Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter
Storronden, 2138 metres, is the second highest peak in Rondane. Due to the fact that it is relatively free of difficulties, quite accessible, it is one of the most climbed 2000 metre mountains in Rondane, if indeed not Scandinavia. Weather dependant, it can be climbed at almost any time of the year, although consideration should be given to the reindeer calving season in May. Being in the east of Rondane, Storronden also generally enjoys a much drier, continental type, climate than the mountains further west in the Jotunheimen areas. While it is often perceived as a rounded mountain from the usual southwest approaches there is a surprising 500 metre cliff on the north east side of the mountain. With all these attributes I would recommend it as the first mountain over 2000 metres to tackle as it also imparts a typical flavour of Scandinavian mountains in general.
|The Route from Rondvassbu Lodge|
For a summer walking ascent leave Rondvassbu Lodge and ascend the steep bank to the east immediately upon leaving the lodge and climb for 60m to reach level ground. Here, the start of the west ridge of Storronden is visible 1½ km to the northeast. Follow the markers up to the base of this ridge and start up it for a short distance until the path divides. The fork that heads north across a flat area and into Rondholet valley is the path that leads up to Vinjeronden and Rondslottet. The fork that goes straight up the west ridge of Storronden is the path to take. This path is quite stony as it climbs 300 vertical metres over 1 km to reach a flatter area at about 1750 metres covered in stones, which must have been mistaken as a false summit many times.
In the spring it will be necessary to go south upon leaving the lodge for ½ km to avoid the steep bank. From here skiers can have a choice. They can either go up the steep gully on the south side of the west ridge whose stream flows into fremre Illmannstjørni. The top of this gully leads to the flatter section at 1750 metres. Or they can follow the route north east across the gentle slopes towards the entrance of the Rondholet valley.
Just before the entrance to this valley start to ascend the north side of the west ridge, where reasonably steep snowfields should hold snow until mid/late April. These snowfields should continue to the 1750 metre flatter section. From this section the ascent is quite steep and the boulders are often bereft of snow due to low snowfall and the prevailing south west wind, so it is best to leave skis here and walk the rest.
From this flatter section at 1750 metres the well marked path again starts to climb up the scree and boulder slope, which is now slightly steeper than that encountered previously. After about ½ hour on this final climb the gradient starts to ease off significantly and the summit is now only a pleasant ½ km away across a easy path which offers a spectacular view over to Rondslottet and Høgronden. The summit itself is marked by a vast cairn and offers a wonderful view to the west and Jotunheimen. On the east of this cairn are the 500m cliffs down into the Langbotn valley. In the summer be careful of the loose slabs at the top of this drop and in the winter be very wary of the cornice along the top of these cliffs.
The return can be by the same route. As a summer walking alternative, it is also possible to descend to the saddle at the bottom of the north ridge of Storronden and then drop down quite easily into the gentle Rondholet valley. This valley can be followed down to the bottom of the west ridge. The descent down the north ridge to the saddle is more demanding than the descent down the west ridge with loose stones and some relatively exposed sections. This more exciting descent would only add 1 hour. Another option is to continue east across undulating and pleasant Rondvasshøgdi ridge before dropping down to Bjørnhollia lodge for the night. The descent from the east end of Rondvasshøgdi is however sustained and unmarked. It is probable best to come down into Illmanndalen valley via the south ridge of the knoll marked as 1838m and pick up the marked path, Ro.2, here as this will involve the least amount of bashing through vegetation.
However, it is also possible to combine an ascent of Storronden with Rondslottet by descending down the north ridge of Storronden to reach the saddle with Vinjeronden. The descent from Storronden down to the saddle is quite steep and there is a some snowfields here that may warrant the use of crampons and ice axe in spring and the early summer. From this saddle continue north as described on the Rondslottet page. If the ascent of Rondslottet is included add another 3 to 4 hours to the overall time.