Styggedals Traverse (2387m)


Jotunheim are the Alpine mountains of Norway and forms the home of most of the mountains over 2000m.  This ridge traverse is a classic undertaking and considered by some as the best of Alpine traverses in Norway. Quite an acclaim! Its takes approximately 22 hours, although the entire Hurrungane chain has been run in 24 hours.

Route description: 

  1. Helgedalen to Gjertvassbreen (Gjertvasskaret):First following a tractor road, then steep ridge east of Styggedalasbreen to Gjertvassbreen. Steep crevassed snow / ice slope to the col (threatened by serac and avalanche on occasion)
  2. Gjertvasskaret t0 Styggedalstind East: Steep snow and scrambling. Grade 2/3
  3. Styggedalstind East to Styggedalstind West. Airy ridge.  Occasional cheeky up and down sections. Grade 2/3.
  4. Styggedalstind West to Sentratind:  Scrambling with an area of Grade 3 in the runnel.  Sometimes pitched or abseiled. Steep snow traverse and airy ridge. Climbing on NE ridge to the summit of Sentraltind normally 4 pitches: 1) grade 4, 25m, 2) grade 3, 30m, 3) grade 3, 30m, 4) grade 3, 30m.
  5. Sentraltind to Vetle Skagastølstind: 1 x rappel from Sentraltind to the col between Vetle Skagastølstind (30m, grade 4 if you climb it). Bivi spots and possible water. Our 60m rope just touched down on the abseil.
  6. Vetle Skagastølstind to Nørdre Skagastølstind (Skagastøls traverse): Exposed airy ridge, sections of tricky down climbing. Grade 3. 3-4 x rappels (if you use a 60m rope). 1 to 2 from Midtre Skagastølstind to Berges Stol and 2 x from here to V-Skaret (possible snagging of rope on both sections). After V-skaret, scrambling with possible 1 x rappel if conditions dictate. Scrambling up to Nørdre Skagastølstind. 1) Vetle to Halls Hammer: Tricky down climbs, airy ridge to you come to the 10m rappel down Halls Hammer. 2) Delightful airy traverse over solid mountain for 300m. 3) 2 x grade 3 climbing sections along  ridge to the summit of Midtre Skagastølstind. 4) 1 x rappel (or 2 depending on conditions.  If dry you might not need any) to Berges Stol ( A flat area before V-Skaret). 5) 2 x rappel down into V-Skaret. First rappel anchor is on the west side. 6) Scramble over Skagastøsnebbet and descend to the col between this top and Nørdre Skagastølstind (possible rappel in certain conditions).
  7. Nørdre Skagastølstind to Turtagrø:Brutal 600m boulder strewn descent before the beautiful walk down from the Tinde club hut to Turtagrø. A little tricky getting off Nørdre Skagastølstind if you follow the cairns.

Time:Approximately 22 hours.

Season:Normally July / August

Difficulties:  Climbing up to Norwegian grade 4, mostly however around level 3.  Ability to cross glacier and crevassed slopes up to 45-50 degrees. Between 4-6 rappels depending on conditions.  If the route is covered in snow and ice the difficulties will increase markedly, while in other areas they become much easier.

Escape routes:

Before committing to the traverse it is highly recommended to have a good forecast for the duration of your tour. Escape is often reversing or continuing along the route.

  1. From the eastern end of the Styggedals ridge: Eastern ridge of Gjertvasstind can be descended. This however its a long way back to Turtagrø or Skogadalsbøen DNT hut.
  2. Down from Gjetvasskardet to Gjertvassbreen:  Steep slopes and crevasses. Possible and is often used: Conditions vary markedly throughout the season. Most parties use snow anchors while in ascent / descent.
  3. Between Styggedalstind and Sentraltind there are no practical escapes apart from reverse the route.  Regardless of which way you go you will need to climb or rappel.
  4. Between Sentraltind to Vetle Skagastølstind: Possile to escape down Slingsbybreen after traversing over snowy shelves towards the col between Store Skagastølstind and Vetle Skagastølstind (called Mohns skar).  Difficult to locate the start from between Sentraltind and Vetle Skagastølstind, grade 2.
  5. South ridge of Vetle Skagastølstind to Mohns Skar (Col between Store Skagastølstind and Vetle Skagastølstind) brings you to the top of Slingsbybreen. 2 x 25m rappels. Scrambling.
  6. Vetle Skagastølstind to Nørdre Skagastølstind:  V-skaret, after abseiling the west snow filled gully can be descended. Steep snow. Alternatively going over Nørdre Skagastølstind and down north ridge. Boulder strewn nightmare for 600m.


