Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter
Areas › Slettmark Mesmog Massif › 6.4 Slettmarkhø (2190m)
Slettmarkhø 2190m, lies in the Gjendealpene range between Gjende and Bygdin lakes. Although Slettmarkhø is alpine in nature, the summit is a plateau which is covered in a flat glacier like Glittertind and Giebmegáisi. Together with its alpine neighbour, Slettmarkpiggen, it harbours a huge glacier on its north side.
|The Route from Gjendebu Lodge|
Leave Gjendebu lodge and take the marked path, Ra.3, to Fondsbu lodge for 3 km passing through the lush birch forest to the treeline where there is a bridge over the Veslåe stream.
Cross the bridge to the south side of the stream and immediately leave the path heading due south for 300 metres across scrub to gain the base of a small ridge west of a tumbling stream.Ascend this ridge initially keeping on the apex where there is a faint path. As you gain height veer towards the tumbling stream and away from the ridge which continues up to the knoll at 1348m.
Continue up the west side of the stream passing to the east of the knoll and enter a wide pleasant grassy valley. It is probably best to follow the west side of this stream for a km in this flat valley until the stream becomes very braided across a flat area and is easy to cross to the east.
Skirting round the west side of knoll 1682m ascend south eastwards passing to the north of a band of steep crags to gain a flatter area between the knoll 1682m and the base of the north ridge. From here head up towards what looks like a triangular peak at the north end of the north ridge, which is about 2070 metres elevation. Shortly, the gradient starts to steepen and boulders and bare rock prevail.
Many of the boulders without a lichen covering are unstable and it is best to keep in a line with the triangular peak where the terrain is more stable. There may be some lingering snowfields, which if in good condition could also offer a relatively easy ascent, but an ice axe may be necessary.
As you reach the top of this sustained slope veer to the south of the triangular peak and climb diagonally up across the remaining slopes. As you approach the apex of the north ridge the boulders disappear leaving easy rounded shallow slabs.
Follow the north ridge southwards for a pleasant ½ km descending slightly to a shallow saddle. From this saddle continue south for another ½ km ascending up a relatively gentle slope of stable stones to reach the edge of the summit plateau. If you continue south along the rounded west edge of this plateau for another ½ km you will reach a small cairn on the western edge of the ice cap.
The summit of the ice cap is 200 metres to the north east of this small cairn. In poor visibility be very careful not to go to far or misjudge the featureless dome, as just to the east of the highest point on the ice dome is a cornice overhanging a huge drop.
The easiest return is by the same route. Instead of returning all of the 1½ km to the triangular peak at the northern end of the ridge it is possible to start a gradual descent from the shallow saddle (a km north of the summit) traversing, almost horizontally, across the upper snowfields of a small glacier.
This should lead to the top of a steeper glacier, now largely reduced to a patchy snowfield, which will offer a fine descent in the early summer, but will be icy later in the season, requiring crampons in addition to an ice axe.
Slettmarkhø is not really considered to be a good mountain for a spring ski ascent, but it would be possible to follow the route described here. The climb up to gain the north ridge from knoll 1682m is steep to ascend, and all but the best would find the ski descent challenging.