MASSIV Day 3: Nørdstedalseter – Sognefjellhytta

Had the best night sleep I can remember at Nørdstedalseter. I suspect the excellent food and total quiet contributed. Biggest factor was probably the 26km with near 1700m ascend I did yesterday. Which didn’t quite set me up for another 26km and 1838 meters ascend today.

Started off along the maintenance road towards the hydroelectric dam. Then started climbing slowly but steadily.

Was hopeful that the forecasted rain would mean slightly less fog and thus better visibility. Careful what you wish for. While the visibility was slightly better, the heavy rains in heavy winds made the hike less enjoyable than it could have been.

Despite this being the longest leg thus far there’s not really much to say. It’s been cold, wet and steep. Had ten minutes of bright sun that were nice. A few truly spectacular views. Also met another hiker today – nice Dutch guy. Could see him from far away so no singing this time. Turns out he’s doing MASSIV as well but in the other direction. With a tent and full backpack probably carrying twice my weight and having completed it in a third less time than I plan to. I take comfort that I’m probably twice his age here I sit in a ready made bed having had four(!) servings of main course while he’s camping in his tent somewhere 😉

Biggest worry today was that the trail map data published by DNT for this section does not match the trail at all. Had I followed it blindly I’d fallen to my death down cliffs and water falls on at least three occasions. Given the fog situation I’m as pleased as Punch that I take some time each morning to study the map and watch out for dangerous spots.

Today also included the most narrow ledges so far, having 15-20 cm to balance with 15-20 meters fall to one side and mountain on the other. Thankful for the excellent Vibram soles on my shoes that stick like glue.

Finally arrived at today’s destination Sognefjellshytta. Nice place, excellent service, but more like a youth hostel than a mountain hut. The French guys next door speak so loudly that one could wonder if they think one of them is still in France and they have to yell to each other. The Germans across the hall are watching something German on a personal device at full volume for everyone in the building to hear. Except the French ones perhaps…

I’ve now completed the first 70km in three days. The body is holding up surprisingly well. I can tell the feet have been used, and my left knee occasionally reminds me of its presence but otherwise things are good. So far.

Tomorrow I’m crossing a slightly bigger glacier, Fannaråksbreen, on my way to Fannaråkhytta and then onward to meet wife and kids at Ekrehytta. It’s only been three days and already I miss them immensely. The glacier guides aren’t departing until 12:30 so having studied the map I believe I’ll be reasonably safe hiking around the edge of the glacier alone in the morning. Waiting 4 hours for a big group of slow tourists to slowly make their way up is not an appealing choice when wife, kids and home made deer stew is waiting on the other side. Stay tuned for more on that tomorrow…

Fun fact

Some jacket vendors line their pockets with the same type of fabric that’s used to make gloves touch screen friendly. I know this because my phone took100-200 pictures of the inside of my pocket on four different occasions

Today’s statistics

  • Total distance hiked: 26.3km
  • Total time: 10:24 hrs.
  • Total ascent: 1838m
  • Total descent:1350m
  • Max elevation: 1619m
  • Today’s favourite item: Probably the packed lunch from Nørdstedalseter, along with my super light mini thermos filled with hot water for tea.
  • Today’s crap moment: When I realised my iPhone had taken 150 pictures of the inside of my pocket while hiking. Four times.
  • Today’s word of wisdom: Turn on extra screen lock if it’s raining heavily and your iPhone pocket is damp.
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Gunnar Florus Mountaineer