Photos :Elisa Røtterud and Andreas Orset
Store Skagastølstind is the 3rd highest mountain in Norway, located in the Hurrungane mountain region on Sognefjellet. The mountain is the highest among “Skagastølstindane”, and the traverse across these peaks is known as “Skagastølsryggen”. The mountain was first ascended by the British mountaineer William Cecil Slingsby in 1876. A legendary achievement in the early days of Norwegian mountaineering.
Store Skagastølstind (2405 MASL)
Until the early 1870s, Storen (‘the big one’) had been considered unclimbable, and no one even attempted it. Then in 1872, the English climber William Cecil Slingsby learned about the mountain while he was traveling in Norway. He came back in 1874 and 1875, with the intention of taking on the mountain, but couldn’t make any serious attempts because of poor weather. It was not until 1876 that he was able to stand on the summit. Peak baggers still describe Storen as a test of strength
The trip starts from Turtagrø and takes the usual route in towards Skagadalen and up to Hytta på bandet (1758masl). This ascent of over 800 meters takes about three hours to complete, depending on the weather. From here the terrain begins to steepen and there are a few parts that you need to climb to reach Hjørnet (The Corner). There is a slab which you can rest on here and where you must secure yourself with rope. From Hjørnet up are the sides very steep and you have to climb the rest of the way to the top.
There are numerous routes to Store Skagastølstind.
We’re going for Andrew’s Couloir.
The tour group consists of climbing legend Marius Olsen and adventurer Andreas Orset and myself.
We arrive at Turtagrø in the afternoon.
Turtagrø and Hurrungane have traditions dating back to the 1880s, and are known as the place of birth for mountain sports in Norway. Today, Turtagrø continues to be a center for climbing, mountaineering and backcountry skiing. I love the atmosphere here.
The temperature shows a lovely 22 degrees below zero.
When we arrive the legendary cabin “Tindeklubbhytta”, which is a member’s only cabin, we meet the well known photographer Johan Wildhagen and skier Snekkern.
(Footnote: Snekkern is actually my husband, so I’m not surprised to find them there)
We share a bottle of red and enjoy each other’s storytelling in front of the fireplace.
Semi Alpine start. We ski towards the cabin at Bandet and are amazed by the view.
Here we store our skis and some equipment, and put on harnesses and boots.
I choose the tamok bib, expedition boots, and Gore Tex anorak, the trollveggen Down 1000 jacket, and the troll wall mittens. In my pack I have tea, chocolate, camera, mitt change and my lyngen Down 850 hood.
If I’m cold? Absolutely not.
Norrøna’s gear is the best.
Storen shines powerfully towards us and I can’t wait to touch it
The route is plastered with snow, so it goes well up to the entrance.
Personally, I think it is easier to walk in loose snow than on pebbles and swell.
Andrew’s couloir offers fun and airy climbing.
If it’s harder to summit in the winter? Absolutely.
Some clumsy accidents make time pass us by.
Olsen, the experienced climber leads us up and after five rope lengths we reach the summit.
The view is actually as beautiful during the climb as at the top.
On the return there is a 40 meter rappel north west for the route we used on the way up that took us just by Hjørnet. From here it is just back the same way to Tindeklubbhytta.
We reach Tindeklubbhytta later than we had planned. Both Snekkern and Johan had time to worry, but as we entered the door, the mood was back where it should be. Loud and laughable.