|Kamben from Pusken
|Estimated net time||6-8 hours|
|Drinking water||Drinking water from the river through the valley.|
|Parking||Room for several cars at car park by trail head.|
|Start height||392 metres|
|Vertical metres||735 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||16.9 km|
From ┼lesund drive road E39 to Sj°holt. Drive through Sj°holt centre, and turn right onto road 650, signed for "Geiranger" and "Stordal". From this junction drive 23.8 km, passing through the village Stordal after 18 km, and turn left where signed for "Over°ye". Drive another 9.1 km to the ski-centre, and from here yet another 2.3 km into the valley, ignoring any roads forking left or right. You cross a narrow bridge after approximately 1.8 km. Find parking on the left hand side of the road just before a road goes off left across a bridge.
Start your hike by following the gravel road east, in the direction of Fokhaugstova. Note you're likely to be able to drive this road 1.5 km, up to 490 metres, and only 300 metres from Fokhaugstova. When the road ands a fine path continues east, and you should follow this path, marked with red paint, approximately 2.3 km from the end of the road. Here you need to make sure you turn right, continuing on a vague path that will take you to a bridge crossing the river. You really ought to find this bridge since crossing the river elsewhere can be difficult. Once across the bridge turn left and walk north-east along the river coming down from lake Litlevatnet north of Kamben. When you get close to the west end of Litlevatnet you should start to climb into the north-west slopes of Kamben, but make sure you continue traversing in order to avoid the steepest sections. Find a route you're comfortable with, and aim for the small saddle along Kamben's long summit ridge.
When you get up on the ridge turn right and follow the long ridge almost 1 km to the summit, which is marked by a cairn and you're likely to find a summit registration book.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
01. December 2012
The weather forecast for this Saturday was excellent, but rather on the cold side. With very little snow in the mountains I had planned on not using skis, but assumed anything up to 1000 metres could comfortably be hiked. I had had my eyes on Kamben for a while, and when I mentioned this to hiking mate Kjetil he was on. We met Saturday morning at the Over°ye ski-centre, and from here drove one car to Pusken. We considered driving further than the car park I had used when I hiked Storlihornet, but the road was very icy so decided to play safe and extend the walk with a few hundred metres.
When we got up to the end of the gravel road and took on the path, we were happy to find the patches of snow comfortably hard and didn't give way when we walked across it. What was less comforting was the fact that there were a considerable number of icy patches, which were a little cumbersome to circumvent because of bush. But by being a little careful in places we made it through the bush in fine style, and making good progress. As we walked through the valley we enjoyed the closeness to some fine mountains, on a nice and mostly sunny day. The terrain made for very easy walking, and the odd dashes of red paint convinced us we were following the right route. But as we got further into the valley the ground got more covered by snow and we couldn't see any path, nor did we pay enough attention and looked for one. But when we got to the river coming down from ┼dalen we were a bit lost. Kjetil proposed we should head back out the valley a little and see if we could cross the river that had been running parallel to our path, but I argued for following the river a little up into ┼dalen and find either a bridge or somewhere the ice looked safe to cross. My argument was that we had seen no signs of any bridge in the valley, and there was very likely there would be something like a bridge since this is a well established route. And after having followed the river uphill a little we did indeed find something, which was probably best described by the word disappointment; red paint on either side of the river but no traces of a bridge. Having come this far we decided to continue uphill and eventually we found a narrow section with ice that looked safe and suitable for crossing.
After the river crossing we had a long walk ahead of us, around the east end of lake Litlevatnet and then up and along the long ridge of Kamben. But when we got down to the lake, since the shore was likely to give less bush to be fought, I got the idea to cross the lake and head up the north slopes of Kamben, saving considerable time and distance. I was pretty sure the ice would be thick enough by a margin, but without knowing anything about the lake and potential currents, and with a relatively short period of sub-zero temperatures, I wasn't fully convinced. But the temptation was too much to take, so we decided to have a go. To play safe (safer) we took one each of my ski poles, and we agreed to keep apart at least 20-30 metres. It turned out the ice was a safe route, and we could take on the north slopes head on. This proved to be a bit more challenging than anticipated, because of steep and hard snow, but thanks to ice axes it never became more difficult than cumbersome.
The last section up to the ridge had some more snow, which wasn't hard enough to carry us, but this was a relatively short section and only gave a few minutes of strenuous hiking. And hiking along the ridge was an easy walk, with very fine views all around. But the summit was a cold place, which Kjetil later discovered after having had the gloves off for too long.
After the summit stop we headed back down our ascent route, but by descending the steep section a little further east than when ascending we found a route not requiring ice axes. And when the steeper section was done we headed left (west) in order to see if we could find somewhere to cross the river than runs along the valley. As we walked along the river we got less confident, but very much out of nothing we found a first class bridge. It turned out to be located quite far from where we had walked through the valley, but I assume when there's no snow on the ground there is a visible path leading to the bridge.
After the bridge crossing it was easy walking back to Pusken, but we missed one of the road junctions above the cabins and ended up doing a slightly different route than what we had intended. And by the time we got back to the car it was just starting to get darker.