Nordre Slotthøa

  • Nordre Slotthøa
  • 1837 m
  • Primary factor 972 m
  • Møre og Romsdal, Norway
  • Location: North 62:32.368, East 008:17.761
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3.
  • Climbed October 6. 2006.


This mountain is located east of the lake Eikesdalsvatnet. This lake, filling most of the Eikesdalen valley, has high and impressive mountains on all sides. The area is located between the villages Åndalsnes (west) and Sunndalsøra (east). This is in Nordmøre, a part of Møre og Romsdal county.
First drive to Eresfjord, located on Hwy. 660, a section of the road connecting Åndalsnes and Sunndalsøra. This place is very small, a combined gas station, grocery store and cafeteria are the only services. Continue south in the direction of Eikesdal. The road runs on the left (east) side of the lake and soon enters a 4 kilometer tunnel (narrow with meeting places). Immediately after exiting this tunnel, make a right turn (at the Vike farm), drive a short stretch downhill and make a second right turn. There is a sign here saying parking for Reinsvassbu. Park off the road in order not to block farm activities. This is the trailhead, location N62:34.190, E008:10.808, elevation 53 meter.
Route description: Walk back along the road and continue on a small road that intersects the Hwy. a bit further down than were you turned off in order to park the car. Cross the Hwy. and head uphill on a small road that serves as access to a couple of rental cabins (owned by the Vike farm). As you reach these cabins, the road ends and a clear trail marked with red "T"s, heads uphill through the forest. You will see the horizon fairly high above. The good news is that the uphill really ends there, the bad news is that this is a long and steep hill. The trail is fairly direct with few zig-zags, but a significant uphill angle as you climb higher and higher above the Eikedalsvatnet lake.
As you top out, the valley in front of you is indeed very flat. The objective of the hike, the Northern Slotthøa is very dominant as it sits pretty much in the middle of the valley as seen from this end. The trail crosses the river on a badly broken bridge then continues along the easy, flat valley to couple of small cabins at Kolstadstølen, elevation about 940 meter.
Slotthøa is looming 900 vertical meter above you just across the valley. There are several possible routes. If the objective is to find the easiest route, then it is likely that a YDS class 2+ route can be found going up on the left (east) side of the small glacier that is located in the middle of the big north slope. Accepting some class 3 scrambling along the route makes for more variations. A good route may follow the faint ridge line coming down on the right (west) side of the slope until the terrain turns steeper, then traverse left until near the small glacier. Scramble up along the rock ridge just next to the glacier, this is (YDS) class 3 terrain. From the top of this ridge, the remaining route to the summit is gentle and easy.
An alternative would be to climb the east side and stay to the left of the small glacier. This route involves a somewhat exposed and narrow passage near the top of the ridge near the top of the glacier. The passage is technically easy, but care is needed if the conditions are wet or icy (slippery). The entire slope further down is more broken up and it is likely that a route up on this side will also involve short stretches of class 3 terrain.
A third option is ascending the glacier. In October 2006, this was hard ice with a few crevasses, ice axe and crampons would be needed. Earlier in the season, an ascent up the middle with a larger, snow covered area, might be the most convenient route. However, the slope is sufficiently steep to require proper attention in order to avoid possible mishaps.
Comments: I did this climb with my son Pål Jørgen. We started out at 0740 and it took us about 2.5 hours to reach the base of the mountain near Kolstadstølen, where we rested and considered the route up the broad north slope of Slotthøa. The best route (as evaluated from our position) seemed to head up along the right side, then traverse (out of sight!) left higher up. This choice put us on the right side of the small glacier and required a short, but fairly steep climb up along a broken ridge (with loose rocks) in order to gain the more level part of the mountain above us. This climb was clearly YDS class 3, from our new perspective, the opposite side of the glacier looked easier and we decided to descend on that side. (OK to climb up where we went, but perhaps less attractive to descend..) It took us about two hours from the valley floor to the summit. Unfortunately, a small cloud had settled on the summit, largely destroying the very nice view. We also experienced very strong gusts of wind near the top. The drifting fog and the steep cliffs facing east made for a memorable moment on the summit of a mountain that probabely sees very few ascents per year. The cairn was rather small for such a prominent mountain.
A further complication was caused by the new snow covering (slick) rocks along the last 100 vertical meter of the climb. We descended on the opposite side of the glacier, the overall difficulty is less, however the terrain further down was more messy than what we traversed on ascent. Overall, this large north slope is not particularly attractive, mostly a long struggle across mixed terrain. We were both quite happy when finally reaching the valley floor again. The hike out the valley and back down to the trailhead went rather swiftly and we hit the car at 1740, exactly 10 hours after departure. We speeded up the final part of the descent motivated by getting to the grocery store at Eresfjord before it would close at 1800.
Our late fall mountaineering trip continued the next day with a successful climb of Dalegubben.