|Eggene and Matøskja from Øysteberget (ski)
|Estimated net time||5-6 hours|
|Difficulty||Usually no difficulties, but the final ascent to Matøskja is steep and might require use of crampons and/or ice axe.|
|Drinking water||No access to running water during winter, but there might be access to water from various streams during spring.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage at the summits and most of the route (January 2009).|
|Parking||Room for a few cars at the uppermost farm at Øysteberget. You should ask for permission to park.|
|Start height||240 metres|
|Vertical metres||1340 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||13.9 km|
Matøskja trail head above the farm at Øysteberget.
From Ålesund drive road E39 to Solavågen and take the ferry across to Festøy. From Festøy continue on road E39 towards Ørsta and Volda. 44.6 km after leaving Festøy ferry port you get to the ferry port at Volda. From here continue on road 651, signed for "Fyrde", and continue for 19.8 km. You are now in Austefjord and see a kindergarten on your left hand side. Turn right, across the bridge (signed "Straumshamn"), and continue another 8.5 km along road 651 to Høydalen. Turn sharp left and drive 2.2 km uphill on gravel road until you get to the farm at Øysteberget. Park here (ask for permission to park).
You will see a red wooden gate just above trail head; pass through this gate and continue west. If there is little snow and you see the fence, ski on the right hand side of this fence. When you have gained a little height you will see a ridge with a cairn to the west/south-west. Find your best route to the foot of this ridge and follow the ridge up and past the cairn. You will soon be above lake Grøndalsvatnet. Continue on the right (north) side of the lake. If you are sure the ice is safe to cross you head across the lake towards the small valley coming to the west shore of the lake. If the quality of the ice is suspicious then you need to ski around the lake and come back south along the west shore.
From the small valley on the western side of lake Grøndalsvatnet continue up to a small top, which in turn is the start of another small valley, heading south. When the terrain gets flatter, at around 1150 metres, you gradually turn left (south-east) towards Eggene, and ascend this mountain from north-west.
Descend Eggene along the south ridge, down to the saddle between Eggene and Matøskja. Find your best route along the ridge between the two mountains, and then climb the final steep section up to Matøskja summit.
The descent route follows the ascent route, with the obvious exception of not visiting Eggene a second time. When you get down to Grøndalsvatnet you can consider crossing the length of the lake across to its north-eastern part. From here you can ski down a short valley, which will take you down to a mountain road that goes back to trail head.
31. January 2009
In the middle of the week Arnt called me and asked if I wanted to join him, Petter and Åsmund for a hike to Matøskja on Saturday. I had never heard of Matøskja, but since Arnt had invited me I assumed he had evaluated my abilities and found that I would be able to take on this hike. So I said "yes, sure, where is this mountain", and after a little explanation on the location of the mountain I dived into the maps and Internet and found sufficient information for me to have some idea about what Saturday was going to bring.
I left home 07:10 on Saturday morning, and met Arnt and Petter in Volda at 09:10. We then drove to trail head in separate cars, where Åsmund was already waiting for us.
After some preparations we were all set at 09:55, with the skis tucked to the rucksacks since there was hardly any snow at all below 450 metres. Åsmund had headed out before us, and when we caught up with him we were at the other side of a barbed fence; for some reason we had missed the second of the two gates. But the fence wasn't higher than what we managed to cope with without tearing holes in our clothes, so we were soon together as a group and ready to continue.
At the bottom of the ridge south of lake Nykkjedalsvatnet we decided to put on the skis, and after some hazel with Petter's bindings (he had had to borrow all equipment since his stuff had been left behind in Bergen by SAS) we were doing decent pace uphill. By now the strong wind was starting to be a bit annoying, but since the temperature was above zero it wasn't really uncomfortable, just annoying on an else fantastic day.
We crossed the ice (yes, ice with only patches of snow) on Grøndalsvatnet, and headed up the slopes to the flatter section above 1100 metres. The wind was now fairly strong. At 1160 metres we decided to change from skis to crampons on the very icy surface. We found a rock sticking up 3-4 metres and found shelter behind it, on the north side, and also took the opportunity to have some food. With crampons there were no problems proceeding on the icy snow, and soon we had reached the top of Eggene. After a couple of summit photos we headed down to the saddle between Eggene and Matøskja and the final climb to Matøskja's summit.
By the time we got to the summit of Matøskja (we reached 1332 at 13:32) the wind had calmed down considerably, and the fantastic weather combined with outstanding views made the time spent on the summit a memorable experience. The compulsory summit photos were taken, and I was improving my geography knowledge by having all my questions answered by my three experienced fellow hikers. I couldn't help to tell myself several times how lucky I was to have been invited along for this hike!
From the summit we had an uneventful walk back to where we left the skis. After having put the skis back on we started on the long run back down to Grøndalsvatnet. I was a bit anxious about this section of the hike, since the snow was rock hard, but thanks to my recently gained knowledge about how to do parallel turns it turned out to be very joyful. Somewhere down these slopes Åsmund asked if it was OK for him to leave the rest of us behind as he was supposed to turn up at a birthday party; it didn't last long before he was out of sight.
We crossed lake Grøndalsvatnet all the way to its north-east end, and then skied down to the mountain road that runs back to the trail head. Halfway down this road we had to take off the skis and walk the remaining few hundred metres back to the cars.
After having changed into something more suitable for driving it was off home. I called Elisabeth to get ferry times, and as I had hoped there was room for a quick stop to treat myself with a chocolate and a Coke; well deserved, in my eyes. At 18:10 I was home, eleven hours after leaving home, with two new mountains in the bag, more experience, having met two first class chaps, and having spent a gorgeous day in the mountains. A perfect Saturday!