Words and photos: Line Mari Sørra
My name is Line and I’m the store manager at the Norrøna Concept Store in beautiful Tromsø.
I am for sure a winter-person and I identify myself as a skier, although these days I’m probably more of a contractor than anything else as we are renovating our house.
Alpine racing was a big part of my life for a long time before I found the love for ski touring and big mountain skiing. I spend most of my spare time in the mountains, ideally on snow, but when the snow melts and the sun is up 24h a day, I’m not mad at summer either.
Right now our stores are filled with the new and fresh spring/summer wear. Have you seen it? Light and bright fabrics in the coolest colors. It’s really a bomb. Makes me want to head straight to the mountains. So that’s why I am going to present to you my top 3 hikes in the Tromsø area. All of them easy accessible day hikes, and none of them demanding any other equipment than good shoes, a summit snack and a big smile! The degree of difficulty on these hikes are right above the mid of the scale. Not for the one with a huge fear of heights, but with a little mountain time on your back and good weather anyone can do these.
Skamtinden, also known as the Queen of Ersfjord.
A steep peak, 884 meters above sea level with the most spectacular view and exciting scrambling to the summit. You’ll find it at the end of the road as far north on Kvaløya (Meaning «Whale island») as you can get. Kvaløya is actually the 5th largest island off of Norway’s mainland and is propped with a lot of magnificent mountains suitable for both summer and winter activities.
It is kind of a long transport to get there, around 50 km – 45 min to an hour drive from the city centre. Take your time, the drive is quite scenic once you get out of the city.
You pass pretty beach spots (That you some times during the year might call surf spots), amazing camp spots by the sea and even a diving board right by the road for a quick dip in the fjord «Grøtfjorden» if you dare, the water temperatures rarely get above 12 degrees celsius up here.
You also get to pass a lot of pretty mountains on your way to Skamtinden, some great ski classics and cool couloirs you can save for winter. And of course you’ll find endless hiking opportunities, big climbing walls and even some bouldering spots on your way. The possibilities are endless on Whale Island, just 10 minutes from the city!
When you arrive at the parking lot you begin the ascent with a steep and long uphill , but the trail is good, and you always have the sickest view straight out in the ocean. Some say that on a clear day you can see all the way to America… (I’m not sure if that’s really true or if America even is in that direction, but the view is sick nonetheless). The first half of the hike is in easy and light terrain with a very noticeable track. For the second half the terrain gets more loose and rocky. A little bit of a hassle but with good shoes and «with the tongue straight in your mouth» (A Norwegian saying for «Watch your step») it is for sure worth it in the end. The very last 10 meters of this 884 vertical hike is light scrambling. This part I think would serve you best on dry days. Some people choose to stop before this, as it is a bit exposed all the way to the top. You will still get rewarded with a breathtaking 360 view even though you don’t go all the way. There is rarely a lot of snow out here during winter, so Skamtinden is a great peak to kick off the hiking-season early spring.
Store Blåmann (Big Blue Man).
Also located on Kvaløya and is the highest peak on the Island with its 1044 meters above sea level. This peak you will find only 15 minutes outside of City Centre. The North wall of Store Blåmann is known for its climbing and looks super impressive from below. 7-14 pitches, slightly overhanging of fine grained granite. The Eastside of Blåmann is also one of the more demanding hikes on Kvaløya, but the trail is good and well maintained so its for sure a hike that anyone can do with a little mountain time on their feet. Unfortunately it is a lot of different cairned routes so it might be difficult to find your way only following these. Follow the wear and tear in the terrain, pay attention and look up now and then, you’ll find your way.
I would recommend doing this hike in good weather as this mountain mainly consists of a lot of slabs that potentially could get very slippery when wet and with the steepness of this hike that is not a good combo. There are some parts of this hike you might need to use your hands for support as the hike gets steeper closer to the summit.
During Tromsø Skyrace, a yearly trail running competition here in Tromsø, you can do the Blåmann Vertical. It’s a fast and short race and I believe the record is around 35 minutes up. For us regular people you might want to add a couple of hours or three for this hike. But when you reach the summit, you get a spectacular view over all the pretty Kvaløya mountains.
Located on the Tromsø mainland, it is for sure «The Matterhorn of the North». A spectacular hike, with a long sharp ridge and a steep and pointy peak raging 1404 meters above sea level, making it the highest one in the area. And probably also the prettiest. It looks almost unclimbable from afar, but its very much climbable and even skiable in winter. The hike itself starts off with a long and quite gentle uphill, around 1000 verticals. You have now reached «Middagsaksla» at 1080 meter above sea level. Many choose this as the final destination, and if you don’t like heights, scrambling and loose and rocky terrain that might be a good idea. Because from here, the hike gets a little tougher over the ridge for about 2 km. The route is marked with cairns and paint, but you should keep your eyes open and not follow them blind, some of them might lead you off the trail. The terrain also has a bit of wear and tear so you can see where the trail should be, if you get a bit off. After a little on and off the ridge, loose rocks and sand you are approaching the summit. There is a little light climbing in some quite airy and exposed terrain going on here, but if you find the right path and don’t look down you should be fine. It will all be worth it when you reach the summit and get the most amazing view over Tromsø mainland, the backside of our «city mountain» Tromsdalstinden and the Lyngen Alps.
This hike is for sure on the more demanding side of the scale and I would recommend you have a little mountain time in your backpack before you head out on this one.