Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasRondane › 17.7 Veslesmeden (2015m)

Veslesmeden, 2015metres, is one of the easiest of the 2000 metre mountains in Scandinavia to ascend. It is a pyramid shaped mountain which dominates the east side of the Smiubelgen. It is surrounded by four impressive corries whose glaciers have melted away leaving flat empty U shaped valleys peppered with shallow lakes.

The Route from Rondvassbu Lodge
total distance for return trip12km   
total ascent and descent850m   
total time for return journey 5-6hrs
difficulty rating - 2season: feb, mar, apr, may, jun, jul, aug, septskiingno glacier crossingno climbing suitable for wet conditions

Leave Rondvassbu and walk south along the road for about 300 m, then turn west and cross the Store Ula river over a bridge. After this bridge head north west across the delta towards the Jutulhogget gorge and cross the stream at the bottom of the gorge over another foot bridge. After this second footbridge the path climbs gently north west for a km until it divides. One branch goes towards the cliffs of Svarthammaren and the other heads directly north up the valley of Rondhalsen. Take the northerly path into the scree filled valley for two km until the path divides again at an elevation of 1550 metres.

Veslesmeden full size mapAt this second divide follow the path, which is also marked, in a north west direction now more steeply up the scree slope. This ascent is relatively short, and with ½ hour from the path divide you should reach the knoll 1871m. On reaching this knoll the view suddenly unfolds and the wild craggy landscape of the Smiubelgen massive with its empty deep corries becomes apparent. The remain route to the top is also now visible. Initially the marked route follows the undulating almost level rounded ridge for a km again to the north west until it arrives at the bottom of the final summit pyramid. The path up this, which is still marked, is not steep but sustained for ½ km until the summit is reached.

At the summit the moonscape corrie of Smedbotn comes into view below the very steep north west face of Veslesmeden. A little to the south of the summit the arête over to Storsmeden dips away to the east.

The simplest return is by the same route. However, there are two excellent alternatives for both the hill walker and the mountaineer:

The easy former alternative retraces the marked path to knoll 1871m. From here, if the weather is good, leave the marked path and descent east across easy lichen covered scree for one km towards the hill 1647m. At the top of this knoll you will intersect the Rondvassbu to Dørålseter path which comes up from the Rondhalsen valley to the south. If the weather is poor then it is probably best to follow the marked path south east from knoll 1871m for 1 ½ km until Rondvassbu to Dørålseter path is met. This path can then be followed north east for one km to reach the top of the hill 1647m. From hill 1647m follow the marked path down north east for two km into the Rondvassdalen valley. This descent is steep for the last ½ km. Once on the valley floor head south to reach the north end of the lake. From here there is a boat in the summer season back to Rondvassbu lodge. If this is the anticipated descent it is necessary to check the time of the last boat which is about 1700 hrs. Indeed to avoid rushing for, or missing, the last the boat it made be better to do the journey in reverse and descend the ascent route as described above. If this ascent is taken the distance and times are roughly the same excluding the boat journey and waiting times.

A much more challenging return route is via the 2000 metre mountain of Storsmeden. This involves traversing an arête which at times slightly exposed. During the three exposed sections the quality of the rock is very poor and much care is needed. This route is only recommended in dry and clement weather. In winter or spring it is a serious undertaking. Descend the west ridge of Veslesmeden with relative ease to reach the saddle. From here start to ascend up to Storsmeden. After a short distance the first of three steps is encountered. On the north side of this step there has been a recent rock fall and much of the rock is unstable. Avoid this area. Instead climb up the somewhat exposed and barely stable rock on the south side for 10m. This is essentially only scrambling but the precarious nature of the rock adds an element of danger. At the top of this step continue up the arête to the bottom of the second step. This again is made much more hazardous due to the precarious nature of the rock. Again it is essentially a 10m scramble which is best tackled slightly on the south side, but is again somewhat exposed. There is now another short distance to the final and biggest step. Before the start veer to the south of it for about 10 metres and find a relatively stable corner which is scrambled up for about 10 metres up to the arête again. Once on the arête the scramble continues for another 20 metres until the gradient eases and the arête widens. From here walk up to the summit ridge which is then followed south for 300m to the south to reach the top. For the descent from Storsmeden see the Storsmeden page. The traverse takes about 1½ hours and involves 200 metres of descent and re-ascent over 1½ km.