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...)