Slogen – a hike you can’t miss while in Sunnmøre.

Sunnmøre is the southernmost region of the western Norwegian district of Møre og Romsdal. Its main city is ÅlesundThe district is made up of mainland as well as several large islands such as Hareidlandet, plus many small islands. The region is an hikers wet dream! There are several big fjords in the area which means steep hikes and amazing views. Most of the hikes start around sea level, so even though the highest mountain in the area is bellow 2000 m, fear not, you will get to climb enough high meters. There are few sports that can not be practiced in Sunnmøre, its perfect for hiking, kayaking, skiing, paragliding, and you can even do surfing. There are also a lot of possibilities for climbing.

I have not yet explored all the different possibilities and do not know the mountains as well as the locals do, but I have done around 5 hikes in the area and am convinced that the mountaintops in sunnmøre are what dreams are made of 🙂

If you are lucky enough to be in the area during nice weather, Slogen (1564m) is the mountain you can not miss. Despite its sharp and steep appearance, the top is relatively easy to climb. From the peak you have a fantastic view of the peaks around and the valleys deep down at Hjørundfjorden.

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From the fjord, Slogen rises like a triangular pyramid, straight up. Coming closer you will see that it is not quite as steep.

With nice weather, the hike up is easier than you would think, only the last part is a bit exposed and requires some scrambling, so do not be surprised to meet Norwegians in sport BH and shorts running up. There are some really sporty Norwegians out there so even we had to let some pass us 😀

You do not need any equipment of any kind to get to the top, but I do not recommend this hike with fog or rain, at least not all the way to the peak as the last 100 hm are really exposed. We are talking about several hundred meters right down!

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The trip up to Slogen is suitable for day trips, but there is a possibility to spend an overnight stay at the Patchellhytta before climbing the top the next day. With accommodation here, this trip is also suitable for children.

To get to Patchellhytta (and further up to the top) you can either go up Skylstadbrekka from Øye in Norangsdalen (about 2-3 hours) or up the Liadalen from Engeset not far from Stranda (about 2-3 hours). From Patchellhytta, the trip takes up to about 3 hours. The trail up to the top from Patchellhytta is not marked, but it is quite easy to find. The third option would be to walk from Urke to the hut and then do the peak next day.

Season: June-September.

From Øye: 3 km. 1500 altitude meters, 4 hours.

From Patchellhytta: 3 km. 750 height meters, 3 hours.

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We hiked the route from Øye (Marked black on the map). It is 1500 hm more or less right up, but in return you feel that you are getting closer with every step you take and just after 1 hour, you can already spot the peak. The first 1000 hm are in the forest, after that there is a short part of gravel path and after that you have to jump between the rocks and find you way to the top, while enjoying the amazing view to Hjørungsfjorden.

The path from Øye has normally less snow so it is a nice option if it is early in the season. After perhaps 500 hm you will find a sign to water. It is a nice opportunity to fill up your water bottle as it gets really warm on that side of the valley during sunny days.

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We did not fill up our water bottle on the marked place, so we had to get creative.
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100hm from the peak, there was a lot of snow so we had to climb next to it. This is where you want to stop if you do not like scrambling.

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The views from the peak speak for themselves:

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The one hour that we spent on the top, went way too fast!!

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This view spoiled us on the way down. I need to figure out what the closest mountain is called and add it to my list 🙂

We used 4 hours up (with two 20 minutes breaks)  and 2,5 hours down. The path down is long and steep so I do recommend hiking poles, even thought you will be an obvious tourist while using them (very few Norwegians use hiking poles :D).

If you are a true Norwegian you finish your hike with a refreshing (read freezing) swim in the fjord. Luckily I am Estonian so I had an excuse 😉

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This is just one of the hikes we did during our vacation in Norway this year. In one weeks time, we managed to do another hike and some kayaking in the area. I had also planned outdoors camping, but that we had to cancel due to the weather 😦

My first snowshoe hike + camping in the mountains during winter.

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After the less successful ski-touring trip couple of weeks back I needed a successful adventure! I just felt the itch for doing something new more and more. Now it was the time. I knew right a way what I wanted to do. I have been thinking about sleeping in the mountains during winter for some time now, but somehow we have kept it to rather simple day hikes instead. Considering that last winter we did not even hike and considered winter just a skiing season we have really moved our limits. I have now realized that It is very nice to hike in the winter and it is a complete different experience from any other time of the year.

