/ Setesdal, Norway

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Gene00 - on 12 Jan 2014
I'm heading to Setesdal, ice climbing, the beginning of March.
Anyone been there before? Will be staying in Bykle or Hovden both in the northern part of the valley.

Any info would be appreciated.

RichT - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00:

Have you got the guidebook?

Great place with lots of variety and not many people. When I went 7(?) years ago we didn't see any other climbers in the valley all week. Snowshoes were very useful on some approaches. Conditions vary a lot from one end of valley to other. Routes facing most directions to suit. Lots of adventures to be had

If conditions aren't great the skiing at Hovden is laid back and fun - lots off piste but not too hard. Also xcountry skiing, particularly from Hovden was good.

Worth stocking up at big supermarket near airport if timings work.

Hope you have a great trip
Gene00 - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to RichT:

I have the guide book yes.
I think we'll stay in Hovden as it's a lot cheaper than Bykle Hotell.

Thanks for the info Rich.

Gene00 - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to RichT:

Hi Rich

Just booked this place in Valle, Kallefoss Hyttepark. It's quite cheap and more central than Hovden.
Niall_H - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00:

I'd certainly stay in the Bykle-Rysstad part of Setesdal, rather than go up to Hovden - there's no climbing as far up as Hovden, and it's a pain to do the drive at start and end of the day.

Let us know what the Kallefoss place is like, especially in winter - I've seen it in Summer, but I've never stayed there! (I've used the Bykle Hotell's self-catering apartments, and the hytte at Brokke before - the Brokke place is great if you have half-a-dozen people)

Definite agreement with Rich's suggestion of doing a supermarket shop if you can fit one in (the local shops are okay, but not great; the ones in Hovden or Rysstad have had the best range). And with the suggestion of trying skiing at Hovden (or Brokke) as a no-ice alternative: there's down hill and cross country in both.
Big Lee - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Niall_H:

I'll be there around the weekend of 22nd Feb. Feel free to email me afterwards if you want a conditions update for that time. Or there'll be something on my blog.
Gene00 - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00:

Thanks Niall, I'll be sure to let you know what it's like.

Big Lee, I'll follow your progress, what is the URL for your blog Lee? a sit rep would be very much appreciated on your return.

Thanks again

Gene00 - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

I found your blog site. Cheers
scouse - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00:

Hi Gents

Just a quick Q gents - having been to Rjukan a couple of times I fancy Setesdal but dont have the guide.

I'm taking a newbie mate, so do you know how many WI2s & WI3s are around there pls ? I will buy the book if I'm going

Ta !
Steve Broadbent - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to scouse:
In the guidebook there are:
22 routes of WI1 and WI2
57 routes of WI3
67 routes of WI4 and WI5
8 routes harder than WI5
A couple more have been done in the last year or so, as described at

You can preview the book here:
Post edited at 13:11
scouse - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Steve Broadbent:

Steve you're a true gent !

That's exactly what I wanted & I'll be buying that guide & booking my cheapest wooden hut asap ! WI2s & 3s for friend, and I can push WI4s.

Cheers dude !

Hang on, I've just looked at the book preview, and the book is edited & foreward-ed by Steve Broadbent ... what a coincidence ! ;)

If that's you, top man for bringing this info to us :D
Thorpe Cloud - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to scouse:
I went to Setesdal this time last year.

If travelling via Oslo the coast road is slow but infinitely better than travelling across country.
Stick to the speed limit as there are cameras everywhere. I got a fine !

I agree Hovden is north of most of the routes. Further south is better. Lots of route choice although ice quite thin last year despite intense cold.

Agree about stocking up. Alcohol punitively expensive. Wonderful place and we had it to ourselves.

Envious - enjoy it !
Gene00 - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00:

The guide book is good, plenty of information about routes and access to them.

I'm staying in Valle from 7th - 14th March.

When are you heading over there Scouse?
scouse - on 26 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00:

Ta Thorpe Cloud, the coastal road looks tempting, it'll be a definite for one of the directions - slowly

Hi Gene00, we get there 2nd Mar & leave 9th, so we have 1 day overlap - we'll be finishing off our duty free that night !
Steve Broadbent - on 26 Jan 2014
In reply to scouse:

And talking of which... there's a pretty good duty-free shop at Sandefjord Torp airport when you arrive. No need to worry about getting stuff in the airport in the UK, or on the flight... just buy your full allowance at the duty-free shop when you arrive at Torp (if you're going that way). Very reasonable prices and a good selection of oddly named beers, imported wines, and spirits from all over the place. After that you're on you own with crazy Norwegian prices...
scouse - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Steve Broadbent:

cheers Steve, a font of knowledge

btw the book is a 'little' gem
wbo - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Gene00: not sure when you last went but a lot of the coast road to Kristiansand has been opened with 2 lanes and 100kmh. The road over the mountains from Stavanger is shut now

Big Lee - on 18 Feb 2014
In reply to Gene00:

In Setesdal from Friday. Anybody got any recent conditions info? Seen the posts on the climb Setesdal website. Looks warm this weekend. Any recommendations for venues with reliable ice? And which are safe from avalanche risk if the temps are above zero?

DanielJ - on 18 Feb 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

Seen pictures of the two testpieces in the area. Both code red and no country for old men looked to be in really good shape. Should mean that a lot is formed?
trish1968 - on 19 Feb 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

Just got back on sunday.
There's lots and lots of snow make sure you take snowshoes routes are covered.
HenryJM - on 19 Feb 2014
In reply to Gene00:

I went out last year and had a brilliant time, absolutely loads to do. However, it is a very wide and open valley so it does not hold the cold like Rjukan does. The weather has been unseasonably warm this year, even Rjukan is looking a bit wet. I would keep a carful eye on the weather before you commit to Setesdal.
Big Lee - on 19 Feb 2014
In reply to HenryJM:

Thanks, been keeping an eye on the forecast. We're only there until Monday. Would be nice if it was colder but temps are at least dipping below freezing at night at the Northern end of the valley between Fri-Sun so optimistic of getting some climbing done - provided enough routes have formed.

