Sandfjellet from Rypdal
|Estimated net time||6-7 hours|
|Difficulty||No difficulties, but there is a point at 1040 metres along Øspetinden's south-west ridge which will require a couple of easy scrambling moves.|
|Drinking water||You will find stable running water two places; where you cross the stream 2.4 km into the hike, and where you cross the stream 1.2 km before you get to Sandfjellet.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout most of the route, but very patchy in Sandfjellet's south slopes (September 2012).|
|Parking||Room for several cars at trail head.|
|Start height||185 metres|
|Vertical metres||1490 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||13.3 km|
Øspetinden trail head above Rypdal.
From Ålesund drive road E39 (and E136) east to where E136 turns right in the direction of Åndalsnes, just south of Vestnes. Follow E136 7.9 km and turn right where signed for "Øvstedalen". Drive 2.6 km into the valley and turn left a few metres before the small bridge crossing the river, where an old wooden sign points to "Hoemstinden". Pay toll (NOK 20 per 2012) at the unmanned booth after 100 metres, and follow this gravel road in total 1.4 km. Park anywhere on the dead end road going right, making sure you don't block for other cars to turn around. Note that it's likely the road can be driven further, and there's no
A path marked with red paint starts at the junction where the parking area and forest road intersect. This path crosses the forest road several places, and in to places you will need to follow the forest road 10-15 metres before continuing on the path. Approximately 750 metres along the path you get to a registration point (red post box) and a signed path junction. Turn right here, following signs for "Nordigardsetra", and you will get to the cabins after a little more than 100 metres. Continue uphill amongst the cabins and continue another 130 metres to the next path junction. Make sure you fork left, following signs for "Auspefonna", and stay on this path to above the forest. This path will take you east, and after 500 metres the path from Syltesætra joins from left. Continue another 800 metres east on this path, cross the stream by a big stone with a small cairn on top, and follow the path north-east and east towards the right hand side of the saddle above you, making sure you stay left of the cliff band. Note that the path fades away approximately 300 metres after you crossed the stream.
From the saddle north of Øspefonna you will see the rest of your route to Øspetinden; down to the saddle Hoemsskaret south of lake Instebotnvatnet and then up the south-west ridge of Øspetinden. First cross the permanent snow field and then find your best route down to the saddle. From here the ridge leading to Øspetinden summit looks very steep, but if you stay on top of the ridge there are no sections with any technical difficulties, and the only point where you have to engage your hands for more than balance is at a point around 1040 metres. And as you get further up you will find a vague track which guides you to the small summit point, marked by a small cairn. You're likely to find a summit registration book inside a horizontal pipe a little below the cairn.
From Øspetinden head back down the south-west ridge and then back up to the permanent snow field north of Øspefonna. You will find a cairn up in the saddle and from here you can head more or less directly towards the distinct Sandfjellet. Note that a straight line between the cairn and Sandfjellet's summit will force you a little left as you get to the gully east of Sandfjellet.After having bypassed the gully head north-west to the summit, which is marked by a proper cairn.
From Sandfjellet head directly south, 1.2 km, to you re-join the path coming up from Nordigardsetra. Turn right and follow your ascent route back to trail head.
22. September 2012
I had wanted to hike Øspetinden since seeing it from my hike to Storbua a year ago, and with reasonable weather forecast for this Saturday I decided to have a go. I also made a note that I could include Sandfjellet, if the weather and time allowed it.
The long walk up to Øspefonna was without any difficulties, but from here on there were a little snow and icy patches requiring some care. This made me a little concerned about the steep ascent of Øspetinden, but from a distance the south-west ridge looked to be well worth an attempt, with only some minor snow towards the top. But there could still be thin films of ice like around Øspefonna. As I got onto the ridge I soon found the rock to be dry and easy to climb, but at the one point requiring some easy scrambling and with some exposure, I ran into problems. The issue was that I headed a little right just before the mentioned point, and instead of going back to where I made the mistake I tried in vain to find a safe place to ascend. I eventually went back to the ridge and this time I found the obvious route past the point where I had started to mess around.
When I got up to the snowy section there was no reason for concerns, and the upper tens of vertical metres were easy hiking. At the summit I was met with fairly foggy views, and hence didn't stay long. Also, it was a fairly cold place. As I started my descent I decided to include Sandfjellet, which would add at most 1.5 km to the hike. And when the visibility improved as I approached Sandfjellet I was definitely happy to have included this de-tour.
At Sandfjellet I had fine views, including back to Øspetinden, and I had a good overview of an acceptable descent route back down to the path.