Bolten from Brunstad via Saurdalen


Estimated net time 7-8 hours
Difficulty The ascent of Bolten from Saurdalen is relatively steep. It is best to start the climb around half-way along the biggest of the lakes in Saurdalen.
Drinking water Plenty of access to drinking water.
GSM coverage Coverage throughout the route except a bit patchy during a small stretch above Brunstadsætra.
Parking Room for several cars around trail head.
Start height 118 metres
Vertical metres 1050 metres for the roundtrip
Trip distance 17.0 km
GPS-file X
Route photo   Start the hike to Brunstaddalen by passing this gate.


From Ålesund drive to Magerholm and take the ferry across to Aursneset. From the ferry port drive 16.9 km towards Stranda on road 60, and turn right where signed for "Brunstad". Turn left 500 metres later, again signed for "Brunstad". Then turn right after another 900 metres, and continue 400 metres along this road. The last 200 metres is on gravel. You will see signs to your left for "Patchellh." and "Brunstaddalen". Park here. If the one space here is occupied you can find more space either 50 metres back or further along the forest road.

Start walking by crossing the gate, where it is signed for "Brunstaddalen". Follow this forest road up to Brunstadsætra, and the continue on the path marked by DNT's (Norwegian tourist association) red "T"s through Brunstaddalen. This path is relatively flat for a long stretch. Towards south the valley gets more narrow and the terrain gets steeper (but not steep). You also pass a big rock called "Storesteinen" (the big stone), and the path now contains more and more boulder.

After you have passed Saurdalsnibba you will see Bolten up on your left. Walk up to the saddle between Saurdalsnibba and Bolten, finding your best route as there is no path here. You are now in Saurdalen, and to get to the easiest ascent route to Bolten you should pass the first small lake in Saurdalen on the left (north) hand side. Continue north-east towards the southern shores of the biggest of the lakes and walk along its right hand shore until almost halfway along the lake. Then turn right and find the best route to the summit. Make sure you aim left of a clear wall close to the summit.

The descent route is the same as the ascent route.


9. October 2008

When I was looking at the maps the night before I set my eyes on Brunstaddalen, since I had never been there before, and it was a short drive from our cabin at Fjellsetra. Further I figured that a visit to Bolten would suit the current snow conditions, since its height is modest compared to other mountains within reach from Brunstaddalen.

When I woke up this Thursday morning I was pleased to see that the weather was quite nice, so I decided to go for Bolten. I left the cabin a little after 9am, and set out from Brunstad at 09:45. It took me 21 minutes to get to Brunstadsætra, which had an estimate of 30 minutes in the book I had used for route descriptions, so I assumed I could get to Bolten in less than 3 hours (estimate of 4 hours). The path along Brunstaddalen was very nice, and I had a fair share of sun along the way. Unfortunately the wind was a bit chilling.

The steep slopes up to Saurdalen caused no problems, and when I got up into this short valley I started toying with the thought of doing both Bolten and Saurdalsnibba. I was now trying to figure out the best route up to Bolten, and considered climbing directly up from the south-west end of Saurdalen. I discarded this option as it seemed a bit steep with snow making things a bit uncertain and difficult. I therefore proceeded past the first lake on its south side, damning the slippery boulder along the way, until I was directly north of the summit of Bolten. I then started to climb more or less directly south, trying to avoid the biggest sections of snow. This climb was not very difficult, but I felt very uncomfortable, in particular because i didn't know what was hiding under the snow; was it slab or something than would allow good foot-hold? The climb was not enjoyable, and I was seriously hoping that I would find a better route for my descent.

At the summit it was fairly windy, but the sun was breaking through the clouds so the view to the very fine mountains around Bolten was very enjoyable. After taking photos and eating my one slice of bread (felt like I could have eaten a whole loaf of bread) I started to worry about finding a decent descent route. I walked a little north-east, but was met with fairly steep snow. But a test of the snow showed that the snow was soft, so I though that this would be an acceptable route. I slowly and carefully made my way down the snow, moving north-east before heading north down towards the biggest of the lakes in Saurdalen. Ascending this route would probably have been very hard work in the soft snow (it was ~50 cm deep), but I would have felt much safer than what I did during my ascent.

When I got down to the biggest of the lakes I kept very close to its shore, avoiding the slippery boulder, and then I continued through Saurdalen on the north side of the southern-most of the lakes. This was a much better route than my ascent route!

The rest of the hike back down to Brunstad was uneventful, and I was happy that I didn't have to climb down my ascent route to Bolten.

Photos 09.10.2008