Galdh°piggen Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasGaldhøpiggen MassifGaldhøpiggen › Alternative Routes

There are essentially only two straightforward ways up Galdhøpiggen. One up from Spiterstulen which is the route of the first ascent and the other over the Glacier from Juvvasshytta. There has been a fair bit of controversy as to which of these is the best route as both have there merits. The route from Juvvasshytta has some disadvantages also and as a consequence I consider the route from Spiterstulen to be consistently better and have therefore described in the main section in detail.

Galdh°piggen from Skauth° in the eastThe route from Juvvasshytta lodge is considerably shorter that the Spiterstulen route and is only some five hours return. However the road to Juvvasshytta is only open from easily to early autumn. In addition the route from Juvvasshytta lodge crosses the crevassed Styggebreen glacier and glacial experience and equipment are necessary. It is possible to join a guided party at Juvvasshytta and a guide leaves every 10.00 am and 11.30 am with strings of punters on a rope en route for the top. It is these very strings of punters that constitute the third disadvantage as there can be hundreds of people and a ski centre to intrude into the majesty of this special mountain.

Leave Juvvasshytta lodge on the well worn and well cairned path south up the middle of a shallow rounded ridge for a km. After a km the almost level path forks with a marked branch going south east to Spiterstulen and another veering south west up towards Galdhøpiggen's summit. Take the latter path which continues for another 2½ km across the bleak Gjuvflye stone plateau on a well marked and well worn path. After the 2½ km you arrive at the edge of the glacier. Although there is an obvious track across the glacier from hundreds of feet the Styggebreen glacier does contain some crevasses over the 2 km between this northern edge and the north east ridge which descends into the glacier from Galdhøpiggen. As a consequence it is necessary to don glacial equipment here. The crossing should be problem free except that the glacier surface might be wet.

Galdh°piggen from Vetlepiggen in the northAfter crossing the 2 km approach the ridge from the north side and climb onto it gaining a flatter area by the big cairn. The ridge itself is not steep but there are a couple of rocky sections in the bottom half, which are very straightforward and in no way can be considered scrambling. Halfway up the ridge the route veers west and goes onto Piggbreen glacier. This glacier does have crevasses but the majority are further down, however there may well be some up this stretch. These are more likely to be in the middle, so if in doubt keep to the northern edge.

Be careful along this edge especially in in poor visibility as there are cornices overhanging a large drop. In addition to this the glacier may be icy and there have been some accidents where people have slipped here and then slid down into the crevassed region. So it is prudent remain roped up during the entire ascent up the ridge. This final ascent up the ½ km ice ramp of Piggbreen glacier is at a maximum of 20 degrees and leads right to the summit.

The return is by the same route or you can return via Vesle Galdhøpiggen to Juvvasshytta (see Vesle Galdhøpiggen page for further details). It is also very feasible to descend to Spiterstulen by reversing the route given below.