The perhaps hardest part of planning this hike was finding a perfect destination. We needed a peak that was accessible with public transport, that was not too crowded, that we had not hiked before and that was “hard” enough for a long day hike. Another thing we needed to consider was the avalanche risk and we needed a destination where it was easy to rent snowshoes (We were to late to rent something from DAV in Munich, but if you plan a head this is the best and cheapest option). Finding a such a destination was not easy. I was about to give up actually, but luckily Elias took over and found the perfect destination for our adventure – Feldernkopf 2071m.

This was a hike of firsts – Made and Elias doing stuff they have not done before. 

  • This was the first time I camp outside during winter
  • This was the first time I hike with snowshoes
  • This was the first time I use a stow to make pancakes
  • This was the first time I put up a tent on snow

All in all we learned so much during this adventure: 

  1. Snowshoes are not so awesome for hiking steaper hikes (perfect for less steep hikes), but they are awesome to go down hill with.
  2. Plan two hours for setting up the camp. We used 1 but it would have been nice to have one more hour just for looking at the sunset.
  3. Store your shoes inside the tent not outside in a bag.
  4. Store all your food inside the tent so it will not freeze during the night.
  5. Take your time when making the flat area for the tent on the snow. The more time you use the better you will sleep 😉
  6. Secure the inner tent the most, otherwise it will start gliding down the hill (We learned that the hard way).
  7. Take extra pars of socks with you, at least 2 extra pars for the night (You need the grandma stuff)!
  8. If it is cold sleep with cloves on, I did not do that but next time I will so that you have more flexibility when choosing  a sleeping position.
  9. Thermos is nice to have, even when you plan to boil water, so you can store the warm water you boil. When it is could outside the water gets cold faster than you think.
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what a feeling.
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View from the top around 4PM
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This is where we decided to camp, it was a little too windy on the top
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Here I try to mark the place for the tent.

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One thing to think about before you head out to a winter hike is that it is not always easy to find the path. The regular markings were almost never visible, but luckily we were able to follow the skitourng tracks. It is also a good idea to find a hike were you can see the peak from the beginning so that it is easier to orientate, or even better, take a GPS with you.

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Final break, ca. 200m still to climb

The hike was “only” 900 m climb. This was yet another thing we discovered 900 m climb in snow can not be compared to 900 m climb during summer. Yes we had quite heavy bags with us but we needed 6 hours to climb that 900m. In other words we were glad we had the whole day.

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We had quite big bags with us

 

When it comes to food the possibilities with a stow are endless, but my advise is to keep it simple. It may be cold on the top, you may be hungry and tired so you should plan to make something easy and fast. The easiest thing is to buy some of the dry food meant for hiking, but if you feel more adventurous then that, you could make dinner at home and just warm it up on the stow. We had something like chilli con crane with us and simply heated it. We even had homemade guacamole and cheese with us 🙂img_20170211_173642

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Preparation can not be underestimated, here Elias tries out making pancakes at home.

 

For breakfast we made pancakes with apple jam. (Elias wanted bacon but we never got so far as frying bacon. The pancakes would have gotten cold in the mean time so we dropped that). In addition to this we had tea and coffee with us and some fruit, homemade granola bars, sandwedges for the lunch and a chocolate. It was more than enough food and we ended up bringing some of it back home.

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Clothes:

I already mentioned extra socks, we also had extra change of clothes for seeping. The moral here is that more is better. You can never quite know how cold it will get during the night and the worst thing I know is to freeze, so have more clothes with you that you think you will need and prioritize wool and layers.

All in all this truly was an adventure. We learned a lot and experienced a lot. It was heavy and we needed to push ourselves mentally. But it was sooo nice to have dinner and watch the sunset. And to wake up and make pancakes and look at the mountains. We were also lucky with the weather so the last 300 height meters we had amazing views.

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Sunset ❤

Retrospective of hiking year 2016

I hope you all have had a nice Christmas celebration so far. At the moment of writing this blog post I sit in Norway and have a nice view to the mountains and the sea. I have eaten way too much Christmas food but I am happy to be able to spend some time with family again. Last past days there was a storm passing Norway, but today the sea has calmed and the mountains are visible again in the horizon.

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Not much snow in Hareid yet.

The relaxing time between christmas and new years is perfect for taking a look at what you have accomplished during the year that has passed. When I think back to the hiking year 2016, I’m quite happy. All in all I think I have done 20 hikes. I try to keep count but it could be that I have forgotten to count some hikes.

