Galdh°piggen Massif

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasGaldhøpiggen Massif › 10.1 Galdhøpiggen (2469m)

Galdhøpiggen, 2469m, is the highest mountain in Scandinavia. It dominates the northern end of the glacier covered massif. Galdhøpiggen is almost entirely surrounded by three glaciers with only the three ridges separating these glaciers being ice free. It was first climbed in 1850 by three local men from Lom.

The Route from Spiterstulen Lodge
total distance for return trip14km   
total ascent and descent1410m   
total time for return journey 7-9hrs
difficulty rating - 5season: mar, apr, may, jul, aug, septpartial/difficult skiingpartial/difficult glacier crossingno climbingsuitable for wet conditions

From Spiterstulen lodge cross the permanent bridge over the Vis river. On the west side head downstream for a hundred metres and then bear west up the slope. The very obvious and marked path heads up through the birch trees and beyond for a good 15 minutes until it forks with the smaller path heading north west to Juvvasshytta Lodge. The path up Galdhøpiggen continues west up the steepish hillside for a sustained climb of another hour with 500 vertical metres tackled in one go. At the top of this climb the ascent continues but the gradient eases considerably as you continue up, soon passing a small knoll, 1886m, which lies 300 to the south of the path. This point is about 1½ hours from Spiterstulen lodge.

Galdh°piggen with the north east ridge coming towards usAfter passing the knoll, 1886m, the path crosses a much flatter area for ½ km. The path is well marked here also as it heads north west across the stones towards some cliffs a km away on the north side of the ridge. As the path approaches the cliffs it skirts round the top of them and there is a great view down to the Styggebreen glacier. At about 2150 metres elevation the path bears west, away from the top of the cliffs which curve round to the north. When you leave the cliffs the obvious path heads west for another ½ km up an easy stony slope to reach Svellnosi, 2272m. The marked path does not go up Svellnosi but skirts under the north side of it across gentle slopes. This is about 2½ hours from Spiterstulen lodge

From Svellnosi there is a gentle short descent down to the saddle with Keilhaustopp, 2355m, and then an easy steady ascent gaining 100 metres over ½ km. Again the path up to Keilhaustopp is well marked as it follows the crest of the ridge westwards skirting round the top of another arm of the Styggebreen glacier. Keilhaustopp is just really a lump on the ridge yet it is still higher than most mountains in Scandinavia. It is about 45 minutes from Svellnosi.

From Keilhaustopp the marked path descends slightly heading west along the ridge for a few hundred metres. It then leave the ridge and goes on to Piggbreen glacier. This glacier does have crevasses further down especially just before it merges with Styggebreen glacier and these have been the scene of a few fatal accidents. As a consequence a warning sign has been set up at the glaciers edge and posts inserted into the glacier to mark the route over it. Follow the posts keeping to the south of them. This upper section of the glacier is not steep and should not need crampons even if icy. An ice axe should always be carried. The post lead into the middle of the glacier and head then straight up the slope for ½ km climbing gently to the summit.

Galdh°piggen from Spiterh° to the eastIf the posts have been removed then keep on the very south side of the glacier until you approach the top marked as 2438m This is easy to follow as it is the continuation of the east ridge. From Top 2438m head north for 300 metres to reach the summit.

The top has an absolutely stunning view towards the south and west with glaciers and peaks stretching to the horizon. There is also a hut there which sells refreshments and trinkets to the guided tours parties who come up from Juvvasshytta lodge during the summer. It is the third hut; the other two were blown away. Lets hope this one is also in the near future.

The return is by the same route unless you have glacial experience and equipment. It is then possible to return to Juvvasshytta lodge.