Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter
Areas › Kvitingskj°len Massif › Detailed Information
Kvitingskjølen Massif lies in the very north of Jotunheimen outside the boundaries of Jotunheimen national park. The massif contains only 2 rounded mountains connected by shallow saddle. It is not an alpine massif at all and on its rounded flanks there are just a couple of small glaciers. The massif is bounded by Vågåvatnet lake to the north, Smådalen to the south and Tesse lake to the east.
The area has long been used by the folk of Lom and Vågå. There are the remains of many prehistoric reindeer pit traps in Smådalen. Later a number of summer farms, or seters, became established on the edge of the high forests and in lush valleys around the massif and many of these are still used today.
There used to be a marked path through Smådalen, however the DNT decided to encourage this area to return to a wilder condition and stopped marking the path and abandoned any plans to build a cabin in Smådalen. As a consequence the area remains wild and sparsely visited. Smådalen itself is botanically rich and varied and renowned as a haven for alpine plants.
The massif can be visited in the summer on foot or preferably in the winter/spring on skis. In the winter/spring the best access is probably from Søleggen lodge above Lom or from Brimi Fjellstugu both of which should have snow-ploughed roads. In the summer it is possible to drive slightly further into the massif to Sålell and Smørlii summer farms.
The Kvitingskjølen Massif lies in the rain shadow created by the higher western areas of Jotunheimen which draw the rainfall out of the prevailing westerly airflows. As a consequence it is a relatively dry area with as much as a continental climate as a maritime one. The downside of this is that snowfall is less and after a dry winter many of the boulder covered ridges may only scantily clad in snow.