From these hikes the definitive highlights are:

 

Triglav 2864m, Slovenia

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Watzmann 2713m, Germany

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Obere Wettersteinspitze 2297m, Austria

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Picture is taken from hikr.com

 

I have not written about these hikes because I did them all before I started this blog, but I will try to write about them during the next year, because these are all hikes I really recommend!

How do you feel about year 2016? Has it been adventurous enough? Have you realized some of the hikes on your list? I sure hope so! I am currently making a wish list for year 2017 and will post it when it’s ready 🙂

Have a nice rest of the christmas and a nice new years celebration!

Did you see the supermoon? From Jochberg (1565m) you could.

So on Monday everybody were exited about the “supermoon”. Apparently the moon did appear larger than it has since the 1940s. It was supposed to be the whole 14% bigger and 30% brighter compared with the smallest full moons. Pay attention to that last fact “compared with the smallest full moons.” In other words it was not THAT big, but I still thought it would be worth taking a step outside to see this supermoon and so at the last-minute, I joined a hike that a friend of mine was organizing. This meant that I had to pack everything the evening before and take it with me to work. I did not even have enough food in the refrigerator to make sandwiches, but once I have decided something, nothing can stop me!

So I packed everything and got up 6:20 to buy some sandwiches from the bakery and get to work early. At 4 a clock I left work and had to get to the other side of Munich, where we were to meet. One hour later we were on our way. Once again I was hiking with new people who I had never met before. This is almost becoming a habit :D. We were a group of five and had a really nice time.

This was also my first winter-night hike in a very long time. I think I did something like this back in Norway but in a much smaller scale.

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We were truly hiking in winter wonderland.

I must give my friend Anna all the credit for choosing the mountain and planning the hike. I know she put a lot of effort into finding the perfect mountain where we could see the moon. And perfect it was 🙂 .

The hike we did was the following:

Route: Parkplatz am Kesselberg (850 m) – Jochberg (1565 m) – Parkplatz am Kesselberg (850 m).

Time: Estimated time was 2 hours to the top, but we used closer to 1,5h.

Climb: 750m

The drive there from Munich took ca one and half hour. We honestly thought that we would be the only crazy people going hiking in the middle of the night just to see the moon, but when we got there, there were about 4 other cars already parked. Turns out we are not the only ones who had this idea!

We started from the parking lot with lots of layers and headlights. After 10 minutes the layers came off and after 30 minutes we turned off our headlights. It was so snowy and the moon was indeed very bright, so the headlights were not even needed. There was however a lot of fog, so we could not see the moon. At ca. 1400 meters (when the forest ended) we finally walked out of the fog and saw the moon.

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The magical moment as we exit the forest and see the moon.

So imagine this: you are standing in the snow, under the stars, under a bright moon, you look down into the valley and it is covered with thick soft fog. In the horizon you see all the mountaintops reaching out of the fog. It was amazing.

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The fog in the valley and the mountaintops rising up from it – Amazing.

Tonight, the full moon will appear larger than it has since the 1940s. The moon will appear around 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter compared with the smallest full moons. It will be worth taking a step outside to see this super supermoon.

What is a supermoon, and why does it happen?

The moon’s orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle. It’s an ellipse, a saucer shape that’s longer than it is wide. That means as the moon follows this orbit, it’s sometimes closer to the Earth and sometimes farther away. At perigee, the closest spot in its orbit to the Earth, it’s around 31,068 miles closer to Earth than at apogee, when it’s farthest away.

Meanwhile, we see different phases of the moon — full, crescent, waxing, and waning gibbous — depending on if the sun-facing side of the moon is facing the Earth.

These two phenomena don’t always match up, but when they do, astronomers call it a perigee full moon (a.k.a. super moon). This occurs about one in every 14 full moons, Jim Lattis, an astronomer at the University of Wisconsin Madison, notes.

The relative difference in size between a full moon at perigee and apogee. It does appear bigger, but not dramatically so.
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To be sure, this isn’t an enormous difference compared with a regular full moon. Neil deGrasse Tyson has called the frenzy around supermoons overblown. “If you have a 16-inch pizza, would you call that a super pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza?” he said on theStarTalk radio show.

Whether or not you’re impressed, it’s a good enough excuse to go outside and marvel at the beauty of the cosmos. Sky and Telescope reports that the night of the 13th or 14th should make for good viewing (perigee will occur at 6:23 am EST on the 14th). But “[t]he tiny difference between the two evenings will be undetectable,” the magazine writes. You may want to try to catch the moon earlier, when it rises (for those of us on the East Coast, around 5:30 pm), because near the horizon, an optical illusion will make the moon appear absolutely huge. Like this:

Expedition 50 Supermoon

But why is this supermoon extra special?