  1. Route finding ability and Alpine efficiency.
  2. Care on steep snow slopes.  Often under the first 10 to 20 cm of snow lies an ice layer. Rotten summer snow often hides this layer and unfortunately several climbers have been injured, some fatally after they have tried to traverse or descend these slopes and suddenly crash through the rotten snow and slide on the ice.



Skills level





You will have undertaken an advanced mountaineering course first and have a high level of mountain fitness to complete this route.

Course Itinerary

We use first evening inside with theory, the rest of the course is practical instruction outside, traveling in avalanche terrain.


Privately arranged or as part of an advanced mountaineering course.


The gear – The sleeping bag and bivi bag are in the 35lt rucksack.

  1. Climbing gear:5x dmm offsets, 6 cams (medium size), 3 x hex (I think size 7,8 & 9). 4 x 60cm slings (formed into an express sling arrangement), 2 x 120cm &  2 x 240cm.  2 x snow anchors, 3 x ice-screws (This was only used on the glacier and on the initial slopes of Styggedalstind after that they were stored in the rucksack).   If the ridge had been dry, we could have dropped the 3 x hexs. Under icy snow conditions that we found they were very useful. 5 x dmm offsets was enough as was the range of cams.  Used all the gear at some point.  240cm slings were invaluable as we often found some great big boulder belays / threads.  In addition we took 6m rappel cord and used nearly 3,5m on one rappel.  In the end we used 1 x 120cm and 1 x 240 sling to rappel from. Maybe 10m of rappel cord would have been more advantageous. 1 x 60m rope (Tendon 9mm can be used as 1 rope or a 1/2 rope), 1 x crampons (mountaineering) 1 x ice-axe (mountaineering)
  2. Overnighting:1 x sleeping mat, 1 x alpine sleeping bag,1 x bivi-bag 1 x warm jacket (synthetic) each and stove / food together.  rucksack weight without climbing gear approx 10kg. We both had sleeping bags down to -5.  We both woke up cold at some point.  It was a cold night. This is not unusual for summer in the Jotuheim. As we slept on snow out Thermalit Z -lite sleeping mats were actually not warm enough.
  3. Clothing:Alpine trousers, thermals (netting x 2), long-johns (zip-on and 1 x netting), fleece and waterproof jacket / light waterproof trousers. 2 x climbing gloves and 1 x mitts, 2 x socks. 1 x hat, 1 x wool balaclava 1 x neck sock.  On day 1 I didn’t wear thermals under my trousers until we came to the bivi.  On the top I just wore the thermal wool netting top and the fleece and didn’t have the waterproof on.  My Paramo fleece is slightly windproof.  Margrethe wore her gortex over a thermal top the entire day. It was hot in the sun and cold in the shade. I used all the gloves at some point. Mitts mainly at the bivi. Used both pair of socks (dam boots at the end of the day for both of us). I had in reserve and didn’t use 1 x thermal top, 1 x zip-on long johns and 1 x wool balaclava. They don’t weigh very much and it nice to know you have some dry cloths to get into when it comes to the bivi.
  4. Boots:Summer Alpine.  I did have cold feet at some points.  Mainly due to having damp socks (and also my feet were frost damaged when dog sleding once)
  5. General gear:1 x first aid kit (basic), 1 x head torch plus extra batteries (each), 1 x suncream (each), 1 x Garmin in-reach GPS (group), 1 x compass (each), 1 x map (group), 1 x crampon repairs.


8000,- NOK pr person
Max 2 participants


Included in Price:
– all guide/instructor fees and expenses.
– all instructional material and location rental.

Not Included in Price:
– personal ski/avalanche rescue equipment and clothing.
– transportation to/from course location.
– lodging.
– travel insurance