|Torvl°ysa & Kupenibba
|Estimated net time||7-9 hours|
There are several places requiring some
- The rock blocking the ridge above 1600 metres has poor hand holds but several cracks where you can put your feet, and has very little exposure. This point is not difficult for anyone who's done a minimum of easy scrambling.
- The boulder down from Torvl°ysa towards Kupenibba is unstable so some care should be shown if there are several hikers in the party.
- Kupenibba's north-west ridge offers easy scrambling, but there's considerable exposure towards the left side. If this feels uncomfortable one will be able to find an alternative to the ridge by staying a little right of the ridge itself.
- The direct descent down from Torvl°ysa's north-east ridge is steep, and can be slippery on wet days. Some care is needed the first couple of metres down from the ridge, but there are good hand holds.
|Drinking water||Several sources of running water below Torvl°ysa's north-east ridge, but nothing stable above this.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage from Torvl°ysa's north-east ridge and onwards, except in the saddle between Torvl°ysa and Kupenibba (September 2013).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at trail head car park.|
|Start height||510 metres|
|Vertical metres||1760 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||11.2 km|
Torvl°ysa trail head at Herdalseter.
From ┼lesund drive road E39 to Sj°holt. Drive through Sj°holt centre, and turn right onto road 650, signed for "Geiranger" and "Stordal". Drive approximately 40 km and turn right to the Linge-Eidsdal ferry. Get the ferry across to Eidsdal, and start measuring from the ferry port.
- At 0.0 km turn left towards Norddal.
- At 3.9 km turn right towards Herdalen, immediately after a small bridge.
- At 6.2 km fork left towards Herdalseter.
- At 6.9 km pay toll at unmanned toll booth (NOK 70 per 2013).
- At 14.3 km park on the car park on the left hand side of the road, a little before the houses at Herdalseter.
Start your hike by following the mountain road to the first houses, and then turn right and continue parallel with the road, but behind the houses. After you have passed the biggest building (the barn), start heading uphill and aim for a small opening in the forest. You will find a semi-vague path, which will take you up to above the forest. From here continue off-path another 100 vertical metres directly uphill, before starting to turn right (north) towards a small valley coming down from Torvl°ysa's north-east ridge. At the top of the valley continue a little north before turning left and head up to the ridge. This ridge is at first wide, but soon narrows down to just a few metres width. Where the ridge is at its most narrow you will encounter a small obstacle; something that looks like a large stone blocks for further walking along the ridge (strictly speaking it's not a stone but a cliff band). You can either climb this obstacle or walk around it on the right hand side. The latter means considerable exposure, and the best option is to just climb it. This not difficult, and the exposure is minimal, but there are no good hand holds so you have to rely on friction, in addition to the very good cracks where you can put your feet. After this technically easy scramble, definitely the crux of the hike, follow the ridge up to the flatter section and the large summit cairn at Torvl°ysa.
From Torvl°ysa head south down towards the saddle between Torvl°ysa and Kupenibba. It's best to stay a little left in the upper section in order to avoid some cliff bands, and then walk a little across towards right to avoid some slab when you get further down. The boulder is very unstable so some care should be shown, in particular if several people are hiking together. From the saddle follow Kupenibba's north-east ridge all the way to the summit, which is marked by a small cairn. This ridge offers sections with a bit of exposure towards left, but it's easy scrambling and in most places you can stay a little right if the exposure feels uncomfortable.
From Kupenibba head back down to the saddle and back up to Torvl°ysa. Descend via the north-east ridge, and carefully lower yourself off the cliff band where you had to scramble during your ascent. The drop is only a little more than one metre, and if you take your time to find the cracks for your feet you will not have any problems. Continue along the ridge down to 1560 metres, to where it gets flatter, and note a small cairn along the ridge. Descend here, showing some care on steep gravel, and walk down the steep slopes back down to the top of the path above the forest. Then follow your ascent route back down to the car.
09. September 2013
After a slightly disappointing hike to Puttegga on Saturday, because of thick fog, and then a wonderful hike to Ystevasshornet yesterday, I decided to take this Monday off work and hike something proper. When I woke up to a blue sky on Monday morning packed my gear and set off for Norddal and the planned hike to Torvl°ysa. I was also pretty determined to include Kupenibba.
My initial plan had been to hike the north-west ridge, but when I found that there was a north-east ridge that would give a slightly shorter hike, but a finer ridge, I changed my plan to hike from Herdalseter. This would also give me the opportunity for a first visit to Herdalseter.
Fortunately there's a path, although vague, that runs up from Herdalseter to above the forest. From here on the rest of the hike is done off-path, but most of it on easy ground. I knew the "normal" route runs north from above the forest, to the north end of the north-east ridge, but when I got above the forest I considered continuing straight up to the ridge. But at the end I ditched this idea since I couldn't figure out for sure if I would be able to get up onto the ridge, and I wasn't keen on having to come back down and do the more northern route. This route towards the north end of the ridge is slightly boring, and the moss clad north slopes at the north end of the ridge was a little strenuous. But this was soon forgotten when I got onto the ridge proper, which indeed offers a fine walk above the glacier north of Torvl°ysa.
When I got to what I assumed was going to be the crux of the hike, the rock blocking the ridge, I spent a few seconds considering my options, but quickly concluded that the by far best option would be to climb across the rock. The alternative of bypassing it on the right hand side looked very exposed, and in hindsight I would say that this cannot possibly be seen as an easier option; the two-move scramble across the rock is not in any way difficult, at least not on dry rock.
After having passed the rock (actually a cliff band, although it looks like a rock from below) I had some easy scrambling in a couple of places, but it was all plain sailing all the way to the summit. Then, after taking photos and enjoying a sandwich, I headed down towards the saddle between Torvl°ysa and Kupenibba. This felt like quite nasty territory, with very unstable boulder and the danger of fairly large boulder sliding around my feet. Hence I was a little relieved when I got down to the saddle and could take on the scramble up Kupenibba's north-east ridge. This was easy scrambling, and very enjoyable, and I definitely enjoyed the exposure on the left side of the ridge.
At Kupenibba I had a small accident since I lost the top of my water bottle, and I could hear the rattle as it fell further and further down amongst the boulder. And with almost two hours of hiking before I would find water I got a little desperate. The best solution I could come up with in order to keep most of my 5-6 dl of water in the bottle was to stuff my neck scarf into the bottle opening. This worked well, except for the fact that I had left a small plastic item amongst the Kupenibba boulder.
The scramble back down from Kupenibba went without any problems, and the re-ascent of Torvl°ysa felt more comfortable than the descent, and I was ready to take on the long north-east ridge and back south to above the path. But a little after having scrambled down the rock along the ridge, which I had had a touch of concern about, with no reason as it turned out, I found a tiny cairn along the ridge. When I looked closer it seemed pretty obvious that this would be a good place to descend, but definitely very steep. I considered my options a few times, and concluded that this would not be steeper than some of the other hikes I had done this summer. And in terms of technical difficulties it worked well, but this is a steep hill of more than 500 vertical metres, and towards the end of a longish hike it does take its toll to keep the required concentration when you're starting to feel you've completed the hike. The good thing with this route was that I was hiking along a stream and had easy access to running water.
Back at the car I figured out I would just have time for a change of clothes in order to time it well with the next ferry from Eidsdal. And when I approached Norddal centre things improved even more, and I figured out I would also have time for a quick stop at the local store for a Coke and a banana. Very nice, and it felt well deserved.