Knutshols Tjønnhols Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasKnutshols Tjønnhols Massif › Detailed Information

The Knutshols-Tjønnhols Massif lies in the north east part of the ‘Gjendealpene’ a wild and alpine tract of land between the large lakes of Bygdin and Gjende. This massif rises steeply just to the south of Gjende lake and is separated from the other two massifs in this wild region by the deep valleys of Svartdalen and Leirungsdalen.

There are only five mountains in this area which is surprisingly few given the alpine nature of the massif, however there are some eight secondary peaks. On the north side of the massif there are two vast glacier filled corries, called Knutsholet and Tjønnholet in the western and eastern half respectively. The west end of the massif is even more alpine than the east end.


The highest mountain here, Knutsholstind, is a magnificent pyramid and was once considered to be a strong contender for the highest mountain in Scandinavia until more accurate measurements techniques at the beginning of the 19 Century. It was also the location of a spat between Slingsby and Heftye in the early 1880’s.


Historically the area was occasionally visited by hardy hunters and fishermen through the centuries, mostly from the Gudbrandsdalen side valleys. In the early 19 century a legendary reindeer hunter called Jo Gjende built a small cabin at the outlet of Gjende where he lived summer and winter as he hunted on the east slopes of Tjønnholstind. He was frequently visited by early travellers to the area and imparted much knowledge to them.


The eastern half of this massif can be easily visited in the winter/spring season but the west half is more demanding and avalanche prone. The only access to this east half of the massif in the winter is from Gjendesheim lodge. During the summer access to the east is good from Gjendesheim lodge and Valdresflya hostel. Gjendebu and Torfinnsbu lodges provide good access to the west in the summer, after a day’s walk or an hour's early morning boat ride to reach them.