Sunnmøre is the southern part of the county “Møre og Romsdal” situated on the west coast of Norway. In this county you will find international attractions like “Trollveggen” and the famous “Geiranger Fjord”
There are few other places in Norway that can offer such a dramatic nature as Sunnmøre. Snow clad summits with steep mountainsides that fall into the deep fjords.
In this part of Norway the ice ages have formed the most intricate pattern of fjords. The mountains and valleys in between the fjords create even more diverse scenery.
So, these beautiful mountains of Sunnmøre and particular the mountains around the fjord “Hjørundfjord” are called “Sunnmørsalpene”, the Alps of Sunnmøre.
In about 1866 and the following years English climbers started to show some interest in the summits of Sunnmøre. Foreign climbers like Ling, Oppenheim, Slingsby, Arbuthnot, Reaburn and Patchell came to Sunnmøre to explore these mountains and collect first ascents. These and quite a few local, and not as profiled climbers and guides, were some of the first to make use of this magnificent landscape in a mountaineering aspect.
The traditions of the pioneers have been maintained and further developed. Today the local people in Sunnmøre are spending a great deal of time out in the mountains hiking, mountaineering and climbing. Sunnmørsalpene is a perfect destination for doing all kinds of mountain activities, summer and winter, and the surroundings with the fjords and the small fishing communities and the island gems creates a unique experience.
The mountains of Sunnmørsalpene are characterized by long and sharp ridges and in these mountains the climb often starts by sea level. The highest summits of the area are about 1600 metres above the fjords.
The most known mountains in Sunnmørsalpene are the Slogen, Kolåstind and the summits of Molladalen.
The area of Sunnmøre is about 5215 km^2 and there is about 130 000 people living there, spread over 17 municipalities.
Sunnmørsalpene is situated on the peninsulas on both sides of Hjørundfjord, in the municipalities of Ørsta, Sykkylven and Stranda. This area is the core of Sunnmørsalpene, but the name is often used as a collective term for all the mountains in the area of Sunnmøre.
The main city of Sunnmøre, and the most used gate to Sunnmørsalpene is the city of Ålesund.
Ålesund has long traditions as a seaport, and it is one of the largest and most important fishing harbours in Norway. The city is also famous for it’s rather unique concentration of Jugend-style/Art nouveau architecture, a result of the big fire that ruined the city in 1904.
The area of Sunnmøre is characterized of both the steep mountains and the fjords. Hjørundfjord, 33 km long, divides Sunnmørsalpene on two peninsulas. Many people consider this fjord as one of the most beautiful fjords in the world, mainly because of the spectacular mountains surrounding it. Another fjord worth seeing in the area of Sunnmøre is the more widely known Geirangerfjord. Geirangerfjord is one of Norway’s most visited tourist sites, with its steep mountains, impressive waterfalls and abandoned farms. Geirangerfjord was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Summits of Sunnmøre
Sunnmørsalpene creates a beautiful arena for a wide spectre of activities, summer as winter. During winter and spring you will find an amazing collection of ski mountaineering possibilities. You should also consider exploring this area in a kayak or on a mountain bike if you are visiting in spring, summer or early fall.
Although Sunnmørsalpene are not really high compared with other mountain areas, the elevation can be quite long. Many of the hikes and climbs start at sea level and you will ascend about 1000-1500 metres before you are standing on the summit. The list following contains some of the summits of Sunnmørsalpene, during time I will try to fill in more mountains and make the list more complete.
Summits of Sunnmøre
The city of Ålesund is a good starting point for a stay in Sunnmørsalpene. The city airport “Vigra Lufthavn” has daily flights from/to bigger domestic cities as Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
Check out the flights here
By train you can reach the small city of Åndalsnes from Oslo and Trondheim. From Åndalsnes you have to travel either by bus or car to Ålesund. I think there are corresponding buses to all train arrivals/departures in Åndalsnes.
The Norwegian train company
The bus company driving from Åndalsnes to Ålesund
You can also reach Ålesund by bus from Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
The bus company
By car from Oslo you reach Ålesund by following E6 in the direction of Trondheim. When arriving in Dombås, follow E39/E136 to Ålesund.
Detailed description of the route
From Trondheim by car
From Bergen by car
Camping and Accomodation
In Norway you are allowed to put up your tent in the mountains, if you are in some distance from civilization there isn’t any further restrictions or required payments. If you are closer to the civilization the rules are that the tent should at least be 150 metres away from the nearest house and not disturbing the local people, in these situations you are usually allowed to stay in the same place for two days.
The intension of this right, called “Allemannsretten”, is to protect outdoor traditions and encourage outdoor activities. However you should always try to keep our nature clean and pure, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”.
There are also a few campsites in the area:
The local branch of the Norwegian Trekking Association has some cabins in Sunnmørsalpene, most used is probably Patchellhytta (hytta = hut), Standalhytta and Velleseterhytta. These huts are not usually manned and therefore you have to contact the association if you are planning to stay in these huts.
The local trekking association
There are plenty of hotels and other accommodation possibilities in the area and you will find information about these here:
Info on hotels
Hotel Union Øye deserves too be mentioned specially in this section. The hotel was established in 1891 in the small community of Øye in the midst of Sunnmørsalpene. This is not a mainstream hotel; it is really special and the surrounding landscape is in deed spectacular. William C. Slingsby said the following about this area: “The wildest alpine valley I ever saw was not in the Alps, it was the valley Norangsdalen at Sunnmøre, Norway”. You can stay in this hotel while climbing some of the most classic summits in Sunnmørsalpen. Learn more about Hotel Union Øye here:
Hotel Union Øye
In general Norway has four very distinct seasons. In Sunnmøre you can expect a climate of great variety because of the geographical profile of the area.
Winters at the costal part of Sunnmøre are mild, often with little snow. But in the fjord areas and in the mountains several meters of snow are being dumped every year.
Summers can be hot, with temperatures reaching almost 30 degrees Celsius, but they can also be as low as 10 degrees Celsius.
Because of the rapid weather changes it is hard to put complete thrust in long-run weather forecasts for Sunnmøre. You should therefore be prepared for the possibility of bad weather when visiting the area, and especially if you are going into the mountains or in boat at sea.
Weather forecast for Sunnmøre
· Sunnmørsalpene Aust (east)
· Sunnmørsalpene Vest (west)
External LinksTourist Information Ålesund
Tourist Information Geiranger
Good website describing some the summits in Sunnmørsalpene
The Norwegian Trekking Association