• Breidtinden
  • 1010 m.
  • Primary factor 1010 m.
  • Senja HP, Troms, Norway
  • 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.
Route description:
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 of elevation.
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?