Knutshols Tjønnhols Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasKnutshols Tjønnhols Massif › 8.4 Vestre Leirungstind (2250m)

Vestre Leirungstind, 2250m, is a magnificent mountain over a very alpine nature lying in the middle of a convoluted ridge. It is slightly lower than its two neighbours Austre Leirungstind and Knutsholstind, but what it lacks in height it more than makes up for in character. It has three ridges which lead up to a sharp summit.

The Route from Torfinnsbu
total distance for return trip17km   
total ascent and descent1230m   
total time for return journey 7-9hrs
difficulty rating - 8season: jul, aug, septno skiingno glacier crossingno climbingnot suitable for wet conditions

Leave Torfinnsbu and follow the well marked path up Torfinnsdalen for seven km towards Gjendebu lodge. This path initially climbs steadily for two km and then largely levels for two km out just climbing slightly to reach the south end of Nedre Svartdalsvatnet lake, 1475. From the outflow of the lake continue to follow the marked path along east side of the lake for its entire three km until you reach the north end. Continue another couple of hundred metres and then leave the comfort of the path and start to head diagonally up the slope in a northerly direction.

Initially the terrain is that of mixed grass and boulders, but soon the grass diminishes as the gradient steepens and boulders become more prominent. After ½ hour the gradient steepens again and the boulders gradually give way to loose scree. At this stage veer north east towards the towering fin on Vesle Knutsholstind, 2210m. Do not venture up the easterly scree fill-gullies as they are blocked by steeper sections.

From the left Knutsholstind, Vesle Knutsholstind and Vestre Leirungstind soar above the lakes in Svartdalen valleyAt about 2000 metres elevation the open wide westerly scree filled gully veers slightly east and narrows. At this stage do not continue to climb towards Vesle Knutsholstind but also veer eastwards to where the south ridge descends to the saddle with Vestre Leirungstind. From this saddle a spur descends westwards down to Svartdalen, and it is this spur that causes the wide gully to narrow. Keep this spur, which has a steep south side, on your north (left) side as you ascend the scree. After a tedious ½ hour the gully merges with one to the south and the slope opens out again. After climbing a little more a small tower, called Søre Knutsholstind becomes distinct on the saddle at the bottom of the awesome south side of Vesle Knutsholstind. Ascend straight up the scree to the south of this tower to the saddle.

Once at the saddle the is another open scree filled gully which head up the north ridge of Vestre Leirungstind. This gully heads south between two blunt arêtes and its route is easy to follow. The bordering arêtes diminish towards the final slope up to the summit, which is surprisingly flat for such an alpine peak.

The return is by the same route. Here care must be taken to descend the correct gully as almost every other gully ends in a steep drop necessitating a tricky and unsafe down climb or a tedious climb back up again. When you have reached the saddle with Søre Knutsholstind descend the wide scree fan for a good distance (about 200m horizontal, 100m vertical) before it forks at a prominent crag, and then take the smaller northern fork. Do not be tempted to head north to early as this will take you into a gully immediately beneath the arête with the steep south edge which descends from the saddle between Vesle and Søre Knutsholstind. This gully ends in a small but irritating drop just before it joins the correct gully again.