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Styggedals- and Skagastøls ridge

 
Styggedals- and Skagastøls ridge

Page Type: Route

Lat/Lon: 61.46397°N / 7.88401°E

Object Title: Styggedals- and Skagastøls ridge

Route Type: Mountaineering, Mixed

Season: Summer, Fall

Time Required: One to two days

Rock Difficulty: 5.2 (YDS)

Difficulty: Snow on the ridge

Grade: III

Route Quality: 
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Page By: LS

Created/Edited: Feb 16, 2006 / Mar 12, 2006

Object ID: 172730

Hits: 3414 

Page Score: 76.05%  - 7 Votes 

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Overview

This traverse requires 1 or 2 days from Turtagrø. The traverse is a big undertaking especially when the weather and conditions are bad. Sentraltind is not easy accessible and the summit is normally only climbed as a part of the traverse of the Styggedals- and Skagastølsridge. One can start in either directions. Starting from west (Skagastøls-ridge) requires climbing up to IV- (UIAA) in the V-notch and IV- on Patchel's Sva north of Halls Hammer. Starting from east (Styggedals-ridge) one can easily rapell those pitches, and the hardest pitch will then only be III just below Sentraltind (which is the basis of my overall rating for this route). That said, the snow and ice pitch below Jervasstind is also a big issue, especially late in the season when it's icy. Thus there is a lot of considerations to take when doing this traverse.

Below I have described the east to west approach, starting with the Styggedals-ridge.

 
Skagastøls-ridge
The entire ridge of Styggedalstindane and Skagastølstindane



Getting There

Turtagrø. See the main page.

Route Description

Turtagrø to Jervasstind

From Turtagrø hike on a nice trail in direction Skogadalsbøen. Reach Keiserpasset after 2-3 hours and start to descend into the basin below Jervasstind. Cross the river and climb the shoulder of Jervasstind. Then it's an easy snowplod including some straightforward scrambling to the summit of Jervasstind (2351m). It takes approx 6 hours to get here, but this is just the beginning. The challenge starts immidately bejoynd Jervasstind.


Jervasstind to Sentraltind
 
Styggedals ridge
Standing on Jervasstind and looking down the upper part of the steep icy slopes to the Jervass saddle
Start to descend to the saddle between Jervasstind and Styggedalstind. The snow/ice gets steeper and steeper the further down you go. It's essensial with crampons and ice-axe here. Downclimb or rapell the 40-50 degree slope. Here is my experience of this tricky downclimb to the saddle:

"The first 2/3 of the face I moved without belays and mainly backwards to get an optimal grip with my crampons. To start a slide here would be fatal. There were a couple of dangerous sections with treacherous ice on top of slabs, but I moved unprotected also here. The last 1/3 of the face I decided to rappel down because of an exposed and difficult rockband, partly covered with ice and snow. Because of some issues with a jammed rope, it took me almost one hour to reach the saddle and safety. I was very relieved to have ended this section, because this was probably the part I had feared most to carry out solo on the entire traverse"

When you have reached the saddle it's a rather easy snow-climb to get to Styggedalstind's east summit (2387m). Continue towards the west summit, on mixed terrain. Be aware of some tricky spots here, among them an exposed notch on the ridge. After that you reach the west summit (2380m) and can easily see the summit of Sentraltind. But there are a lot of challenges in between. First it's an exposed downclimb to the lowest part of the ridge:

"I had to cross a lot of treacherous snow and ice on top of the ridge, to reach the saddle between Styggedalstind and Sentraltind. The snow was very unstable and several times I felt like it was going to collapse underneath my feet. This was indeed a horrifying place to move unroped, with a 500 metres drop on both sides. Occasionally I tried to circumvent the snowy ridge, by going 5-10 metres beneath the ridge when possible, but in most cases I only found wet and slippery slabs just as dangerous as the snow. Although it took me ages to solve all the problems, I steadily made progress and finally I reached the point where Sentraltind starts to rise from the ridge. I could see that the steep ridge to Sentraltind was going to be a challenge. The first section was very exposed and I had to belay myself (IV-). In fact I could have circumvented this section, by taking to the easier north side of the ridge (II+), but that was out of the questions because of dangerous snow and ice. After I had climbed the first step I had to rappel down and pick up my belays. The last obstacle on Sentraltind, which I expected to be the hardest one, contained a lot of good handholds on the right side and thus I found it very easy to climb"

