• Gravdalstinden
  • 2115 m
  • Primary factor 247 m
  • Jotunheimen, Norway.
  • Location: North 61.52280, East 008.11784 (GPS on the summit.)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed May 12. 2019


How to get there:
The mountain hut Sognefjellshytta located near the highest point on Hwy. 55 is a good starting point.
Route description:
From Sognefjellshytta, ski south-east to Bøverbreen glacier and ascend the nice terrain along its north side. Turn south-east and ski several kilometer on the very gentle (almost flat) Smørstabbreen. Aim for the saddle (elevation approximately 1950 meter), between the two small summits 2045m (west) and 2033m (east). Continue south, but stay as high as possible/convenient on the left (east) side. Traverse slightly uphill to reach the ridge that runs south connecting point 2033m with Gravdalstinden. Follow this ridge south. When it climbs to point 2015m, just contour left of this point, do not descend. Follow the best possible line as you ascend slightly until you easily may turn sharply right and ascend to reach the lower end of the distinct ridge that runs down from the summit of Gravdalstinden. Finally, ascend the gentle slope to reach the summit of Gravdalstinden.
This weekend was planned as a get-together for some of us going to Jan Mayen in early June. The idea was to get to know each other, to practice a bit of glacier travel and rescue techniques and hopefully, also a nice ski tour to some attractive peak. Sognefjellshytta was chosen as base camp and a reservation for 4 people made. Unfortunately, Arnt called in sick and thus we ended up being Jukka from Finland, Fredrik and I from Bergen.
The forecast for Saturday was not good, better for Sunday. We therefore decided to do the glacier practice on Saturday… Sunday morning started with brilliant weather. Sognefjellshytta should consider serving breakfast from 0700, they start at 0800, pretty late, we were happy to be skiing by 0820.
Unfortunately, clouds started to close in on the glacier and our approach to the peak took place with very limited visibility. The weather took a turn for the worse just as we arrived on the connecting ridge going south towards the mountain. I had read a description saying that one should descend a bit onto the glacier below (to our left, east) in order to access the slope that would lead to the final ridge. This descent looked steep and icy in the bad weather and we decided to leave the skls and put on crampons. Just as I started walking visibility improved and it became clear that we should NOT descend, rather follow a very nice and natural line straight ahead. Skiing would have been much better, but too late now. Thus, I continued on foot, sometimes with pretty bad postholing, but the distance to the summit was not very long. We arrived on top around 1215, so slightly less than 4 hours.
The fog started to clear and by the time we had descended from the peak, visibility was quite good with views of Hurrungane south, Jotunheimen more east. We skied back via the same col, then climbed a couple of subsidiary peaks before turning home. Skiing was nice and the weather improved. We were back at Sognefjellshytta at 1600.
In order to also meet Arnt, we had agreed on a joint dinner in Sogndal. Good to also see Anne, we decided that we last met in Longyearbyen in November 2016. Time is really running fast.
Jukka collects 2000 meter peaks in Norway with a prominence cut of only 10 meter. We therefore visited 3 additional (minor) tops on our way home:

1) Vesle Gravdalstinden, 2015m with prominence 20 meter. It is located directly north (on the ridge) of Gravdalstinden and is a very small and straightforward detour from the route to Gravdalstinden.

2) The small hump called Øst for Søre Smørstabbtinden, 2023 meter with prominence 20 meter. It is best climbed directly up from the glacier (From north-west) aiming just a few meters to the right of the summit.

3) Søraustre Smørstabbtinden, 2032m, prominence 44 meter. This hump is located at N61.53500, E008.12398, the first top along the rim of Smørstabbreen south of Storebjørn. This top is best climbed along the ridge from the south side. There is a second almost equal summit a few meter further north, separated by a narrow col, but the concensus seems to be that the first (southernmost) of the two tops is the highest one.