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Uranostind South Ridge

Posted in mountaineering, climbing, norway

Angela, June and I had planned to get up and away as fast as possible on Saturday morning, but we had a slight hiccup when something fell off my car as I was parking at Koldedalsvatnet. It didn’t look crucial and there was nothing to be done right now anyway so we set out, but I was so busy fretting that I missed the path from the road entirely. After a little bit of bashing across some rough ground and crossing a river in a rather difficult place we managed to find our way to the proper track. There seemed to be a fair few people about and I was worried that we’d be queuing on the route, but as it turned out most people were out for glacier walking that day.


Situated in the south of Jotunheimen, Uranostind is a good-looking ridge running S-N with a peak at 2107m, and more or less 900m of ascent. I wasn’t entirely sure how hard the climbing might be so we took enough gear and ropes to pitch it if necessary, but I hoped we’d be able to move together for speed. Angela had climbed a little in this manner before but June hadn’t, but as they both climb slightly harder grades than me I was pretty sure they would find it very steady.


The first couple of hours were characterised by gently steepening hiking, until we gained the first shoulder of Uranostind and took a short break whilst it was flat. The next section was the lower ridge, easy scrambling with one tricky move, and at the top of this we passed two women on their way down, having bivvied on the shoulder overnight. A little way beyond this, the ridge started to steepen and narrow, and we got to a knife-edge section a few meters long that looked like easy climbing but with a very long way to fall down both sides, so we got the rope on at this point and belayed each other across. After this it was a few hundred meters on flat ground before we got to the upper ridge, but it wasn’t really worth unroping just to rope up again.


The upper ridge was super fun, easy climbing on surprisingly solid rock, never more than about n3, so we just moved together. Both Angela and June were cruising, and we kept a good tempo going with very little effort. A party ahead of use was pitching it, so they graciously let us pass them although my preference for placing good solid nuts that are hard to get out meant we held them up almost immediately. After we got going again it felt like no time at all until we were standing on the top taking photos of each other.


We had planned to descend to the west down the scree slopes, but by chance I bumped into my friend Ina on the summit who was working as a glacier guide that day. She assured us that coming down the glacier to the east with axes but not crampons would be fine in these conditions, as long as we were careful to stay right towards the bottom. This was a much better descent, and apart from a bit of messing about at the bottom trying to not fall into the bergschrund, a lot faster than the way we’d planned. We got back to the car just before 8, and were eating dinner before sunset. As I’d not been out in the mountains all year, I was really pleased with how well the day went, and I fell asleep planning my next getaway.

Anna spends all of her free time exploring the outdoors, including winter climbing, trad climbing, mountaineering, skiing, and hiking. If it's an adventure, she's happy.

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