Vestre Istinden

  • Vestre Istinden
  • 1489 m
  • Primary factor 959 m
  • Location: , Troms, Norway
  • Location: North 68.94983, East 018.56682 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Climbed August 29., 2020


How to get there:
First find the town of Bardufoss along Hwy. E-6 (between Tromsø and Narvik). Locate the intersection where you leave E-6 in order to access the airport at bardufoss.
Continue south on E-6 for about 8 kilometer. A side road forks left here and crosses the river on a bridge. Take this road. Shortly after the bridge, there is a new road fork where youshould turn right. Drive this road about 3 kilometer and locate a small parking area on your left. Park here, this is the trailhead. Location N68.97902, E018.52688, elevation about 70 meter.
Route description:
When facing the mountain from the parking area, locate a small trail that goes downhill at the right side of the parking area. Follow this trail, marked with red paint. The trail runs more or less directly uphill. You should see a small river with a waterfall at the (local) horizon. The trail will climb uphill staying close to this river, on its rfight hand side (facing uphill).
Near the top of the waterfall, the trail climbs into a nice upper valley. Then ascends out of this valley going right in the obvious spot, in order to gain the lower end of the north ridge of Vestre Istinden. The trail/route is well marked with red paint all the way to the summit. The route includes a couple of easy (YDS) class 3 moves. There is also a short section of pretty smooth rock. This is easy to traverse with good friction if the surface is dry. However, wet or icy surface may turn this into a pretty difficult section. Continue uphill guided by the red marks, as the slope turns somewhat less steep, move towards the left (the cliff) and complete the ascent following near the top of the ridge.
I started at 1015. The first ascent up the hill next to the small river is pretty steep, I was happy when entering the small, higher valley. It was pretty obvious where the route would ascend out of the valley in order to gain the lower ridge. Near, but below the ridge a snow bank remained. The route crossed this snow, but looking more carefully one could actually ascend next to the snow on the inside.
I noticed a party sitting just below this snow bank. When saying hello, the responded that one person, a young lady, had a bad fall and was injured in her shoulder. It turned out that she was there with another woman, then an independent group, Karoline and Kristoffer had arrived just before me. A medical rescue was needed and a helicopter was called. After some waiting, we could hear the chopper arriving from Tromsø.
The helicopter arrived and landed on the ridge, fairly close, but above the snow bank. The injured could walk, but the pain when her arm moved seemed to call for some pain killer medication. Kristoffer and I went up to the rescue team and told them that we likely could move her up. The team descended, but when the doctor touch her arm, the scream was a signal that convinced him that lifting her from the present position. The inflatable stretcher was needed. I went back up to the helicopter and carried it back down.
The helicopter took off, then came in the valley in the valley with a 30 meter static rope hanging below. The rescue man attached the stretcher and his own hareness, then lift off. A nice airy circle above the valley, then back to the original landing spot. The injured could now easily be transferred to the helicopter, then off to the Tromsø university hospital.
This incident took about 1.5 hours. It was a convincing demo of the efficient and well working Norwegian rescue service. It is based on a well working cooperation between volunteers (often Red Cross) and the professional (helicopter) crews. It is free for anybody in need of help, one of the best working rescue systems in the world.
I asked if Karoline and Kristoffer were still motivated to complete the ascent, they came along. We ascended the peak together. The new snow called for extra caution at a few spots. We summited at 1400, unfortunately, the summit was still inside a cloud. Leaving around 1425, I had a nice walk back down, reaching my car at 1640.