Knutshols Tjønnhols Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasKnutshols Tjønnhols Massif › 8.5 Tjønnholsoksle (2145m)

Tjønnholsoksle, 2145m, is a outlying spur on the main ridge which runs north-east to south-west and connects the whole massif together. Where this main 18 km ridge is at its least alpine and one of the two points it drops below 2000 metres a long sloping plateau rises south eastwards from the Skarvflye plateau, culminating in Tjønnholsoksle. This sloping plateau then continues south east and descends into Leirungsdalen.

The Route from Riksveg 51 via Leirungsdalen
total distance for return trip32km   
total ascent and descent1080m   
total time for return journey 9-10hrs
difficulty rating - 4season: mar, apr, may, jul, aug, septskiingno glacier crossingno climbingsuitable for wet conditions

Park in a lay-by on the west side of Riksveg 51 by grid reference 898146, four km south of Maurvangen. Head north west down a path by an old fence for ½ km until you get to a bridge over the Varga stream. Cross the stream and continue west for another 1½ km in birch forests between the steep east ridge of Knutshøe and a cabin. The path then forks with one branch continuing west and the other descending south west across wet ground for a ½ km the permanent bridge over the River Leirungsåe. This bridge over the river provides the only safe way over the River Leirungsåe, which is not a river to be trifled with.

The entrance to Leirungsdalen from Riksveg 51The well marked path now climbs slightly across wet ground and skirts round the eastern side of Semelhøe for two km before turning west and meeting the Steinflybekken stream. The path follows this stream up for ½ km before crossing to it and continuing south for another two km across easy terrain until you reach the dilapidated Svarthåmårbu hut and the entrance to Leirungsdalen valley. This is already seven km from the lay-by. Head west up into the valley on the north side of the river for two until you arrive at a flat grassy meadow, just to the west of Raudhamran, 1437m, to the south of the river

I cannot recommend crossing the River Leirungsåe other than over this bridge, but it is frequently done. If the conditions permit, park in a lay-by, also on the west side of the road, a further 4 km to the south of the above mentioned one, just north of some cabins on the east side of the road. From here head due west over easy scrub for two km until you reach the river. Follow the rivers south bank for 2½ km until, just to the west of Raudhamran, 1437m, you reach some flats where it might be feasible to cross, all-be-it thigh deep. This will save four km, or one hour, each direction. During the early spring when the river is frozen take care picking a safe spot to cross here. However, during the early spring the road for the 8 km south of Maurvangen could be closed and parking may be difficult if it is open.

From this flat, grassy meadow continue up the north side of the river for another four km through stunning scenery, especially on the south side where the massive walls of the Kalvehøgdi massif rise out of the band of glaciers that line their bases. When the path starts to climb gradually away from the river, which veers south towards the glaciers, continue up the path for a km and then leave it and head north up the grassy slope. After a short distance this pleasant terrain starts to get rougher as more boulders appear. Continue up across the boulders for a long km up the sustained slope for ½ hour until the gradient eases and the summit comes into view at the end of the south east ridge.

The south east ridge seen from Nedre Leirungstjønnin lakeWhen the summit appears there should be a small glacier to the north. Follow the edge of this glacier north west across the flattish plateau for a short km until the gradient increases. As the gradient increases veer slightly west away from the edge of the glacier to avoid the steepest section, and climb the final slope to the flat top plateau. The summit is on the north of this boulder covered flat area. To the west and north of the summit the are huge drops down to Søre Tjønnholet corrie and these are likely to be heavily corniced in the spring.

The return is by the same route. Alternatively continue down the north west ridge for a km and then veer north to the saddle with Tjønnholstind. From this saddle there is a relatively straight forward but sustained 340 metre ascent to the summit, up the 1½ km south west ridge. From this summit the return can be made by following the ascent route described on the Tjønnholstind page via Stienflybrean to the relevant lay-bys. The return via Tjønnholstind will add 2-3 hours depending on lay-bys.

Tjønnholsoksle is a good ski ascent in the spring. The recommended south east ridge has a scant covering of snow except for the northern edge towards the glacier. The final rise will have to invariably be bare and the last 15 minutes done on foot.