Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 61.54140°N / 8.29149°E
County: Oppland
Activities: Mountaineering, Scrambling
Season: Summer
Elevation: 6667 ft / 2032 m

Overview

Geographical classification: The Scandes > Jotunheimen > Kyrkja

Kyrkja 2032 m


Kyrkja 2032 m, located close to Leirvassbu Mountain Lodge, is a charming pyramidal peak, surrounded by beautiful mountain lakes and extensive mountain ranges. A fine route is running on its South face, nothing more than a very pleasant scrambling Class 2, but involving an interesting climb with spectacular views all around. Really a wonderful peak to climb and stay on, admiring a breathtaking view towards four main valley and Jotunheimen peaks towering all around!
The Jotunheimen range is located inside Jotunheimen National Park, 350 km North to Oslo, in the middle of Southern Norway, between the counties of Oppland and Sogn og Fjordane. In Norwegian Jotunheimen means "Giants Home" and the reason of this nickname is that the highest mountains in Norway lie in this area. It’s the most well-known and the largest mountain range in the country; valley level is about 1400 m and there are quite a number of glaciers in the area and above numerous snowcapped peaks.

Kyrkja
The sharp Kyrkja

There are 291 peaks in Norway with elevations over sea level of 2,000 metres and Kyrkja is one of these, a landmark which cannot easily be forgotten, located in central Jotunheimen.
Kyrkja, called the cathedral in reason of its shape, is a wonderful sharp and free-standing peak and probably one of the most popular mountain to climb in this region. When seen from Leirvassbu it sounds tremendous and difficult, but actually the Normal route up Kyrkja is easier than it appears.

Kyrkja, Jotunheimen
Kyrkja from the approach trail
Kyrkja from Leirvassbu lodge
Kyrkja from Leirvassbu lodge



The standard route starts walkin up a trail alternatively amongst boulders and snow fields onto the col at 1755 m between Kyrkja and Kyrkjeoksle, then lot of boulders to get the foot of the steep summit tower. This latter is overcome by means of a straightforward scramble with 2-3 short stretch of easy climb. The ascent may become more complex in the presence of residual snow in early summer.

Summit view

Kyrkja  SW summit view
Kyrkja SW summit view

 

 

Kyrkja NW summit view
Kyrkja NW summit view

Getting There

The starting point to climb is Leirvassbu Mountain Lodge 1405 m, located in the county of Lom, right next to the lake “Leirvatnet”, just below the characteristic mountain “Kyrkja” (The Church).

Public transportation

There are bus transportation from Oslo and Bergen to Lom and train from Oslo to Otta.

By car

If you are arriving from Lom, take highway 55 “Sognefjell" road travelling towards Turtagro and drive through Bøverdalen valley. After 20 km you will pass Elveseter Hotel on the right hand side of the road. Continue for another 6 km, before taking a left turn on the private toll road towards Leirvassbu. The crossroad is marked "Leirvassbu". If you are travelling from Årdal or Sogndal, you must take a right turn approximately 16 km after passing the highest point of the "Sognefjell" road.

Scenery while driving along Sognefjell road
Scenery along the Sognefjell road

The road starting from the Sognefjell road and leading to Leirvassbu is a private toll road (fee NOK 60). It is open from the beginning of the summer season, 29th of June, until the end of September.

 

Inquisitive sheep on the road to Leirvassbu
Sheep on the road to Leirvassbu
Leirvassbu hut
Leirvassbu mountain lodge

Kyrkja Standard Route from Leirvassbu

Kyrkja Standard Route report

 

Summit altitude: 2032 m
Difficulty: scramble and some easy climbing
Vertical gain: 650 m
Exposure: South
Starting point: Leirvassbu Mountain Lodge

A worthwhile route inside a spectacular setting! The upper tower involves some easy climbing spots.

 

Vest Jotunheimen map
Kyrkja map

Jotunheimen Vest Turkart 2505 Scale 1:50.000

 

Route report

From Leirvassbu take a gravel road along the West side of Leirvatnet Lake heading Southward. Just after the gravel road starts turning right (SW) into Gravdalen, leave the main road and turn to left onto a trail getting to Hogvaglen col at 1518 m. Follow the trail between boulders and granite slabs, getting the Hogvaglen col, where it's located a small lake near a trail junction towards Langvatnet, Olavsbu and Gjendebu.

