Location: North 69.45175, East 017.65614 (GPS at the summit)
Difficulty: (YDS) class 3.
Climbed September 2. 2012.
How to get there:
Breidtinden is the highest summit on the large island of Senja in Troms. It is the only
peak exceeding 1000 meter.
From Hwy. E-6, drive west to Finnsnes from Bardufoss (from the south) or from Olsborg.
The bridge to Senja is located just after the centre of Finnsnes. Measure from the very
top of the bridge. Turn right onto Hwy. 861 immediately after the bridge. This road has signs
for Senjahopen. Shortly before the trailhead, you drive downhill close to Mefjordbotn, where
you will see the impressive north-east face of
Breidtinden. The highest summit is
located to the left when viewed from here.
The trailhead is precisely 56 kilometer from the top of the bridge. Parking is
on your right hand side. Alternatively, the trailhead is located on your right just after
you have exited the second tunnel, including an avalanche protection part. Park here, location
N69.45895, E017.59608, elevation about 35 meter.
There is a low rock wall opposite of the parking area. The trail starts to the right where this
rock ends. One may also just head up slightly further right across some slight jumble of rocks.
The trail is steep and quite rough in places as it runs across more big boulders higher up. It emerges sort
of suddenly at the north end of the large lake Svartholvatnet (elevation about 200 meter). There are some
cabins near the lake. As you follow the trail towards these cabins, look left while crossing the last meadow.
Two wooden sticks, painted red indicate where to go in order to find the new trail up to Breitindvatnet.
If you miss, then head left just before you get to the huts. As long as you angle uphill to the left, you will
hit the trail higher up.
This trail is really delightful, it winds its way up staying close to the right side of the ridge, thus providing a good
view down to Svartholvatnet.
Cross the outlet of lake Breitindvatnet, then ascend a bit on the far side. The trail and the red marks seem to be missing
at this part of the route. The best way is likely to descend back down to near the lake as soon as you have passed the cliffs
that run directly into the lake at the very beginning.
Then walk across gras avoiding the rocks and boulders, to the lower
end of the ridge where you pick up the trail and the red marks again.
An alternative is to traverse this slope quiet high and cross above most of the boulders, this route will get you onto the ridge
between 650-700 meter of elevation.
Once you are on the ridge, a
trail with red paint marking zig-zags uphill. At around about meter elevation, the ridge
has a short, steeper section of rock and the trail runs a bit into the right hand side here, in order to
circumvent this problem. However, as you sort of curve right, quite soon you will see the red paint up to your left as
the trail can regain the ridge at the first natural opportunity.
This location is N69.44931, E017.65264, at approximately 850 meter
From here to the summit, the route stays on the ridge. Quite early, you will run into a vertical
step where the active use of hands is needed in order to get up, there will be more of this
higher up. The ridge is never very narrow, and the somewhat narrow sections are quite easy.
Higher up, there are steeper sections often with at least two different options as one can see
from footprints. I tried to stay as much as
possible in the middle of the ridge. The rock is generally
solid and there are plenty of holds for hands and feet. A few alternate paths seem to run further
left, perhaps with less climbing, but on more loose gravel and significant exposure. My preference would
be to stay on the solid rock and
rather use hands a bit more often. The route carries on and short section
of a trail alternates with small climbing problems. The very last part is somewhat easier and then you
arrive at the summit. The highest summit block with the cairn
is slightly left while a good area for
rest (holds more people) is located to your right.
This concluded a very nice weekend in Troms. My flight from Tromsø left at
1600, add 3.5 hours of driving from the trailhead at Senja. My conclusion was clear,
an early start would be needed. I stayed at the Royal hotel in Finnsnes and enjoyed a
dinner with spare ribs and 0.9 liter of Mack beer for the price of 0.6. (Compensation for
being served a 0.5!) I set my alarm for 0345.
After a car breakfast, I was ready to hike at 0510. The trail woke me up, pretty rough and
heading straight uphill. This was supposed to serve some huts at the lake higher up.
I did not notice the two red sticks in the meadow just before the huts, but headed uphill
and intersected the trail slightly higher. The trail up to the higher lake (Breitindvatnet, 474 m) was indeed
a very nice one.
I followed some red marks and ended up traversing fairly high above the lake. This got me into
some boulders, but the crossing was short. I hit the ridge at about 650 meter of elevation and
had a first look across to Salingsvatnan on the south side.
The sun was out and colored nearby peaks.
The trail zig-zagged steeply uphill, then went off the ridge around 750 meter, but only to
avoid a rocky, steeper section. Red paint clearly indicated that one could return to the ridge and
I was back on it at elevation 800 meter. There was a trail that continued in the gras on the right hand side,
possibly to avoid some scrambling on the ridge route. The route was a bit steeper than I
had assumed, a steep step up shortly after I regained the ridge. Fun and interesting scrambling, small problems
kept showing up. I thought that this trail was among the steepest "tourist trails" I have seen in Norway. That is,
a red marked trail where quite random hikers may decide to go. A single buttress or awkward cliff and this
ridge would have been impossible without proper climbing. Somehow, the route kept going. There were a few variations
along the way, I tried to stay right on the middle, sometimes more right than other options. Suddenly I was there,
the cairn and the visitor register on top of a nice summit block.
The time was 0730, so 2:20 from the car.
The view was gorgeous,
I took a complete panorama picture. The traverse
to the north summit (984m) looked tricky.
Time for some (early!) lunch as well. Senja is a fantastic
place, most peaks are sharp and reach about 800-900 meter. I signed the summit register, then left around 0750.
The downclimb was pretty uneventful except for one place. I was going down a narrow gully on the right side of the
ridge (looking down). There were two clear red dots painted in the gully. The exposure off to my right was significant.
The gully ended in some loose gravel and obviously, one was supposed to turn a corner (left), but the continuation looked
steepish and exposed. No good handhold close to this corner. I definitely did not like the looks of this move. I quickly
decided that I did not ascend this way. Thus, I climbed about 20 meter back up, then searched more left for alternatives.
Indeed, around a rock corner and I saw my route of ascent. Perhaps technically a bit more advanced, but more protected and
solid rock instead of loose gravel.
I descended all the way to the bottom of the ridge, then made my way
back to the other end of the lake along a much lower
line avoiding all the boulders. I was back at my car by 0950, so 2 hours back down including several photo stops.
This concluded my 3 day weekend in Troms. The weather was great and the scenery exceptional! I drove back to Tromsø
and caught my flight at 1600 to Oslo, then Bergen. An evening meal with red wine was waiting, The Bergen home team Brann, went on
to beat the top team (Molde) in the league, what more can be asked?
The route, up from the road to the lower lake. Then across the meadow and gently
up the ridge to Breitindvatnet. Along this lake to gain the ridge.