clock-wise from Grytalisætra
|Estimated net time||6-8 hours|
This route has a number of steep sections,
and most people are likely to want to use a rope in at least two places.
The first section is up towards Storbotnshornet's west top, and the
second is the ascent of the small top north of Storbotnshornet's summit.
None of these ascents are technically difficult but both offer
In addition to the above there are several sections which require concentration, and in particular because of moss in some of the steeper descents.
|Drinking water||Running water in the lower part of the route, but above this you rely on snow in the mountains.|
|GSM coverage||There are a couple of patchy sections but in general coverage throughout the route (June 2013).|
|Parking||Room for several cars at car park by Grytalisætra.|
|Start height||394 metres|
|Vertical metres||1420 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||15.6 km|
Trail head at Grytalisætra, and route to Fremste Skorkja.
From Ålesund drive road E39 (also E136) east to Sjøholt, a little less than 30 km from where roads E39 and E136 meet east of Ålesund. Drive through Sjøholt centre, and turn right onto road 650, signed for "Geiranger" and "Stordal". Drive 7.4 km and turn left where signed for "Vaksvikfjellet". Drive 5.4 km, partly on gravel road, and turn right where a wooden sign says "Grytalisætra". Pay toll (NOK 20 per 2013) at the unmanned toll booth, and drive 1.4 km to Grytalisætra. Park your car at one of the car parks.
Start your walk by following the gravel road east, which soon turns into a path signed for "Lauparen". Turn right off the path after 1.2 km and head south/south-east. Expect some bush fighting, and also a potentially difficult river crossing soon after leaving the path. After having crossed the river continue south/south-east towards the west slopes of Fremste Skorkja. There's no path but you might find some sheep trails worth following. A little before you get to lake Litlebotnsvatnet turn left and head steep uphill to the small saddle left (north) of Fremste Skorkja's summit. From the saddle scramble, in easy terrain, up to the summit, which is marked by a cairn. Note that the summit is most likely a little into the plateau, where there's only a small cairn.
From Fremste Skorkja head south-east up to Sandegga's summit, which is marked by a cairn. From Sandegga head east, down towards the saddle between Sandegga and Storbotnshornet's south-west top. If you hike early in the season it's likely to be best to head down the snow field right (south) of the ridge. Down in the saddle the route continues more or less directly up the steep ridge up to about ⅔ of the way. From here head right along a ledge and then up a couloir to easier territory. The ridge looks much more difficult than what it actually is, but one short section is very exposed and most people are likely to prefer a rope. But even this section has good hand holds and is not technically difficult. You will find a cairn marking the summit of the south-west top.
From Storbotnshornet's south-west top continue north-east to the main summit. This part of the route is easy scrambling terrain, and the exposure is minimal if you stay away from the edge of the ridge. At the summit you will find a small cairn and a summit registration book.
Continue north from Storbotnshornet's summit, and be a little careful on the moss when you scramble down the ridge towards the saddle between the summit and the small top along the north ridge. This small top is easy climbing, with considerable exposure, so a rope should be used.
From the small top continue down towards Trollbotnen, the saddle between Storbotnshornet and Grytavasstinden. From the saddle turn a little left and skirt around Grytavasstinden in its west slopes. Turn a little right and head uphill when you get to a small valley coming down from right, after approximately 600 metres. Head up to the small pass and then continue down to Svartvassegga, the saddle between Grytavasstinden and Lauparen. From here turn left and follow the obvious path back to Grytalisætra.
27. June 2013
Sometimes one gets an offer one cannot refuse; Odd Arne's offer to lead a hike to Storbotnshornet was definitely of that category. So on a warm and beautiful Thursday I met Arnfred, Gunnhild, Mark and Odd Arne at the petrol station in Sjøholt after work, around 5pm. And a little after half past six we were on our way from Grytalisætra.