The moon will appear slightly larger than it has in decades because of mere chance. The moon will reach fullness just three hours after perigee on November 14. Because perigee and the full moon are so closely timed, this full moon will be the largest (relative to our perspective on Earth) since 1948. The next-closest supermoon will be in 2034, as NASAreports.

Again, though, the differences in size between a really close supermoon and a typical one would be are pretty negligible. The full moon Monday will be just 30 miles closer to Earth than the last record in 1948, National Geographic reports. In astronomical terms, that’s tiny.

The moon will also be a bit brighter than usual — also due to the fact that it will be a bit closer to the Earth.

And if you miss it, fear not. We’re currently in a run of supermoons, and there will be another on December 14 (it won’t be quite as big). After that, we’ll have to wait until December 2017 for the next one.

Correction: This article originally misstated the how the moon’s phases occur. They do not occur due to the moon’s passing in and out of the Earth’s shadow. Rather, they’re due to thechanging angles between the sun, Earth, and moon.

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We were the only ones on the top and enjoyed our warm tea (me) and gipfel beer ( Anna) with amazing view.
On our way down we had some problems because it was very slippery. Actually we were counting who fell the most :D, but after a while we came out of count. There were couple of very funny falls :D. Luckily I had my (new 🙂 ) hiking poles with me and did not fall once!
Despite the falls, the hike itself was quite easy, but there was a lot of snow so gaiters and hiking poles were very useful as were proper hiking shoes. If you plan to do this hike or any other winter hike, invest in gaiters and bring always two pairs of gloves with you. Warm tea in a thermos is also a must for me 🙂
I would totally do this hike again during daytime. During day, you should see Walchensee, Kochelsee, Riegsee, Staffelsee and Starnberger See! Walchensee and Kochelsee being the closest biggest lakes. You can see a summer panorama here. 
The day after this hike I was a Zombie.. So tired, I got to bed at 1 AM and had to work the day after. That gave me ca. 5,5 hours of sleep. In other words, after-work-hiking is not something I would consider doing often :D.
Did you see the supermoon? Could you tell that it was bigger?

Don’t let others crush your hiking dreams!

On Fridays a typical conversation I have goes like this:

X: So what are your plans for the weekend?

Me: Actually I will go hiking.

X: (Rolling eyes) off course you are.

People don’t always understand why somebody would climb 1500 meters to the top of a mountain just to walk down again (and I don’t understand why people who take cable-car up a mountain :D). Many people seem to think that what I do is “Extreme”. For example my grandmother tells me every time we talk that I should not reach for the “extreme”, because I will only end up injured. For her extreme would be everything from running a marathon to doing a handstand. Sometimes it really feels like people just want me to sit still the whole day! And for what? So that I would not have pain in my knees when I turn 60? It is frustrating :(. 4047179af9cd819c31969c18e9324068

I have found something that makes me wake up early on a Sunday morning, that gives me this inner peace and inner drive at the same time. When I have been in the mountains I feel like my weekend is complete and when I don’t go to the mountains I feel like I am missing out. Why would I stop with something that is healthy and makes me happy? If you have found something like this, you should not give it up or restrict yourself. You should embrace it and develop it. Simply do more of what makes you happy!

You can not change your family, but you can choose who you hang out with. Therefore to balance all this negativity I try to find people who are as “extreme” as me or much worse :D. People who I can look at and think ah I would like to be like this. People who have done hikes that inspire. People who share my passion and understand by drive.

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It is ok that not everybody understands the need to sand on top of a mountaintop (more mountains for me 😛 ). We are all different and have a right to like different things, but don’t let friends or family limit your goals and ambition. Do what feels rights for you and that makes you happy. If it is 7 days hiking in the alps, or climbing a difficult mountain so be it.

Krottenkopf (2086m) and hiking with hikingbuddies.

As I wrote in previous post, this weekend I joined an organized hike by a group named Hiking buddies Munich (you can check them out here). This is a quite active hiking group on Facebook, where everybody can organize hikes and invite people to join. Hikes that are organized vary from difficult hikes for experienced hikers and easy hikes for complete new beginners.

The hike I joined went to Krottenkopf (2086m) in Germany and in the end we were 9 people doing it (one person did not feel good and decided to turn around quite early in the hike).

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Krottenkopf is the peak to the right, so this is where you will be walking up. It looks worse than it is 😉

Route:  Oberau train station (659m) – Weilheimer Hütte (1955m) – Krottenkopf (2086m) – Weilheimer Hütte – Oberau.

