Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter
Areas › Hurrungane › 1.1 Storen or Store Skagastølstind (2405m)
Store Skagastølstind, 2405m, otherwise known as "Storen" is the jewel in the crown of Scandinavian mountains. It is a magnificent tower of hard gabbro which is now a climbers Mecca. It is not strictly part of the continuous Styggedals/ Skagastøls ridge, as it is an outlying spur separated from this main ridge by an alpine saddle called Mohns Skar.
It was the first ascent of Storen on 21 July 1876 with a successful solo attempt by W.C. Slingsby that symbolised the start of mountaineering in Norway. Amongst others Slingsby had yearned after this magnificent peak and had failed previously. His first ascent from Mohns skar saddle is legendary with his partners being too tired or cautious to accompany him.
|The Route from Turtagrø Hotel|
From Turtagrø Hotel cross the bridge and follow the path on the west side of a small river. After 1½ km the path crosses to the east of the river and rises to gain another flat 2 km, halfway along which is a dam. At the end of this flat stretch the path rises again and zigzags up the valley side for 100m in height. At the top of this rise you will reach Heimste Skardstølsvatnet lake and The Norwegian Tindeklubbhytta Hut. Continue to Fremste Skardstølsvatnet lake and follow the path initially along the shore before climbing up to the glacier. Do not be tempted into climbing too early as you will be led into a boulder field.
Once on the glacier don crampons, as is probably necessary, and rope up, then head straight across the glacier to the saddle. This glacier is usually problem free except for one large bergschrund at the top, just before the saddle. This bergschrund is best passed slightly to the west side of the saddle, where it might not exist and there is a far gentler gradient. Just beyond and to the east of the saddle is the Skagastølsbu shelter, know as "hytte på Bandet". This cabin is 3 hours from Turtagrø.
From Skagastølsbu shelter, Storen looks especially daunting but upon starting unfolds into a sustained scramble. On leaving the cabin you must either head up the south-east ridge or well out onto the south face to avoid a steeper area of more slippery slabs. There are a multitude of cairns marking a plethora of routes. The preferred route is to go well out onto the south face climbing slowly and traversing across the south face for 1/3 km until a large steep snowfield is reached. It is safest to traverse right across this snowfield rather than climb it. Once across the snowfield head directly up across scree and rough-textured gabbro slabs.
After at least 1½ hours of sustained scrambling you will arrive at a steeper section of slabs. Climbing these slabs will require rope and they are a pitch in length. There are two routes one up a small gully that turns into 45 degree slabs, and the proffered route which is 20 metres to the left (west) and starts from a ledge slightly higher up. The latter route follows a 50 degree slab up a narrowing crack for 8 metres and then continues up an easier slab on the left of a large block to bring you up to a shelf where scrambling can start again. The slabs are grade III. A rope is recommended here as the consequences of a slip here are dire.
From the top of these slabs there is an obvious route up and across the south face to the south east ridge and the Hjørnet. There is an distinct bump in the ridge about level with the top of these slabs but this is much lower down and is called Det Falske Hjørnet. The real Hjørnet is a good 150m above this and not so pronounced. It is the higher one to aim for. For the last 40 m the route up to the Hjørnet follows a comfortable gully.
At the Hjørnet the climbing begins. It 2 full pitches followed by an 20 metre pitch. This is also the location at the bottom of the 55 metre abseil from just below the top. Depending how busy the route it will take minimum of 2 hours to return to this spot so it is best to don all necessary clothing and leave rucksacks here as Heftyes renne is quite narrow.
From the Hjørnet the route now follows a ledge heading north east above Slingsbybrean glacier. Initially the ledge is narrow but as the traverse continues to the midpoint it widens considerably. At the midpoint a small ridge is climbed to gain a grade II slab. This slab leads to a another shelf from which a grade III slab rises for 6 metres at the far end. At the top of this grade III slab is an excellent belay point on a large and secure shelf.
The second pitch is Heftyes renne itself. The crux of the whole climb is getting of the shelf and into the chimney, a mere 4 metres in all of grade V climbing. Once in the narrow chimney the climbing is initially grade IV but soon reverts to grade III as it widens. After 25 metres in the broadening chimney it soon disappears entirely and there is a further 25 metres to scramble up to reach another belay point on a little summit just under the main summit.
From the top of the second pitch there is a little chasm to cross then a grade II slab for 20 metres to the summit itself of the most coveted mountain in Scandinavia.
The descent is back to the little summit, 20 metres to the south, crossing the chasm again to the belay point. From here it continues for 15 metres back down towards Heftyes renne until you pass a large rock on the right (south). Veer right (south) under this block and continue to scramble down veering right again (south west) for a further 15 metres until you reach another large rock at the top of the 55 vertical metre abseil down a right angled corner. At the top of the abseil is a large rock which makes an excellent anchor.
The 55 metre abseil is initially slightly overhanging even, but soon becomes vertical for 35 metres. The last 15 metres are a jumble of slabs in a gully until you reach the flatter area by the Hjørnet.
From here it is a quick 20-30 minute descent across the south face to the top of the slabs that saw the days first climbing. These 45 degree slabs should also now be abseiled. Instead of continuing to the point that you climbed up previously it is suffice to stop 20 metres before and using the excellent anchor point abseil the 55 metres down the 45 degree slabs and the gully at the bottom to reach the scree again.
From the top of the scree it is quite straightforward to return to the Skagastølsbu shelter by retracing you steps. However, it is difficult to resist the instinct to head straight down, but you must continually veer to the east and keep well away from the ridge to avoid the slippery slabs further down. Once at the Skagastølsbu cabin there are still 2½ hours to go to return to Turtagrø across the glacier and down the valley.