|Veirahaldet & Blåtinden
|Estimated net time||3½-4 hours|
|Difficulty||No real difficulties, but the south slope of Blåtinden is steep and definitely avalanche prone. You should also be careful with respect to cornices; both summits, the right (east) side of Veirahaldet ascent, and left (north-west) side of the upper Blåtinden ascent. You also need to carefully evaluate the avalanche danger when you traverse the east side of Veirahaldet towards Blåtinden.|
|Drinking water||No reliable access to running water during winter.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage at trail head and both summits, but quite patchy between (April 2012).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at ski-centre car park (NOK 30 per 2012).|
|Start height||320 metres|
|Vertical metres||1395 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||12.9 km|
From the intersection of roads E39 and E136 in the round-about east of Ålesund, follow E39 towards Bergen. Drive 6.7 km from the round-about, and then turn left, staying on road E39. After another 1.8 km you get to the Solavågen-Festøy ferry port at Solavågen. Get the ferry across to Festøy.
From Festøy follow road E39 for 35.8 km, to a round-about in Ørsta, and turn left onto road 655, signed for "Sæbø". Drive 4.8 km and turn right, staying on road 655. After another 8.4 km turn left where signed for "Skisenter", and drive the remaining 600 metres to the ski-centre at Bondalseidet. Park at one of the car parks (during opening ours there is a fee; NOK 30 per 2012).
To ascend the first hill, up to 690 metres, you have two options; ski up or take the ski-lift. This route description assumes you do it the hard way and ski up; just ski straight up to the building at the top of the ski-lift. From the top of the ski-lift you continue down-hill to the small lake, Storevatnet. The shortest route is to ski straight across the lake, but if you're not 100% sure about the ice conditions you should circumvent the lake on either side. Note that it's likely to be prepared tracks around the lake on the right (east) side.
From the other side of the lake continue along the second part of the ski-lift, bearing a little left to avoid the steepest section. Then turn a little right (east) and get onto the south ridge of Veirahaldet. Once on the ridge continue north/north-east along the ridge and up the final steep hill to the summit. The summit is marked by a proper cairn, which might be hidden in the snow.
To get across from Veirahaldet to Blåtinden you descend via your ascent route back to 900 metres, where you will find a steep slope to descend towards left (east). It's worth trying to stay as high as possible as you traverse the east side of Veirahaldet, above lake Trollvatnet. Aim for a shoulder above the lake, and from here turn right (east) and ski below the cliff bands in the south slopes of Blåtinden. When you have passed the cliff bands start your climb by zigzagging up the steep slopes. At approximately 1020 metres turn a little right in order to stay clear of the cornices above Blåtinden's north-west wall, and ski north-east to the summit.
From Blåtinden descend back down to the shoulder above lake Trollvatnet, and then proceed down to the left (east) side of the lake. From here find your best way across to the lower ski-lift, and then ski down to the car park.
14. April 2012
The large amounts of snow that fell two weeks earlier, at the start of the Easter week, had prolonged the skiing season considerably, and with some smaller toppings of snow and very little wind it was excellent skiing conditions everywhere. This was something Sigurd and I wanted to take advantage of, and we set off for the Ørsta region this Saturday, after first visiting our local sports shop to get a new binding for my skis for the second time since I bought the skis four months earlier.
We had decided to ski Blåtinden, but after having enquired about the avalanche danger at the ski-centre I became a little sceptical as they recommend not to ski Blåtinden now. We concluded that we would make a final decision on what to do when we got up to the top of the lower ski-lifts, where we would have a view of the mountain; if there were no tracks on Blåtinden we would settle for Veirahaldet.
At the top of the ski-lifts I had no problems making a decision; there was no way we should attempt Blåtinden. There were no tracks and the south side looked dangerously steep for me. Hence we skied up to Veirahaldet, and were happy with OK weather and fantastic powder on top of firm snow. But when we got towards the top of Veirahaldet we could see a group of nine skiers ascending Blåtinden, and after a short discussion at the summit we decided to have a go at Blåtinden. Another skier at Veirahaldet gave us advice on where we could descend in order to loose as little height as possible, and this worked well and we only had to descend to approximately 780 metres.
Ascending Blåtinden wasn't terribly hard for me, but for Sigurd on snow shoes it was extremely cumbersome to traverse the steep slope. Hence he decided to walk straight uphill once we had passed the cliff bands, but this was also very hard work since he kept sliding back down if he didn't really kick the snow shoes hard into the snow. I also had problems, but that was related to fear about the steep descent, but I knew I shouldn't worry about that now.
At Blåtinden summit we quickly changed into descent equipment (skins off, and Sigurd packing his snow shoes), as there was major danger of poor visibility very soon. The visibility was already not ideal, with too little contrasts for real comfort, but the tracks of the nine skiers that had descended before us gave adequate help. The group of nine had skied down to the bottom of the hill, but we concluded it was better to follow our ascent route around the cliff bands and out onto the shoulder in order to have a route back down to the ski-centre with as little re-ascent as possible. As a matter of fact I managed to ski all the way down without taking my skis off, except the small hill at the top of the ski-lift, and with a minimum of ski-skating.
Back down by the ski-lifts I asked Sigurd if he wanted to do some more skiing
since he has an all-year ski-card for all the Sunnmøre ski-slopes, but his reply
was that he was too tired for anything other than some food and drinks. Hence we
drove back to Ørsta, bought some biscuits and Coke, and drove back to Festøy for
the ferry across to Solevåg and the drive home. At the ferry I met Torgeir, with
whom I've done a couple of hikes, and he told me he had been part of a team
attempting Skårasalen but had had to abort the summit because of no visibility.