Smørstabb Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasSmørstabb MassifSaksi › Alternative Routes

Saksi is a complicated and steep mountain. It is most easily and safely climbed via the north ridge from the saddle with peak 2077m and this is the route described in detail below. All but the difficult east ridge starts from Bjørnskardet saddle. This saddle can be approached from Leirvassbu lodge over the much crevassed Bjørnbrean glacier or from Krossbu over the less crevasses Leirbrean glacier. For further information see either the main description below from Krossbu or route Sm. 1. in Smørstabb massif introduction.

The gully on the west side of Saksi in JulySaksi is also often climbed via the steep gully which goes from Bjørnskardet saddle up to the notch between the peaks. This gully is steep and in the first half of the summer will be snow filled. When the gully is snow filled a slide down it is not clean but will take a route over a couple of crags on the north side. An ice axe is essential and crampons will also be essential unless in the late summer. From Bjørnskardet head slightly north to the bottom of the gully and start to ascend it up its southern edge to reach a point about half way up where it narrows considerably due to a buttress on the southern edge. Ascend to the bottom of this buttress. In the earlier summer it may be possible to avoid the snow filled lower half of the gully by clambering up boulders at the base of the north ridge from Bjørnskardet saddle until it you reach the bottom of steep crags. From here traverse north across a steep face of broken rock for 10 metres to reach the hard snow in the gully at the bottom of the aforementioned buttress. From this buttress the route now either goes up the middle of the narrower 50 degree of the gully or crosses the 35 degree section below it to the northern edge where you can scramble up small steep messy shelves, many covered in wet gravel, to avoid this steeper section. Both these options eventually converge near the top of the gully when the gradient eases considerably and it is easy to follow to the saddle between the two tops of which the southern one is the summit. From the small saddle veer initially south west before corkscrewing east to reach the exposed summit. Return by the same route or via the north ridge route below to Bjørnskardet saddle.

Geite (forward left) the east ridge of Saksi (middle left) and Saksi (centre).There is another interesting and fine route along the east ridge up Saksi for experienced climbing parties only, which involves an exciting hand-traverse over a very exposed but short arête and then a pitch of climbing with a couple of short grade IV sections. This route begins in Leirdalen with an ascent up Geite via its north ridge from the saddle with Rundhøe. This saddle can be approached via the east edge of Storbrean or from Tverrbytnede corrie to the south east. From Geite head west descending steeply with some easy scrambling to the base of the east ridge. At the base of the ridge there is a crag which is best avoided on the south side but this still involves some grade II scrambling. Once on the ridge follow its apex for a ½km over a small rise and down to a barely discernable saddle. At the east end of the saddle is the hand traverse for five exposed metres. After the hand traverse the route continues along the steepening east ridge for another 200 metres during which it becomes more exposed. Finally the ridge merges with the north wall however there is a grade IV ledge which can be followed for a pitch diagonally up to the saddle between the twin peaks. During the first half of summer there may be a small cornice to dig through to gain the saddle. Return via the gully on the west side or the north ridge to Bjørnskardet saddle.