Galdh°piggen Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasGaldhøpiggen MassifVesle Galdhøpiggen › Alternative Routes

Due to its almost entirely vertical sides there is only one way up Vetlepiggen without climbing. This is the short but slightly exposed north east ridge from Løyfti which involves a small scramble. Løyfti can be reached easily from Juvvasshytta lodge, as described as the main route below, or with more effort from Spiterstulen lodge, as described here. From Spiterstulen there are essentially two ways up Vetlepiggen; up the Styggebreen glacier or via the summit of Galdhøpiggen, both of which require glacial experience and equipment. During the spring Spiterstulen is the only option as the road to Juvvasshytta lodge does not open until very early summer (early June). If either of the two routes below are travelled in the spring on skis glacial experience is still essential to recognize the ever present dangers, but equipment is not so essential. However, the short arête up from Løyfti towards Vetlepiggen may demand some need for belaying, so it should be taken. It is also possible to avoid the Styggebreen glacier altogether by skirting to the east under its snout and then following its northern edge until you intersect the path from Juvvasshytta lodge to Galdhøpiggen- when you can continue as described below in the main route section, but this is across very tedious moraine terrain for four km.

Vetlepiggen in the rises steeply from Styggebreen glacier in the foregroundFor the first option leave Spiterstulen and cross the permanent bridge. From the bridge veer north west and begin to climb through the birch. After 15 minutes and a couple of zig zags the path forks with the main branch heading west straight up the hill. Don't take this, as it eventually goes to Galdhøpiggen summit, but continue north west up the smaller path climbing diagonally towards a wide obvious shelf lying under a large vertical crag. Ascend this path which veers north as it climbs, for an good hour to reach the bottom of the crag. Here, at about 1600 m elevation, leave the path, which continues north to Juvvasshytta lodge, and head up the stony slopes to the north west under the crag until you reach the north end of the crag, when the gradient eases and the Styggebreen glacier comes into view. Head west now traversing the stony hillside for a km to reach the edge of the glacier. This is not a safe glacier and glacial experience and equipment are necessary. On the glacier head across to the north side to avoid the worst of the crevassed areas. Once on the north side head straight up the slope in a westerly direction for two km keeping close to the northern edge. Towards the end of this gentle climb, Vetlepiggen and Galdhøi comes into view and the saddle between them should start to appear at a distance of two km straight ahead. Continue west towards this saddle across the now almost flat glacier. After the saddle, called Løyfti, scramble up the arête as described below.

The other option is to descend Galdhøpiggen via the north east ridge which descends down to Styggebreen until you reach the huge cairn at the bottom of the ridge where it dives into the glacier. Drop down to the west of the cairn onto the glacier where it is necessary to rope up for the glacier crossing. Head north west for a km climbing gently across the ice towards the prominent saddle between Vetlepiggen and Galdhøi called Løyfti. From Løyfti scramble up the arête as described below. Return by reversing the route described above down Styggebreen glacier.

For those wanting an good challenge there is a classic tour from Spiterstulen up Styggebreen glacier to Løyfti as described above. From here climb Vetlepiggen and then return to Løyfti. Ski the easy km from Løyfti to the base of the north east ridge of Galdhøpiggen and climb the mountain. Descend to the cairn at the bottom of the north east ridge and from here ski south west for a km to Porten, a deep saddle between Galdhøpiggen and Vetlepiggen. Descend the very steep slope on the west side of this saddle, possibly with the aid of a rope, for 50 metres to reach Storgjuvbreen. Ski south west across this glacier to reach Illåbandet saddle between Skardstind and Storgjuvtind. Descend the south side of this pass for 100 vertical metres across often bare boulders to reach nordre Illåbreen glacier. Ski south for two km traversing across the glacier to the nedre Tverråbandet saddle between Tverråtind and Lindbergtind. Cross over this saddle to the east side and then follow the northern edge of the Tverråbreen glacier down for two km. Continue down the open Tverrådalen valley to Visdalen Valley and Spiterstulen lodge again. This tour is only for experienced parties with significant glacial experience. It is only recommended as a ski tour in the spring when it is likely to take 13 hours. You can deduct 2 hours for each of the two mountains if you skip them.