Location: North 61:29.273, East 006:31.928 (GPS on the summit)
Difficulty: YDS class 2
Climbed May 2, 2010.
How to get there:
Grovabreen is an independent glacier just west of the south end of
Jostedalsbreen. A good point of reference is Skei, located on Hwy. E-39, about
3.5 hours north of Bergen. From Skei, Hwy. 5 connects south to Sogndal.
Take Hwy.5 from Skei and drive 2.1 kilometer. Make a right onto a smaller
road signed Vassenden. Drive
across the bridge and keep right at the fork
on the other end. Approximately 4.5 km from Skei, locate a side road that turns
sharply left, there is a sign for Dvergsdalsdalen. Follow this road uphill, stay on
what is obviously the main road. This road serves Dvergsdalsstøylen, however
construction work prevented access, parking just below after driving about 8.2 km
from Skei, is just fine. This location is N61:31.173, E006:25.723, elevation
about 515 meter.
A new road is being constructed straight up the hillside before the old farm road
reaches the summer farm cabins.
Take this road, or if you prefer more nature and
less destruction, follow a slightly visible track uphill directly from the farm
cabins. Either way, you will hit the horizontal segment of the road at about 725 meter.
There are two different routes. The first option is
to ascend the hillside on your left
(when facing along the road towards the upper valley). In this case, aim for the saddle,
then continue along the ridge all the way to the main glacier.
The alternative, which will give you better skiing,
is to follow the valley and ascend the glacier directly. Note that there
may be avalanche danger from the steep slopes
on either side of this valley.
Climb a first step, then more gently
as your route gradually curves left
and reaches a saddle next to the lake 1169. From here, one can ascend the ridge
directly to the main glacier, or perhaps more convenient, traverse right and
ascend the smooth slope coming down from the glacier.
Once on the glacier proper, follow a pretty flat route about 3 km to the
This weekend I could ski only Sunday, high on the wishlist was Grovabreen
and Fivlenosi, these peaks are about 3-4 hours drive
from Bergen. The weather
looked as it would stay nice in the morning only. I decided on Grovabreen and
left Bergen Saturday in the afternoon. My plan was to stay at the hotel
in Skei, thus getting an early start when the sunshine was promised.
I went to bed early and woke up already around 0430. Well parked at the
trailhead and ready to go by 0515, record early for being in Norway.
It had snowed the previous evening, even flurries down at Skei. Now,
the sky was bright blue, the sun already hitting a few summits further west.
The temperature was around -5 Centigrade and I quickly decided that my
wax mountain skis would be by far the best to use. I had brought the pair
that can use skins (for uphill traction) as well, but I only use them in
pretty extreme situations.
I walked up to the farm cabins, then uphill along a small creek. Quite
to my surprise, I ran into a new forest road around 700 meter of
elevation, it looked pretty ugly. Looking uphill, it was clear that
the route up the valley would be much better than the alternative
ridge route. The approach up to the ridge line had more vegetation
and less snow.
I skied in the narrow valley where I knew there had been a deadly
avalanche accident a few years earlier. The slope on the side is
steep, but today the snow conditions were safe, in fact, the entire
slope was scattered with visible rocks.
A single skier had been here recently, I saw his tracks (uphill and downhill),
but he had turned around at approxiately 1100 meter. The slopes were covered
by 5-10 cm new, fresh snow, underneath a firm layer of crust. I surprised two
ptarmigans as they were busy with their morning schedule, just a very
nice and quiet morning.
As I approached the ridge near lake 1169, the remaining route became clear.
A traverse right in order to access the first part of the glacier, looked
better than climbing along the ridge on a day like this. I continued making
a single track and before long I could see the highest point ahead.
Grovabreen is a plateau glacier, they are often very flat on top. However,
by observing the horizon around you it is not too difficult to determine
the highest point. Arrival at 0750, about 2.5 hours put me way ahead of
my original schedule.
The ski descent was very nice, essentially a continuous, smooth run from
the top to the bottom. Further down, I followed the new forest road
down to the car. Such a road creates
a lot of damage, it is hard to
understand what economic benefit would offset or justify the harm to
nature, perhaps in particular this close to a national park.
The weather seemed to hold and I had already returned to my car
shortly after 9, I quickly made up my mind to drive across to
Sogndal and attempt Fivlenosi.