 
Sentraltind
The last obstacle before Sentraltind

It will take 9-12 hours to reach Sentraltind, depending on the conditions and the experience of the climbers. So you probably have 3 choices here:
1) spend the night on Sentraltind (only recommended during good weather conditions)
2) return the same way that you came from, but this will be more timeconsuming than:
3) continue over Vesle, Midtre and Nordre Skagastølstind

I recommend the latter one, which I describe below.


Sentraltind to Midtre Skagestølstind

Continue west from Sentraltind. But it's not straightforward:

"This was supposed to be a grade II climb only, but the snow and ice made it more difficult and exposed. The last step to the saddle I tried to climb directly down (III+) instead of circumventing to the easier right hand side (II), because the latter route was covered with snow and ice. The vertical step consisted of loose rocks, and suddenly one of my handholds slipped, leaving me in a very tricky situation. It was too risky to climb further down without belays, thus I had to climb it up again and thereafter I decided to take a rappel"

Once you have passed this tricky spot below Sentraltind it's easy going to the summit of Vesle Skagastølstind. Alternatively you can continue via Mohns Skard to Store Skagastølstind, but that will require more time.

From the summit of Vesle Skagastølstind you can easily see the remaining challenge on the knife-edge ridge to Midtre Skagastølstind:

 
View from Sentraltind
Standing on Sentraltind and looking back on the exposed and snowy ridge to Styggedalstind
Not far below Vesle Skagastølstind, there was a steep wall named Halls Hammer (grade VI). Fortunately I was moving down this wall. Once I had dug some snow/ice to fix my rope, I could easily rappel down the wall. People moving in the opposite direction can circumvent the wall on the north side by crossing a slab (Patchell’s Sva), making it a grade IV- climb only (UIAA). After some tricky and very exposed sections on mixed ground and without belays, I reached the summit of Midtre Skagastølstind (2284m)



Midtre Skagastølstind to Turtagrø

By now you are probably dead tired, but this is not a good time to loose concentration. The most scaring part remains, the V-Skardet (which is a nasty notch on the ridge):

"When I reached Berges Stol and could see the 50-80 metres vertical drop to V-Skardet, I felt privileged to be alone in such an overwhelming environment. Initially I had some problems finding my way down. Was it on the left or right side? Finally I could see some old slings 5 metres below Berges Stol, and I prepared the first rappel down. Well down I started to pull the rope, and every thing seemed OK in the beginning. But then the rope suddenly jammed. What a terrible place to get trapped, in the middle of this intimidating wall. First I belayed my harness to a rock, so I could use all my force and weight to pull the rope. After 4 or 5 pulls, my rope finally came down, and I could see that the 3 cm end of the rope had a mysterious 45 degree shape, indicating that the taped end had jammed somewhere up there. The second rappel was easy to find and finally I was standing in the bottom of V-Skardet"

 
Skagastølsridge
Sentraltind (left), Vesle Skagastølstind (middle) and Store Skagastølstind (right)
Beyond the notch it's easy scrambling to Nordre Skagastølstind (2.167m). But the final uphill to this summit is really streneous after such a long day.

Then comes the annoying part. The descend from Nordre Skagastølstind is a never ending walk on big boulders and loose scree. But eventually you will end up at Turtagrø. It's a long day for sure, from 16 to 24 hours. Slower parties have no other choice than spending one night somewhere on the ridge (it's most convenient to spend the night below Jervasstind or on the very summit of Sentraltind).

Don't forget to buy a well deserved beer at Turtagrø Hotel !!


Essential Gear

Rock:
A minimum of belays for rock, in addition to slings for 10 rapells and a 50-60 meters rope.

Ice-axe, 2-3 ice-screws and crampons

The weather changes fast and furious in this part of Norway, so bring clothes for all types of weather.

Don't forget to bring a lot of water and chocolate bars for this long day.

External Links

Distantpeak:
Climbing Styggedals- and Skagastølsridge

Images