Store Haldi

  • Store Haldi
  • 1149 m
  • Primary factor 619 m
  • Location: North N69:55.760, East 022:48.518 (GPS on the summit)
  • Near Alta, Finnmark, Norway
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed August 30, 2007


How to get there: Starting from Alta, locate Hwy. E-6 going south (towards Narvik). There is one main intersection where Hwy. 93 heads south to Kautokeino, measure from this point. Continue on E-6 (direction Narvik) 15.1 kilometer. You are now in Kåfjord, there is a church nearby. A small road heads uphill at this point and there is a small area (on your left) where you may park, immediately after this side road. Park there, this is the trailhead, location N69:56.238, E023:01.593, elevation 20 meter. There is some brief information about the old (northern light) observatory posted at the very beginning of the small road that heads uphill. See also information from Alta museum, their interesting WEB-page also contains a map outlining the beginning of this trail.
Route description: From the parking, head 10 meter back, in order to start uphill at the small, dirt road. Soon, you will cross a gate, make certain that you close it properly behind you. Continue uphill, soon the road will become level and then turn right before it continues to climb. This trail keeps the character of a small, old mountain road all the way to the first summit (Haldde) where the old northern light observatory used to be.
This part of the route is 9 kilometer, marked with elevation and a sign telling you how many kilometer that still remains before you are there. The trail first gains the mountain by heading north, then curves more west and southwest as it descends a little (south of lake Annasvannet). You now see the pretty distinct mountain Haldde with the observatory building right in front of you. The trail ascends the slope on the south side.

From this first summit, you can see the summit Point 1010 across a saddle to your southwest, then a higher mountain behind and further west (further right as seen from this viewpoint). There is a lake just west of Point 1010, the best route runs just north of this lake before it ascends the East Ridge of Store Haldi. There are no trails and the terrain is full of talus and boulders, but still not very difficult under normal conditions.
Comments: This mountain is perhaps best known for its old observatory for northern lights located at Haldde, the first mountain you will pass on the way to the summit. See this entry, for a bit more information.
I arrived by air from Bergen via Oslo to Alta around 1200. The first task was to rent a car, this turned out to be non-trivial as I had lost my drivers license. Fortunately, the DMV was located nearby and after about 15 extra minutes I had a temporary permit. I drove to the trailhead and started up the trail at 1300. The first mountain, Haldde, was reached in about 1:50, however, I did not climb the last few meter, but rather contoured around in order to descend as easily as possible to the saddle beyond Haldde. This turned out to be a mistake, since in this way I could not see Store Haldi. I saw what I thought was Haldi and continued hiking up these rocky slopes until I could see the summit marker a few more meter ahead. Happy to reach the summit around 1545, my disappointment was monumental when I spotted a significantly higher mountain across a valley. I was now at the summit marked as 1010, east of Store Haldi. My morale hit a low as I could not even see the bottom of what looked like a rather deep valley separating me from my goal. Somewhat reluctantly, I started downhill in order to climb the correct summit. Fortunately, the valley was not as deep as it looked initially. I arrived at the proper summit of Store Haldi at 1630 in the middle of hail and snow. This was the only spell of bad weather the entire hike - only to be expected?
I left the summit after a 10 minute break, then made my way directly back to the observatory peak which I climbed from east side, arriving directly at the rebuilt observatory. The building is a self serve hut for tourists, it has an observation deck on its roof. I was there at 1820 and started on the last 9 kilometer back to my car at 1830. A quick walk on the easy trail brought me back at 2000. A somewhat longer hike than anticipated, but quite nice. I found a reasonable room at hotel Vica and had a delicious dinner. The next day Geir Åke would arrive and we would travel to Seiland.