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Author Topic: Top of the world! (big picture warning)  (Read 661 times)
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TiLT
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« on: September 10, 2011, 10:28:37 AM »

As I write this, I'm standing on top of the tallest mountain in northern Europe. I'm totally exhausted, but it was one hell of a trip. More details later.

Also, yay for being able to access the net all the way up here.

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 07:50:28 PM by TiLT » Logged
Razgon
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 10:39:40 AM »

Hah - that is pretty damn cool - especially the being online part at the same time!

Pics please, or it didn't happen ;-)
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TiLT
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2011, 07:46:27 PM »

Not much in the way of responses to this thread, but that's okay. I didn't exactly give you people a lot of information either.

Galdh°piggen is a mountain in Norway. It's 2,469 m (8,100 ft) tall and is considered the tallest mountain in Northern Europe. Interestingly, there's a different mountain called Glittertind that was in contest with Galdh°piggen for the grand prize of being the tallest, but Glittertind's ice eventually melted and left it shorter than its competitor. Both mountaintops are within sight of each other. I climbed the top part of Galdh°piggen this weekend along with half of the people in the IT section of the company I work at.

The route I followed is quite popular and "easy" enough that children down to the age of 7 can traverse it. That doesn't make it completely safe or anything but totally exhausting to climb however. We started off at a place called Juvasshytta, which is 1850 meters above sea level and thus a little over 600 meters below the peak itself. Climbing the entire mountain would be a much larger project and would take at least a day, one direction only.

The route I followed takes 3-4 hours up, then 2-3 hours down. It's divided into three distinct parts. The first part is across very rocky terrain. It looks almost like another planet, and it's impossible to find sound footing anywhere. This part doesn't feature a steep climb, but the uneven footing and large rocks means it's still pretty rough. The next part involves crossing a glacier called Styggebreen ("the ugly glacier", more of a reference to its danger than to its looks). Glaciers are dangerous places, but Styggebreen is so often traversed and so well known that the risk is smaller than in most cases. Even so, we had to walk in lines of 10, each of us connected to the next person in line with a rope in case one of us should fall through a crack in the ice. These cracks can become hidden by snowfalls. Stepping into one can be anything from an inconvenience, to a broken leg, or even death. Dangers aside, this part was the easiest by far as the glacier is flat and easy to walk on. The third part was the worst. We were back to climbing across rocks, but this time the incline was much, much steeper. The final 100 meters or so were hard as hell, and I had to force myself to take one step at a time. It didn't help that I had a fever at the time, something I didn't notice until I got back.

The peak itself has a small hut where you can get some rest and even buy refreshments or hot dogs (at steep prices! They took 40 NOK for a single can of Coke, which is $7.2 by today's exchange rates), but I mostly stayed outside and enjoyed the food and drink I had brought along. After an hour we turned around and climbed back down. That may sound easy, but the rocks aren't any easier to traverse on the way down. By the time I was back at Juvasshytta an old injury from my time in the army had flared up, causing every step to feel like something was pinching the muscles in my thigh. No blisters on my feet though, which was a pleasant surprise.

And now, for a small assortment of pictures: (you can click them for the full-size version, which I very much recommend)



This is me during the first part of the climb. Notice the rocks. It was like this everywhere, with no flat ground on which to rest your feet.

(continued in next post...)
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TiLT
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 07:49:42 PM »



I took this picture from the summit itself just after reaching it. You can see pretty much the entire route we walked on this picture, which makes it look much shorter than it actually is. Juvasshytta is barely visible in the upper left part of the picture, within the area where the clouds part. It's just a small, dark splotch in this picture (I used my cell phone to take these, so please excuse the quality). The white area is obviously the glacier, Styggebreen. You can see some of the more obvious cracks even from this distance. My favorite part of the picture is in the exact middle, where you can barely see a large group of people (they look like ants from up here) about the leave the glacier and start the final climb towards the top. They're still connected with ropes at this point, though you can't see it here. We climbed the ridge you can see on the picture, and while you can't really see the depth here, let me assure you that there was a lot more of the ridge to climb than it looks like. By the way, notice that I'm above the clouds! The height is impossible to tell from these pictures, but I sure was glad I don't suffer from a fear of heights. smile

(continued in next post. The forum software seems to really struggle with these posts...)
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TiLT
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2011, 07:50:13 PM »




This picture was taken in another direction while I was standing in the same spot. People are climbing up from the left part of the picture, which leads to the ridge in the previous pic. Notice the triumphant cheers. slywink



Turning even further, we can now see the hut on the summit. It's quite small, and most people seemed to want to stay outside anyway. Again, notice the clouds. smile

