Stølsnos Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasStølsnos Massif › 2.2 Falketind (2067m)

Falketind, 2067m, is a dramatic peak, and a well known landmark in southern Jotunheimen. It proud summit can be seen even from Bygdin lodge at the east end of Lake Bygdin. Falketind was one of the first peaks to be climbed in Jotunheimen in 1820, which is quite surprising as it is not the easiest peak and it was long before mountain climbing as a concept or pastime became established in Norway. Falketind has long been a cherished mountain for Norwegians since the patriotic poet Aasmund Vinje exalted it in his poems in the middle of the last century.

The Route from Koldedalshytte
total distance for return trip15km   
total ascent and descent980m   
total time for return journey 7-9hrs
difficulty rating - 6season: jul, aug, septno skiingno glacier crossingno climbingnot suitable for wet conditions

From the private cabin cross the sluice over a torrent emerging from under the mountain and follow the north shore of Koldedalsvatnet Lake for one km until its western tip. From here climb the gentle gradient for another one km until the small lake at 1291m is reached.

Falketind full size mapThis lake is passed on the north side where a weak path initially goes over some slabs then levels out to at about 10 m over the lake until a steep snow bank is reached. This snow bank extends right down to the water. It can either be crossed just above the waters edge or much higher up. A ice axe and solid footwear is necessary for this snow bank as a slip will mean a cold and dangerous swim amongst cluttered icebergs. After this short obstacle it is another 200 easy metres to the end of the lake.

From the end of the upper lake descend down to the lower lake. Do not try and maintain height as you will end up on a huge ledge and have to backtrack. There is a slight path about 10 metres above the waters edge again on the south side. In about three places the path has been obliterated by rock falls, making it necessary to navigate through large scree.

The sharp Falketind seen from Tyin to the south eastAfter about a km, or 2/3 of the way down the lake, a tumbling stream plunges down the south side of the valley and enters the lake. As you approach this stream start to head up the south side and cross the stream, going about 150 metres to the west of the stream. Eventually the scree gives way to bare rock and the gradient steepens.

This section up the bare rock is not as difficult as it looks when the rock is dry. In the wet however, certain sections could be treacherous and slippery. Make for a obvious ledge which heads up and east towards the tumbling stream again. Follow this ledge up and as you approach the stream start to head straight up again picking a variety of routes across the bare rock.

Eventually the gradient of 40 degrees starts to ease off and the going become easy again. Continue on the west side until it flattens out into small valley with the glacier at the north end sliding into it and the stream flowing out from under it. It should be possible to cross the stream up here, either by stepping stones or a snow bridge.

Looking from the summit of Falketind down the west ridgeFrom the east side of this flat valley make for the glacier and start to head just east of north up the very east of it tongue keeping close to the rock. Once you have climbed a hundred metres the gradient eases and it now necessary to turn east to avoid going onto the main glacier. From here the buttress at the start of the west ridge of Falketind becomes visible. If you make a bee-line for the bottom of the crags on the north side of this buttress you will pass harmless snowfields on the southern edge of the glacier and avoid the crevasses ½ km to the north.

At the bottom of the crags hug the rock as closely as possible climbing quite steeply until you are past this buttress. It is then safe to head due east crossing a bowl on the north side of the west ridge, until you arrive near the bottom of the north ridge of Falketind, and can look over a vertical drop down to the Falkbreen glacier below.

From this position at the bottom of the north ridge of Falketind it is only a short ascent up the north ridge to climb this famous and historic peak. Towards the top of this section there are some easy scrambling sections just before the summit is reached.

Falketind as seen from StølsnostindAs an alternative it is also possible in the summer to climb up boulders on the east side of the buttress at the foot of the west ridge to gain this west ridge. It in then an interesting scramble up the ridge to the summit.

The Descent

The return is by the same route. However, it is about another 3-4 hours extra to continue round the horse-shoe ridge over Østre Stølsnostind to Stølsnostind and return to the foot of the north ridge of Falketind again.

If one has glacial experience and equipment there are number of other possible return routes such as down, the pionerruta, as described above in the alternative route section, or down the Nordre Stølnosbreen glacier as described on the Stølsnostind page.