|Gulkoppen from Ullsheim
|Estimated net time||3-4 hours|
The first 4.2 km, up to the cabin at 790 metres, is likely to have machine made tracks. There can be some avalanche danger where you cross the gully at 1000 metres.
|Drinking water||No access to running water during winter.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route (March 2012).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at car park by trail head. The last 150 metres to the car park is a toll road (NOK 40 per 2012).|
|Start height||350 metres|
|Vertical metres||975 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||13.1 km|
From Ålesund drive road E39 south towards Bergen, and then exit onto road 60 just south of Ålesund. This road is signed for Stranda. Follow road 60 to the Magerholm ferry port and get the ferry across to Aursneset. From Aursneset ferry port follow road 60 for approximately 35 km, across Strandafjellet, to where you get to a T-junction. There is an Esso petrol station on the right hand side of the road (per 2012). Turn right here and continue approximately 61 km on road 60 in the direction of Stryn, to the roads 60/15 junction 6.4 km south of Grodås. Turn left here, in the direction of Stryn, and drive 2.7 km. Turn left where signed for "Maurset", and then turn left for "Ullsheim" after another 3.5 km. Drive this road approximately 500 metres to where you pay for parking (NOK 40 per 2012), and finally drive another 200 metres to the car park by the ski stadium. Park here.
Start skiing by heading north, towards the forest clad hillside on the other side of the ski stadium. You will find a forest road which most likely have machine made ski tracks. Follow this road uphill, north/north-east, up to a little above 600 metres, at Grendasetra (signed). Turn left (north-west) and follow the tracks up to a yellow cabin at approximately 800 metres. By this cabin leave the tracks and do a sharp right turn, heading east and then north-east up to 1000 metres. Then turn right onto a ledge, and continue east around the mountain. When the slopes coming down from the summit get less steep turn left and head uphill to the summit.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
25. March 2012
I had noticed in the local tourist association's (ÅST) leaflet of organised hikes for 2012 that there was a planned hike to Gulkoppen this Sunday. My only past experience with these organised hikes was the one to Søre Sætretind last year, which for most parts were a positive experience. I therefore decided to have a go at the planned Gulkoppen hike. On Saturday I called Kjetil, with whom I had done a couple of hikes last year, and he decided to join as well.
When we met the other hikers at the petrol station above Stranda on Sunday morning the conditions looked very dubious with thick fog down to 600 metres, but I knew one of the tour organisers had done the hike the day before, so assumed there would be tracks we could follow if the visibility remained poor. What started to worry me just as much as the poor visibility was the fact that the other skiers that turned up had narrow skis and were of an age way above mine. My main worry was related to the age of the group, and that the pace might be too slow for my comfort. However, Kjetil's worry was the opposite based on the fact that the others had narrow and light equipment. But we both agreed that we shouldn't worry and instead see how things progressed.
After having picked up the second tour organiser a little above Grodås we were in total a team of nine; Bjørnhild (the only female), Elling, Erling, Kjetil, Roger, Svein, and the two organisers Nils and Petter. At trail head it was decided that we would have a go despite the poor visibility, based on the fact that Nils knew the mountain fairly well and the fact that we would be able to follow his tracks from yesterday. It was also decided that we would stick together, which suited me well given the lack of visibility and my lack of knowledge about this mountain.
From the trail head by Ullsheim we followed fine tracks all the way up to the old cabin at 790 metres. By now we were spread out a little, in small groups of 2-4 skiers, so it was natural to gather the group at this point since we were going off-track from here on, and only Nils knew where to proceed. As we were waiting for the last skiers to arrive by the cabin the fog started to lift, and within a few minutes we had gorgeous sun all around, except for the fog still sitting down in the valleys.
The skiing now became a little steeper but not in any way difficult, and it was quite enjoyable to ski up into more interesting territory than the tracks further down. As we approached the summit the group started again to spread out a little, but the group as such made sure none fell too far behind. And navigation would anyhow be easy for those falling behind since they could follow the tracks of those leading.
At the summit we had nice sunshine, but unfortunately the distant view was a bit hazy and towards south it was still very foggy. We enjoyed our sandwiches and took a number of photos before starting the descent. Descending the first section, down to 1200 metres, offered very fine skiing. From 1200 and down to 800 metres the skiing was OK, but the snow was starting to get quite wet and heavy thanks to the shining sun. And then it was pure joy again down to trail head, on the wide machine prepared tracks. Very enjoyable.
Back at the cars we waited until everyone arrived, before Kjetil drove med back
to Fjellsetra, where I picked up my car in order to drive back home.