Assuming it will need to be North facing stuff if it's been mild?
zookeeper on 19 Feb 2014 -
In reply to Big Lee:


Was in Setesdal 7th to 16th Feb, got back on Sunday. Conditions not good. Vdeep snow, snow shoes essential. Most routes not properly formed and high temps are doing a lot of damage. We were a team of 13 in four cars so were able to have a good look around, but we really struggled to find much worth climbing. The harder end of Bykle was in and Boyzone got several ascents but that was about it. Veiane Gorge proved a good walk but only Damocles and Glopfossen visible, Damocles not advisable in the conditions and Glopfossen was full of holes.

It just hasn't been cold enough for long enough so it's pretty much crud central. Rjukan is reporting better conditions but still has its share of crud.

Some of the lads went for a ski at Hovden and had a good day. We spent the rest of our week wading in deep powder.
Big Lee - on 26 Feb 2014
In reply to zookeeper:

Just got back on Monday night. Very warm. Around 4-5 degrees for the last 48 hours that we were there. Looked to be some stuff in nick with enough hunting around thopugh:
Gene00 - on 02 Mar 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

Thanks for the blog Lee. Glad yo managed to get a few routes done.

I'll be there 7th to 14th, long term temps looks a little better but that could go either way!

Zookeeper; thanks for the info too. Skiing in Hovden is a decent second I suppose.
scouse - on 04 Mar 2014
In reply to Gene00:

Hi Gene00

in setesdal now & there are a lot of routes whuch are now waterfalls, daytime temps around 2 - 3 deg C. Tunnel of love doesnt exist, couldnt see or find owt in condition (had a very close look at boyzone but nightmare to get to new start of ice & its thin ice (some water underflow) so didnt fancy it.

Went up between two grade 6's today on Bykle slabs, which were really grade 3 due to lack of ice, and running water underneath, some ok ice in places, thin ice in others, slush puppy in others - higher ice looked reasonable but didnt trust the segment inbetween. Not a comfortable feelin with lots of running water sounds, next to exposed under ice water flow, so biffed.
Access was deep snow & hard work over logs & stones & deep holes.

All in all we've had a roadside look at most of setesdal, a walk into to some, a very close look at one & a 40m climb on one & I'd say it's pants right now.

We're thinkin of sellin a kidney to snowboard at Hovden ... or drivin over to Rjukan, but cant get any details of Rjukan conditions post 28 feb.

btw kallefoss camping is ok, basic but confortable, but no drying room, so everythings hangin in the cute little hytte that we have, and we dry out with it ! Remember this as the wifi password - took me ages to guess "Kallefoss"

btw2 as Steve mentioned earlier, theres a 'duty free' when you land & its worth buying beer, but get your spirits before you land cos they aint that cheap at Nordic duty free.

Any clues as to Rjukan ice would be most welcome !

di gilbert - on 04 Mar 2014
In reply to scouse:

Hi Scouse,

We spent 3 days in Setesdal last week (Wed, Thurs & Fri) but bit the bullet and drove to Rjukan on Friday afternoon.

Compared to Setesdal, there was loads of ice. We happily spent 2 days at Krokan.

It cost about £20 to hire cross country skis from the alpcentre in Hovden which provided some good exercise around the tracks.

Hope this helps,

rdrjones on 04 Mar 2014 -
In reply to scouse:

There's four of us up in Rjukan at the moment. Just had our first day on the ice at Ozzimosis where there's 4 routes in. Apparently there's a fair amount in at Kroken and a few routes in at the upper gorge nothing at Vermot bridge or the lower gorge. Freezing level through the day is around 480m.
Checking out Kong Vinter tomorrow which is about 600m.
From what you've said about setesdal I'd head for Rjukan. But it isn't as good as other years.
Have fun and good luck.
Gene00 - on 04 Mar 2014
In reply to scouse:

Cheers for the info mate.

not looking good for Setesdal next week at all. A drive further north is probably our only option.

I'm in Trondheim just now, a place normally covered in snow and typical temps well in the minus for this time of year. They haven' had any rain or snow for the last 6 months so the locals inform me! In fact they've had a few forest fires!
Very odd indeed.


Rukjan must be mobbed is it not?
Gene00 - on 04 Mar 2014
In reply to scouse:

we've booked a hut in Kallefoss as well
scouse - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to Gene00:

thx Di & Rdr, top info rjukan it is then ! hope to see you there

Gene00 - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Gene00:

Left Rjukan today. Most routes are unrecognisable, and not worth the effort.

Spent an hour on a hollow mushy Ozzimosis after failing to gain access to Mael gorge on Thursday. Massive avalanche debris below Haugsfossen made our minds up for us.
kroken is spent too, Kong Vinter, gone.

We did manage to do Trappfoss on Tuesday, good day out but the ice was a bit sketcky, also a lot of bedri in the gorge.

Went to Gaustablik to ski on Thursday.

All in all a mixed bag really.

Temps due to fall next week, but I doubt it would be worth a visit to Rjukan now.

Roll on winter 2015.
fil-p on 14 Mar 2014 -
In reply to Gene00:

We went to kong vinter on the 4th. Abbed in to the gorge, but couldn't climb out as the ice was cruddy to the point you could push the screws in. Made for an interesting walk out up the other side of the gorge.

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