• Samlen
  • 686 m
  • Primary factor 413 m
  • Location: Hordaland, Norway
  • Location: North 60.35973 East 006.38014 (GPS at the summit)
  • Climbed February 28, 2015
  • Difficulty YDS class 2


How to get there:
This mountain is located between Utne and Jondal, Hwy. 550 connects these two villages. If you drive north from Jondal, you pass through the small village of Herland, before the road clims steeply on the east side of Samlen. Drive across the highest point of the road. As the road starts downhill, first drive past the sign announcing that you leave the municipal of Jondal and enter Ullensvang. The trail starts a bith further north (ie. keep going a bit more). There is a sign near the road, however it may be difficult to spot in winter. The location is N60.36090, E006.40289, elevation about 250 meter. You may park in a wide left turn (going downhill) about 100 meter uphill from the trailhead.
Route description:
In summer, there is a trail (marked with red T), going to the summit. In winter, this climb is a lot more challenging.
I slept in my car in a turnout quite near the trailhead. I did not find the trailhead in the dark, it was also difficult to find in daylight since the snow along the road blocked all views.
I started out about 0800. The terrain looked very challenging indeed. At least 1.5 meter of snow, even down at only 250 meter of elevation. Yesterday, I hiked with almost no snow to above 400 meter. As expected, the terrain was not ideal for skiing, dense vegetation and steepish terrain up front. I skied in some zig-zag turns, partly the hill was so steep that only side-stepping uphill was possible.
The next section above me was more climbing than skiing and I had to take my skis off. I sort of knew that it most likely would pay to carry them uphill, however things were so cumbersome that I still left them behind. I did tell myself that this was a decision I would regret later, but my mind was in peace as I knew how much extra trouble the skis would cause right here, even if they were securely tied on the backpack.
The terrain was steep, but the danger of avalanche seemed low. The terrain was broken and quite a few trees would also tend to anchor the snow. Most importantly, the snow was fairly wet and uniform, it clearly had stabilized quite a bit. Progress upward was hard and difficult. I was into the snow to my waist, sometimes deeper. The trees were helpful as I used them to pull myself uphill. There were several small crux areas, the one that required most care, was a narrow snowledge directly above what looked like a rather unpleasant drop. This ledge passed under some ice that I did not like, then into the base of a small waterfall. I cleared it and used my ice axe quite a bit, then loaded it with my weight while holding on to the rock above me. It worked fine, more steep uphill in deep snow, but finally, the angle of steepness relented. The snow, however, was equally deep and made the work stay on the heavy side of most trips.
I had no idea of how far it was, but the next uphill slope looked substantial. Still deep snow, but progress was steady. Indeed, skis would have been much better here, still, I accepted my previosu decision, just carry on one step at a time and the summit will appear.
The going was rough, in deep snow, until I finally arrived at the last, pretty level summit ridge. I came to the summit around 1130, that is 3.5 hours after the start. The highest point appeared first, a bit further along, a mailbox with the summit register. Finally, the main cairn, located somewhat lower than the highest point.
I left at 1140, no view and the wind was clearly picking up, storm was in the forecast. The return was quite different, to walk in old footprints, also downhill, is much easier. I was back by my car at 1310. Then I noticed that my ice axe had fallen off my backpack. Stupid attachment, but I should have secured it. I skied back up and found it. Back again at 1350, so a 40 minute extra trip.