Elevation gain: ca. 1500 m

Time: We used 8 hours, with 3 long breaks and some short ones.

Distance: about 17 km.

Transport: Take train form München HBF to Oberau.

This trail is steep. You have a little beak when you reach the ridge and are going to the hut, from the hut it is just about 15 -20 min up to the peak on a perhaps even steeper trail. The trail is steep but involves no scrambling and it is not exposed at all. Therefore the only requirement to do this hike is to have good enough fitness level. Alternatively you could do it during the summer so that you don’t need to worry about hiking in dark.

Now, I promised to write about how the hike went with new group of people. As I already wrote I had hiked with only two of these people before. And therefore I also knew that the pace would be quite fast.. perhaps too fast form me 😛  Nevertheless, I joined ( I could not just sit home now could I?) So what happened was that they were quite fast and the group was naturally divided into two. This was actually very good because nobody needed to hike alone. The fast part of the group was very inclusive and waited for us at the hut before we started with the last climb  all together. That said, I think we were not more than 15 -20 minutes behind them while hiking.

Everybody in the group were friendly and social. I think I got to know everybody except 2 people.. It kind of depends who you end up walking with. It was very nice international group and during the hike we shared our tips for hikes and travels in general. I truly believe everybody had a nice hike and I would not mind hiking with these people again 🙂

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Enjoying the sun during a nice break on our way down.

On hiking buddies hikes there is often Gipfelbier (peak beer) and Gipfelschnaps (peak shot). I still not used to drinking while hiking ( I first experienced this strange tradition in Germany) , but I do not say no to a cold nice weissbier on a top of a mountain during nice whether. With not so sunny whether, I must be honest, I don’t really feel the urge for it

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Anna enjoying her beer with a view.

Ah I just got a selfie stick as a present from my sister, so I was testing this out. I am a complete newbie with selfie sticks, so it was actually hard to catch both the group and the mountains in the same picture with it 😀 Here is my attempt:

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Today it is snowing in Munich (kind of) and it is suppose to snow (for real) above 1000m. This means that the snow-hiking season is here 😀 Last year I did not do snow-hiking, but this year I might just try it 😀 I have also yet to try snowshoes so this promises to be an interesting and adventurous winter.

What are your plans for the winter season? Have you ever tried snowshoes?

Last hike for this season? Nahh..

The hiking season in Germany is much longer than in Norway. This is one of the things I love about living here. While it’s already snowing in Norway and people are preparing their skis, here you can still climb a 2000 m high mountain in tights 😀

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This weekend we hiked Kramerspitz (1985 m). Kramerspitz is in Garmich, Germany. We have actually not done much hiking in this area. The reason being simple – I like the mountains in Austria better. Why?  Well, Garmish is very popular amongst hikers and tourists, so you never hike alone. Also, Germans seem to like to have a lot of beer huts on their hikes and these huts require roads. So way too often you find yourself hiking on roads in the forest, rather than trails. I like it natural and I don’t care about the beer, so therefore I prefer Austria.

BUT moving on to this weekends hike.

Rote: Garmisch (800 m) – St. Martinshütte (1028 m) – Kramerspitz (1985 m) – Stepbergalm (1592 m) – Garmisch (800 m)

Elevation gain: 1200 m

Time: We used 3 1/2 hours to the top (inkl. 2 long breaks). We were told that the route down would be shorter via Stepbergalm, but that’s not true. The shortest way down is to follow the same route down as up.  The route via Stepbergalm is not really worth it, unless you really don’t like to do the same path twice.

Transport: Just take the train to Garmisch then walk to Baiyernhalle. The trail starts just next to it.

Huts: There is one hut on the way, you will reach it after 45 minutes or so and it is an excellent place for the first lunch break. You have a perfect view to Zugspitze, Germanys highest mountain. I even made a new friend, Josy.

 

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There is a road to the hut, after the hut you will follow a normal forest trail and it gets steeper. After a while you will get up to a plateau with a small bench. Here the trail divides into two but there are no signs 😦  You should follow the trail to the left. With nice weather you can spot the peak from here. The rest of the trail is not so steep, and is easy to follow.edited.jpgedited2When we did the hike there was some snow, but you can see where the trail goes.From the top you can see down to Garmich, you can see Zugspitze, Eibsee and Alpspitze ( on my list for hikes to do). A complete panorama with peaks can be found here.IMG_20161023_151613.jpgDid you get to hike this weekend or have you declared the hiking season over already?