Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter
Areas › Slettmark Mesmog Massif › 6.6 Slettmarkpiggen (2163m)
Slettmarkpiggen, 2163m, is an impressive mountain with a sharp top. Together with Slettmarkhø it forms a mini massif on the west on Langedalen and harbours a large and magnificent glacier. It is an alpine mountain which is essentially suited for a summer ascent due to a steep 25 metre grade III crag on one of its peaks, Slettmarkkampen.
|The Route from Fondsbu Lodge|
The two starting places for this can be either Fondsbu or Gjendebu lodge. From either of these starting places follow the path Ra.3 for 7-8 km to the watershed at the top of Veslådalen valley where you leave the path and start up the west ridge. From either lodge this should take about 2½ hours. Due to access Fondsbu lodge is slightly easier to start at.
Leave Fondsbu lodge and follow the marked path Ra.3 for an hour along the scrub covered and damp north shore of Bygdin for an hour. Then leave the shore and make the short sharp ascent up the zig zags on the west side of the cascading Høystakka stream for ½ hour until you reach the bridge.
Once on the east side follow the path north for a good 2 km until you reach the fork with the marked path Sl.1 which goes up Oksdalen and on to Torfinnsbu lodge. Ignore this fork and continue for a short km to the stream which descends from Oksdalen valley. Jump across the stream and then leave the path to head east up the ridge.
The lower part of the ridge is pleasant grassy terrain but as you climb boulders start to pepper the slopes and as you approach the top of the knoll at about 1785m the tundra has largely been replaced by gentle outcrops and stable boulders. At the top of the knoll there is a short shallow slope down to a saddle when the rocky slabby slopes up to Slettmarkkampen start.
This slope is easy to ascend but surprisingly long. There are often lingering snow slopes in the huge shallow bowl to the south and west of Slettmarkkampen. These snowfields are good to descend but it is perhaps best to keep to a higher route on the skyline on the north of this bowl. About ½ hour after heading west from knoll 1785m and climbing the slope to the east of the saddle, you reach the edge of the ramp leading up to Slettmarkkampen. Here there is a wonderful view which suddenly unfolds as you reach the edge. Far below is the crevassed Slettmarkbreen glacier and beyond that are Slettmarkpiggen and Slettmarkhø. Follow the edge of this escarpment southwards up across easy bare rock to the summit of Slettmarkbreen. In poor visibility be vary wary of this edge which is also corniced.
From Slettmarkkampen there is a steep crag on the East Face. This is no more than an easy grade III scramble but the downclimb can be awkward. However, it is not highly exposed and a rope will be superfluous to experienced climbers. From the east end of the small summit plateau of Slettmarkkampen the route heads south for 25 metres. Here there is a cairn at the top of a sloping shelf which descends across the face. This face is about 25 metres high. Follow this shelf northwards as it descends for 10 metres to a 2 metre drop. Scramble down this, over a chock stone to gain the shelf again. Now continue north for another 10 metres going behind a flake and keeping fairly level until there is a steep crack. Descend this crack for 3 metres to reach the more level debris at the bottom of the face.
From the saddle at the bottom of Slettmarkkampen an easy ridge now slowly ascends up towards Slettmarkpiggen. As it rises it curves round a steep snowfield which feeds the glacier and then climbs to a small knoll on the summit ridge. From this small knoll the ridge continues eastwards across a level section to reach the base of the summit crown. It is an easy scramble up this final crown where it is slightly easier to keep south of the ridge crest. The summit itself is on an outlying block to the north of the main crown and it is quite exposed getting to it. On all sides except the West Ridge are steep drops. The East Ridge mentioned in the alternative routes section is a demanding climb.
The return is by the same route. However instead of retracing you steps back to the knoll at 1785m it is possible to descend the vast open bowl to the west of Slettmarkkampen. This bowl harbours large snowfields in the early summer and they should afford a quick and easy descent to a miniscule tarn and the start of two becks in the floor of the bowl.
Continue to the most westerly of the two becks and then head down its west bank. This is the only feasible route out of the bowl and over a lip which is much steeper elsewhere. Pick a route down beside the stream across steep lush vegetation and slabs until you reach easier ground and Oksdalen valley floor.
Cross the stream and join the path Sl.1 from Torfinnsbu to Fondsbu lodges. Follow this path for a km to reach the marked path Ra.3 and follow this for 8 km down to and along the shore of Bygdin again. This alternative descent route will be shorter and quicker than returning down the main ascent route. It can also be used as an alternative ascent route from Fondsbu lodge.