|Estimated net time||4-5 hours|
This is relatively easy skiing up to
approximately 1540m, where the snow tends to form a ledge less than 100m
below the north ridge. Getting onto this ledge means ascending a very
steep slope. The second difficulty is the cornice going west from the
summit, which is likely to only be possible to get above at the far west
Note that both these steep sections most likely can be avoided if ascending a little north on the north ridge, and then follow the north ridge south and then left (east) above the cornice.
|Drinking water||Many sources of running water in the lower part of the route during spring.|
|GSM coverage||Only coverage in the summit area (May 2014).|
|Parking||Room for many cars around trail head.|
|Start height||685 metres|
|Vertical metres||1080 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||10.3 km|
Start measuring from the 3-way junction on road 60 above (west of) Stranda centre, where road 60 goes towards Sykkylven, Stranda centre and Hellesylt. Drive towards Hellesylt and Stryn.
- At 27.0 km turn left towards Hellesylt.
- At 27.9 km turn right towards Vollset.
- At 38.0 km turn left onto a gravel road, immediately after having crossed a small bridge.
- At 38.1 km pay toll in the unmanned toll booth (NOK 40 per 2014).
- At 44.1 km turn right at the top of the gravel road and park on the fenced-in area.
Start your hike by heading up to the small ridge (at 830m) above the birch forest. If skiing during spring you're likely to stay left of the many streams coming down, and cross them when you get up to the ridge (a couple of them might be a little tricky to cross unless you have the benefit of snow bridges). Turn right when you get to the ridge and follow it towards the end of Heimste Smådalen valley. Stay a little left of the centre of the valley and ski up to the steeper end of the valley. At the top of this steeper section turn a little right and head south-west towards the slopes north of Vollsetskåla. The upper part of this slope (approximately 1540m-1580m is likely to be very steep, partly caused by how the snow builds up and partly because the terrain is steeper. You might want to ascend further right (north) than the most direct route, where you will find slightly easier terrain. If you ski the more direct route you're likely to be faced with a cornice west of the summit, but late in the season you should be able to get across this cornice at the far right (west) side. Alternatively, for the less direct route, you can follow the north ridge and approach the summit above the cornice. Once above the cornice turn left and ski east to the large summit cairn.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
25. May 2014
We were staying the week-end at Fjellsetra, and after a gorgeous Saturday I woke up Sunday morning only to find the conditions had changed to dense mist. But I was determined to hike a new mountain so packed my car and drove inland for one of my two candidates; Vollsetskåla or Tussa. The plan was to drive up into Holedalen and look at the snow conditions, and if OK then Vollsetskåla would be my target of the day. When I got there I could see that I would have to carry my skies not more than a couple of hundred vertical metres, and as I was evaluating the conditions the mist started to lift. Game on!
I had to carry my skis up to around 830 metres, in addition to two very short stretches higher up, but else it was excellent snow conditions with firm summer snow almost throughout the route. And with sun and no wind it was indeed a nice day. But my relatively direct route towards the summit proved to be very challenging (for me) in two places above 1550m. I was partly prepared for steep terrain from what I had seen from below, but when I actually got there I was very close to bail out in the first problematic area. It turned out that what had looked like a ledge running parallel to the north ridge, from 1570m at the north end to 1620m further south, was a huge collection of snow forming a half-pipe running south-to-north, and ascending its east wall from below was definitely not possible with skis on. I therefore put the skis on my rucksack and started walking up, but the terrain soon got very steep and with no ice axe I had to dig in with my hands as well as kicking steps with my boots. When I got to a couple of metres below the rim of the "half-pipe" I felt like climbing a vertical slope, which it of course wasn't, and after having rolled over the rim I just had to spend a minute calming down before the easy skiing up the "half-pipe".
Unfortunately I still had one more problematic section to tackle; the area west of the summit had a nasty cornice, but fortunately the west end of this cornice didn't have an over-hang, so would have to be the place to try the ascent. This area only posed a couple of metres of very steep ascent, so I could climb up by using my skis as poles. From here it was easy 270 metres skiing across to the large summit cairn.
While at the summit I started to look at my options for descent, and concluded that I would be OK descending via my ascent route across the cornice, but getting off the "half-pipe" would require some other route than the one I used for ascent. The only other option I could see was to continue skiing north from the north end of the "half-pipe" and then either walk across a section without snow or cross back to my ascent route below the "half-pipe". In the end I went for the latter option, but caused a number of small surface avalanches in the steep terrain, and was dead keen to get down to safer territory as quickly as possible.
Once below the "half-pipe" I enjoyed superb skiing down to the main valley, and then easy skiing through the valley, entertained by lots of lemmings running around on the snow, and down to where I had to take my skis off for good. Then an easy walk back down to the car. Back at the car I reflected on the steep sections I had climbed, and in hindsight I'm seriously questioning how stable the snow really was.