After some bush-fighting we found a suitable place to cross the river Grytagrova, and I had alarm bells ringing all over the place; I was totally out of steam after 15-20 minutes and we had many hours left of a potentially strenuous hike! And things were made worse by the fact that I was the last to cross the river and had to pick up pace in order to close the gap. It simply felt impossible, but I couldn't give up quite yet. Luckily I was saved by fortune; I had found a better route through the bush on the other side of the river and when I got out of the bush I was delighted to see the others a little behind me. This gave me some breathing space and I got slow down a notch or two in order to see if I could get control of my fatigue. And when we got into open territory I made damn sure I was in front of the pack in order to make sure the going was within my tolerances. Luckily my condition improved considerably by the time we got up to Litlebotnsvatnet, and after a short rest above the lake I had recovered completely.
The next leg was a steep 450 metres walk up to Fremste Skorkja, which included some light scrambling below the summit. I was fully recovered by now so didn't have any problems, but when we walked across the flat area towards Sandegga Gunnhild suddenly had to stop, and was clearly in great pain. I was a bit scared that it was something seriously wrong, but Odd Arne just looked at his mum, smiled a little, and said "cramp". It turned out she was used to get cramps, but had in later times taken magnesium in order to avoid it. This had sorted the problem, but recently she had stopped taking it and was now paying the penalty. Thankfully, and I'm sure thanks to determination and sensible pace, she managed to continue and only had another couple of "attacks" in the first part of the hike. I definitely don't want to think of potential consequences if she had had the cramps in some of the difficult and exposed sections later in the hike ...
By the time we got to Sandegga the sky had turned grey, and partly dark grey, so we started to mentally prepare ourselves for rain and a much tougher hike. Fortunately we only got a few drops, but the clear sky we had at the start of the hike was long gone.
From Sandegga we had the benefit of descending down towards Storbotnshornet on relatively firm snow, which saved us a fair bit of time compared to having to descend on boulder. While descending I was looking across at Storbotnshornet's west ridge, and it did indeed look nasty for a non-climber like me. But with experienced climbers like Mark and Odd Arne, and the knowledge that Odd Arne had hiked all parts of this route on previous hikes, I didn't find any reasons to doubt a successful hike.
Storbotnshornet's west ridge was technically easy, but one short section is quite exposed, and after having first tried without a rope I decided to go back down and rope up since Mark already had the rope in place. This sorted things, and I could comfortably get past this point. Higher up we found some more scrambling terrain, but good hand holds and limited exposure made the rope stay in Mark's back-pack. At the south-west top we rested a few minutes before starting the descent down to the saddle between the two tops of Storbotnshornet. The descent was straight forward, and the ascent of the main summit never got more difficult than easy scrambling with very little exposure. We got a little concerned when mist started to cover the summit just as we were approaching, but this was all gone within one or two minutes, so we could enjoy some food before continuing along the north ridge and the most challenging part of the hike. Storbotnshornet's summit register told us that this top isn't frequently visited; the last entry in the book was Odd Arne two years ago. We were now around half-way in terms of distance and the time was close to 10pm.
The descent down from Storbotnshornet was for me much more challenging than anticipated, because of nasty moss, and in one point Mark had to secure me with a short rope he was carrying. This sorted my problems without much ado, and we could prepare ourselves for the climb up the small top along the north ridge. Mark climbed up first, without the need to secure himself, and then Arnfred, me and Gunnhild followed, roped up. This climb was very enjoyable, and just the right level of difficulty for me to comfortably climb. And also thanks to Mark and Odd Arne for ensuring I felt safe and was able to enjoy.
This climb concluded our challenges for today, but we still had a long way to go so there was need reason to loose focus. Fortunately, again, we could take advantage of snow in order to get down to Tverrbotnsegga, before taking on the hike around Grytavasstinden's west slopes. Arnfred considered including Grytavasstinden, but a glance at his watch told him that that would be pushing it, and it was also clear that none of the others was keen on a de-tour at this time of the night.
We reached Svartvassegga a little before midnight, and were back at Grytalisetra at 1am. From here I was supposed to drive Mark back to his hotel in Ålesund, before heading for home in Brattvåg, but Mark was kind enough to accept my offer of a bed in my house, and hence saving me of an extra hour in the car, which in turn meant an extra hour sleep before work. Thanks!
And thanks to everyone for a memorable night; excellent company both in terms of skilled "guides" and overall perfect hiking mates. Added to my hike to Svartevasstinden together with Mark eight days earlier I had now bagged two tops I wasn't sure I would ever get the chance to visit. I'm definitely on the next time there's an offer.