Gravel road at the start, Kyrkja
Gravel road at the start, Kyrkja
Nearing Kyrkja
Nearing Kyrkja



Tiny lake along Kyrkja approach
Tiny lake near Hogvaglen col

 

Turn to left onto an unmarked trail (cairns) up on the middle of the ridge towards Kyrkjeoksli, a small peak on the right of the trail. After a steeper rocky ground, cross some snowfield (there may be more different trails, all heading to tha same point).At a certain point keep yourself on the Northern side of the ridge and without reach the point 1843, individuate another lower track on the left (cairns), crossing and descending briefly to the col at 1755 m located between Kyrkjeoksli and Kyrkja.

 

Nearing Kyrkja summit tower
Nearing Kyrkja summit tower
Rocky step near Kyrkja summit
Rocky step near Kyrkja summit



From the col head towards the scree slope constituted of big granite stones. The slope progressively becomes narrower and steeper (cairns) and gets a wide shoulder at the bottom of the steep reddish rocky tower. Traverse the shoulder to the right, then overcome the reddish final tower with some easy climbing moves getting the awesome summit, where it appears a breathtaking view towards four main valley and towering peaks all around.

 

Reddish summit tower, Kyrkja
Reddish summit tower, Kyrkja
Kyrkja, the summit-log
Kyrkja, the summit-log



Descent - reverse the same route

Red Tape

 

Jotunheimen

 

Rugged peaks towering in front of Kyrkja

Jotunheimen rugged peaks seen from the summit

There are no particular restrictions in climbing and hiking.
Credit card is needed to pay the toll at the road bar along the private road to Leirvassbu.
Kyrkja is lying within the superb Jotunheimen National Park, established in 1980, covering an area of 1140 km² and including the 27 highest peaks in Norway. Jotunheimen is located between Oppland and Sogn og Fjordane counties and it's bordered by the great lake called Vågåvatnet, the valleys of Bøverdalen and Leirdalen and the road No. 55 (the mytical Sognefjellveg) to the N and NW, by the Road 51 to the East, by Bygdin, Tyin and Årdal to the South and by the mountain road between Årdal and Turtagrø to the West.

Nature and climate

Jotunheimen is a wild area of majestic icecapped mountains, glaciers and wonderful lakes. Norway´s highest peak, Galdhøpiggen, lies within the National Park, together with icecapped Glittertind, only a few metres lower.
There are also several large lakes, amongst those the largest one is Gjende.
Rapid weather changes can occur, lots of snow in winter due both to the latitude and the high altitude, nice summer with over up to 25 degrees Celsius with sunny weather. Be aware that at higher altitudes deep snow can remain until mid summer. Mountaineering and hiking season varies, but usually they start in late June, being July and August the best months.
In this area we can find the highest plants growing in Norway. The beautiful Glacier Crowfoot is the highestgrowing flowering plant, thriving at 2.370 metres on Glittertind, only 100 metres below the summit. Purple Saxifrage and Rose-root or Midsummer men also grow as high as 2.300 metres.
Within Jotunheimen National Park we can find a rich variety of lime-loving plants, such as the Mountain Avens and other species, such as Hairy Stonecrop and Red Alpine Catchfly.

Glacier buttercups, Kyrkja
Glacier buttercups, Kyrkja

Hut and camping

Leirvassbu Mountain Lodge 1400 m

 

Situation: next to the lake “Leirvatnet”, just below Kyrkja
Open (Winter/Spring): One week before Easter – First weekend in May
Open (Summer): Mid June – End of Septembermid June/end of September
Guardian: Tove and Ole Jacob Grindvold
Phone: +47 61 21 12 10
Phone 2: +47 61 21 29 21
E-mail: leirvassbu@topofnorway.no

Leirvassbu Mountain Lodge
Leirvassbu Mountain Lodge
Campsite near Leirvassbu
Campsite near Leirvassbu

When to Climb

The best season is full Summer.

Meteo

Leirvassbu weather forecast

Guidebooks

Guidebooks

Walks and Scrambles in Norway
Walks and scrambles in Norway
 
Anthony Dyer - John Baddeley - Ian H. Robertson
 
Hiking, Scrambling and Mountaineering in Norway, an English guidebook covering Jotuheimen and several other areas in the Scandes
 
Ripping Yarns 2006
Jotunheimen Guidebook
Opptur Jotunheimen
 
Finn Loftesnes
 
125 selected itinerary on Jotunheimen

Selja Forlag 2009