All in all, it was quite an experience. I'm not used to this kind of physical activity (not many people are, I think), so my entire body hurts right now. I don't think I'll go through something like this again for a few years, but at least I can say that I've been there. Next time I might have to try the other route to the top, which is a bit harder.
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drifter
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 12:22:58 AM »

Cool pictures thanks for sharing.
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Harkonis
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 12:34:26 AM »

That is definitely awesome.
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kronovan
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2011, 12:36:29 AM »

Damn, does Norway ever look like British Columbia - at least above the timber line! Really great pictures Tilt, and thanks for sharing them.
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Soulchilde
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2011, 01:28:04 AM »

Awesome smile   Time for Everest?
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2011, 02:42:09 AM »

Cool pics! Looks neat up there.

8100ft is the tallest mountain in n. Europe?

I *live* at 7200 ft. We did a mountain bike ride today that went from 10,739 down to 8092... no snow anywhere... I wore a t shirt - you guys are apparently further north than we are. smile
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TiLT
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2011, 06:14:27 AM »

Quote from: Soulchilde on September 12, 2011, 01:28:04 AM

Awesome smile   Time for Everest?

We suggested that as a follow-up trip in case our company needed to trim the employee count. slywink
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TiLT
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2011, 06:23:00 AM »

Quote from: kratz on September 12, 2011, 02:42:09 AM

Cool pics! Looks neat up there.

8100ft is the tallest mountain in n. Europe?

I *live* at 7200 ft. We did a mountain bike ride today that went from 10,739 down to 8092... no snow anywhere... I wore a t shirt - you guys are apparently further north than we are. smile

I can't imagine what it would be like living at that kind of height. You must have trouble boiling eggs correctly. Tongue Galdh°piggen is the tallest mountain in Norther Europe, and from what I understand you have to travel all the way down to the Alps to find anything taller. The middle of Norway is covered with these kinds of mountains by the way, which makes it ideal for people who like to trek through nature for days. I once did a 5-day trip while in the army. We climbed the mountains known as Rondane. It was the best part of my service. smile

It wasn't exactly very cold on our climb. The temperatures hovered around freezing for most of the day, starting off cold but getting warmer as we walked. I've got a shaved head, but I didn't have to cover it until we got to the very top. I wore wool underwear over my entire body, but didn't have to resort to extra layers of clothing between that and the wind/water-resistant clothing you can see in the uppermost pic. All in all, the temperature was more pleasant than it might look. We were very lucky with the weather, and as a result I've got massive sunburn all over my head now.
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Redfive
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 01:34:49 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on September 11, 2011, 07:46:27 PM





This is me during the first part of the climb. Notice the rocks. It was like this everywhere, with no flat ground on which to rest your feet.

(continued in next post...)

Cool pics... I loved you in School of Rock by the way--definitely your best effort.
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 01:39:33 PM »

Quote from: kratz on September 12, 2011, 02:42:09 AM

Cool pics! Looks neat up there.

8100ft is the tallest mountain in n. Europe?

I *live* at 7200 ft. We did a mountain bike ride today that went from 10,739 down to 8092... no snow anywhere... I wore a t shirt - you guys are apparently further north than we are. smile

I was thinking something similar as I was reading this.  Around here, we call 8,100 ft "hills".   Tongue

Still, very cool trek and neat pics Tilt!
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TiLT
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2011, 02:33:16 PM »

Quote from: Redfive on September 12, 2011, 01:34:49 PM

Cool pics... I loved you in School of Rock by the way--definitely your best effort.

LOL, you're not the first to make that comparison. biggrin
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2011, 02:59:06 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on September 12, 2011, 02:33:16 PM

Quote from: Redfive on September 12, 2011, 01:34:49 PM

Cool pics... I loved you in School of Rock by the way--definitely your best effort.

LOL, you're not the first to make that comparison. biggrin

actually you look a lot like a guy I went to high school with, but I won't insult you by saying you''re the same person because he was from Texas biggrin
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2011, 04:06:39 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on September 12, 2011, 02:59:06 PM

Quote from: TiLT on September 12, 2011, 02:33:16 PM

Quote from: Redfive on September 12, 2011, 01:34:49 PM

Cool pics... I loved you in School of Rock by the way--definitely your best effort.

LOL, you're not the first to make that comparison. biggrin

actually you look a lot like a guy I went to high school with, but I won't insult you by saying you''re the same person because he was from Texas biggrin

He doesn't look a thing like WBS!
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2011, 04:39:21 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on September 12, 2011, 02:59:06 PM


actually you look a lot like a guy I went to high school with, but I won't insult you by saying you''re the same person because he was from Texas biggrin

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