Slettmark Mesmog Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasSlettmark Mesmog Massif › 6.3 Kvitskardstind (2193m)

Kvitskardtind, 2193m, is a huge pyramid shaped mountain with four distinct ridges supporting it high summit. Between these four ridges are three glaciers all of which are retreating rapidly. Kvitskardtind lies in the long alpine arete to the west of Svartdalen and is arguably the easiest of the six mountains on the ridge.

The Route from Torfinnsbu Lodge
total distance for return trip17km
total ascent and descent1150m
total time for return journey7hrs
difficulty rating - 4season: jul, aug, septno skiingno glacier crossingno climbingpossible but not advisable in wet conditions

Leave Torfinnsbu lodge and follow the path Sl.3 for about 4 km along the willow scrub shoreline and then up the east side of the Langedalsåne river until you are above the scrub at about 1350 metres. Here you can leave the faint path and start to head up across the grassy slopes for a km making for a point about 250 metres south of the waterfall which tumbles down from the hidden glacial bowl on the easy side of the valley.

Kvitskardstind full size mapAt the top of the grassy slope it gets much steeper up the side of the valley to the remnants of the hanging glacier above. This steep slope of dripping outcrops and damp meadows is lush with mountain flowers. Weave up through these outcrops keeping well south of the main stream cascading down for 20 minutes until the steep lush meadows are gradually replaced by big boulders and then a moraine strewn wasteland beyond.

Torfinnsegge

This moraine wasteland lies in a vast bowl with the remains of a once glacier melting on its undulating floor. To the south east rises the dark precipitous shapes of the Torfinnstind Mountains and to the north are the steep crags of Kvitskardoksle. Head across some undulating snowfields on the floor of this bowl, while skirting around a small tarn. Keep in a north east direction towards a more craggy section on the main ridge ahead. This craggy section is Torfinnsegge, a ½ km gnarled arete with on an otherwise gentle rounded ridge between Torfinnstind and Kvitskardtind. The traverse of Torfinnsegge is an interesting, airy grade II scramble and can be included in the day by heading up the steep boulders to the south to gain the main ridge and then traversing its crest northwards. This will add an hour to the day.

South east ridge

On the final slopes of the south east ridge of KvitskardtindUnless traversing the Torfinnsegge head towards the base of this craggy arete crossing the uncrevassed snowfields at the base of the glacier to the eastern fringe of the glacier. Then follow this fringe up keeping on the edge of the glacier or hoping up the boulders on the western side of it. Once you have past the crags below Torfinnsegge leave the easy snowfield at the glaciers edge and start to climb up the boulders heading for a small saddle on the rounded ridge some 500 metres north of this craggy arete and just north of a knoll at 1996m.

From the saddle now follow the ridge north for ½ hour while you climb the easy slope up the stone covered rounded ridge to reach the massive cairn on the summit. On this final slope up to the summit keep away from the precipitous east side where there will be a large cornice at the top of the cliffs which drop down to the lake in Svartdalen.

The return

Kvitskardtind seen from Leirungsdalen valley to the eastThe easiest return is by the same route. However, it is also very easy to descent the south west ridge and slightly more challenging and interesting to descend the north west ridge and return to Torfinnsbu lodge. If you descend the north west ridge then strong parties may consider climbing Mesmogtind also allowing another 3 hours or even Langedalstind also adding another 2 hours to the total time. From more details on these extended trips see the relevant mountain pages.

Winter

In the winter/spring Kvitskardtind is a feasible destination. The steep section from Langedalen up to the glacial bowl below the crags of Torfinnsegge may occasionally be avalanche prone. It is certainly to steep to ski but the rest of the main route is ski-able. The alternative routes are also worth considering in the winter/spring especially the north west ridge. The route up the north east ridge is more avalanche prone and should normally be avoided.