen with one purpose, to hike Galdh°piggen. In order to improve chances of OK weather we had given ourselves two days, but were now left with this Saturday since yesterday had close to zero visibility down to 1400 metres. Not hiking Galdh°piggen today was not an option, unless the weather was deemed dangerous.
When we drove up towards Juvvass we hit fog at 1400 metres, just like yesterday, but when passing 1600 metres the sky suddenly cleared. Fantastic. There were still clouds down to something like 2300-2400 metres, but having some sun and no fog was indeed inspiring.
We were due to meet at Juvvasshytta by 09:50 in order to joined a roped team across the glacier, but since we had almost an hour to spare Sigurd and me drove across to the summer ski-centre to allow Sigurd to have a few runs on his snow board. Then at 09:45 we rushed across to Juvvasshytta, where Elisabeth, Knut Steinar and Njňl were waiting. So we joined them in the waiting, which eventually produced three guides a little after 10. And after some instructions given by the guides we were on our way, together with more than 100 other hikers.
When we got to the glacier Styggebreen we all waited for the last person, which probably took something like 30 minutes, before the guides roped us up into three rope teams of three ropes each. By now the fog had closed in again and the visibility was down to a few tens of metres. Very annoying, but we were certainly not turning back now.
Crossing the glacier was without any incidents, but we did pass a number of crevasses, and had no problems understanding the need for a rope when ascending Galdh°piggen from across Styggebreen. After the glacier crossing we could leave the ropes behind, and the guides gave final instructions for when we had to be back down by the glacier. The fitter of the hikers found their positions and set out at a good pace, and amongst them were Sigurd and some other youths looking in fine shape. When we eventually reached the summit Sigurd gave us a resume of the race towards the summit, and proudly declared himself the winner.
After a 45 minutes summit rest, without seeing anything of any neighbouring mountains, we started the descent back along the ridge, down to the glacier. We arrived there 15 minutes before we were due, but 60 minutes before the guides arrived and we could start the crossing of the glacier. However, the glacier crossing was stopped even before I got onto the glacier (I was the last person on my rope), and there was some screaming and shouting about "the lady in yellow goes last on the rope". None of us saw anyone resembling "lady in yellow", so we decided to move down hill. But as I was about the enter the glacier I was made aware of a woman wearing a yellow jacket (and jeans!), and understood that this was the one we were looking for. We managed to secure her to the rope, just behind me, and off we went. I had a chat with the woman just behind me as we crossed the glacier, and she told me she was from Lithuania and was in Norway together with a colleague for a conference. She also told me that they had been to the summit and had crossed the glacier without being part of a roped team, but now for the descent the guides had spotted them and wouldn't let them cross once more without a rope. She didn't seem to understand the fuss, and argued there was no need for a rope across this glacier. I couldn't agree less, and had seen several deep holes while ascending. I couldn't help thinking that there are reasons for accidents happening in the mountains, and not all the reasons are related to bad luck.
When we got across the glacier the five of us picked up the pace, and arrived at Juvvasshytta well before the masses. Hence we had a free drive down towards Lom, and could take on the drive back to Sunnm°re, where we arrived at Fjellsetra a little after 20:00, and spent the night at our cabin before the drive back home in the morning.
To sum up this hike: it was a fine experience, but the waiting was a bit more
than what seems to be required. It's also a bit annoying to have been to such a
fine mountain without seeing any of the surroundings. But as so often before, in
poor weather, Arnt's words comes to my mind; "it's better to have been there
than not to have been there".