• Kvænan
  • 963 m
  • Primary factor 814 m
  • Third highest on Senja.
  • Location: North 69.20608, East 017.13580 (GPS on the summit)
  • Climbed September 22. 2017
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Note: It is quite possible that the East summit is higher.


How to get there:
Drive south on the west side of the island Senja. Locate the fjord Sifjorden. After driving near the coast, the road climbs in order to connect south to the small place Flakstadvåg. Just above the last shapr turn, but before the tunnel, there is good parking off the road on the left hand side (when facing uphill). Park here, location N69.22321, E017.09251, elevation about 100 meter.
One may also drive through the tunnel and locate parking on the other side.
Head uphill directly from the bend in the road. Quickly move right in order to find more friendly terrain. Next, head directly uphill, there is a slightly lower area when looking uphill towards the horizon. This is a good place to access the top ridge. Proceed uphill until you reach the broad ridge, you may then also look down to the fjord and the other side of the road tunnel.
Turn left and look up the quite steep, but smooth slope that will be your next stage in the ascent. There are sections of rocks and vegetation, fortunately running parallel downslope. Thus, it is easy to pick a route that avoids the rocks. Proceed uphill until the slope eases and you have reached the crest of the west ridge.
From here, just follow the ridge staying close to its left (north) side. There is one local summit ahead, you may contour slightly on its right side, but overall the terrain is mostly higher beyond so there is not much loss in going across it.
Further onwards, one must descend a little to a local col, then some very easy scrambling to gain more elevation on the far side. Staying mostly left is quite ok. A very brief section of (YDS) easy class 3 terrain. Finally, very close to the summit, there is a second col, this one quite shallow. There is a cairn here with a visitor book.
From here to the summit, the route is (YDS) class 3. One can proceed on top of the ridge or climbing slightly below on the left side in the beginning. Either way, one should be on top of the ridge just before a final hump with the summit on its far side. This rock can be bypassed along an elegant path that turns around on the left side (exposure). Finally, step onto the large summit block, its first part is slanted upwards, then a more level section constituting the summit area. There is an iron bolt used for a precise elevation measurement. The very highest point is slightly higher.
I had travelled to Hamn on the west side of Senja, to attend a DNT meeting in Northern Norway as well as hosting the important fall board meeting of Erling Bjørstads Stiftelse.
Kari Hallan and I had already agreed to go climb a local summit on this first day at Senja.
There are hundreds of peaks, the choice fell on Kvænan. It is the third highest on Senja, the views should be very good. It is also the highest in the municipality of Torsken and has prominence exceeding 600 meter.
However, there is an unresolved issue, the peak has two summits, east and west, with different routes leading to them as the traverse between is rather cumbersome. The map agency of Norway had declared the west summit to be the highest and most people therefore climbs it. Also, quite significantly, the route to the west summit is the nicest hike with the best views along the route. The east summit is more popular as a winter skiing route since it ascends a large (north) face rather than a ridge.
Kari and I left our car at 1015 and had a very pleasant hike with spectacular views along the route, arriving at 1300. We truely enjoyed the summit, the summit block being a huge rock resting on other rocks below it, thus having a big hole of air straight through on its lower side. The views are great in all directions.
In an attempt to resolve the issue concerning the elevation of the east summit, I took several pictures of it. One picture by putting the camera all the way down at the rock, another taken while I was stannding normal and upright. I thought of the excellent computer program Geopix that Edward Earl wrote, perhaps I could use it to estimate the east summit.
It seemed likely that the peaks behind at the fr horizon would be more than 1000 meter, in which case the east summit certainly would be a good candidate for the highest point. Unfortunately, the hand level that I had ordered from the US had not arrived yet, otherwise this could have been a nice case for testing it.
We spent 30 minutes atop, then left at 1330. Wasting a bit of time by hiking past the point where I had left my walking poles, then turning back to retrieve them, we still arrived back at our car by 1600 after a very nice hike in superb Senja terrain. Thanks to Kari for good company!