There are big mountains, small hills and mountain peaks you still haven't been to. Every time the sun is shining, my heart is restless, because I want to climb mountains. I want to go somewhere and see how wonderful the world looks from up there. I have climbed countless mountains all over the world – in the Himalayas, the Caucasus, the Alps, the Andes, the Pamirs, in Africa, in Alaska, but Norwegian mountains are special. They are different.
I am grateful to destiny for bringing me to the magnificent Valdres mountain region and Beitostølen Resort. One could say my biggest dream has come true - I live in the mountains. I have become acquainted with the Beitostølen area, walked all the mountain trails around here, and climbed Bitihorn and Mugnetind. I am thinking to myself - what next? It's time for the highest mountain in Norway - Galdhøpiggen (2,469 metres above sea level). Besides, this is the right time to undertake the ascent. Finding like-minded fellow climbers is easy, and on a beautiful September day I leave Beitostølen together with my two hiking companions, Bent Johan Pakarinen and Tor Solberg, to conquer the highest peak in Scandinavia.
Early in the morning we are greeted by the sight of Bitihorn wrapped in clouds. This view is always beautiful. Not without reason is this mountain a symbol of Beitostølen. Our path leads us to Valdresflye, which is one of the highest mountain roads in Norway. We get this cosmic feeling, because the mountain plateau stretches as far as the eye can see all around us; it feels like we are in an Alpine desert. In winter this mountain road is closed. Along the way we take in the impressive panoramic views of the Besseggen mountain ridge, the most popular hike in the region. For the next two hours, our path takes us around the famous Jotunheimen National Park.
Galdhøpiggen, Norway's highest peak
We have chosen the longest route to climb Galdhøpiggen, i.e. from the east. We arrive at Spiterstulen mountain lodge early on a cold morning. There are only a few cars in the car park. This is not the most popular route leading to the peak, most climbers choose the easiest and quickest way from Juvasshytta. The weather, however, is excellent. Sunny, blue sky, and wonderful mountain views. The route we have chosen is technically easy, but very long. The trail is well marked. We start our ascent slowly, and climb while enjoying the view.
Actually we are four adventurers, because there is also another famous Valdres mountain climber with us – Rocky, a dog who has climbed countless mountain peaks and walked all the trails in the area. It seems mountain climbing is not a problem for him. Along the way we stop to drink crystal clear water from the mountain streams we cross. Halfway to the top, we notice snow for the first time. When reaching the mountain ridge we get fantastic views of the glaciers and the Juvasshytta lodge on the other side of the mountain.
We can see hundreds of climbers on their way towards the glacier peaks. We are happy we chose the difficult path, because this route allows us to enjoy the peace and magnificent landscapes. The top ridge turns out to be very long. After reaching the first peak, we see that Galdhøpiggen is still ahead covered in glittering snow. After a four-hour ascent we finally reach the summit. Great! There is a cafeteria at the top of Norway's highest mountain and we see many people wanting to take pictures; we have to wait in line to get ours taken. Yes, this mountain top is really popular.
Memories for life
We could not have asked for better weather. It is a bit cold, but we quickly forget about that because of the unique landscapes. From the top the view of the Jotunheimen mountain peaks and glaciers is spectacular. We want to stay here forever. There is nothing quite like it. Jotunheimen is a gorgeous place. Now I can also add Norway's highest peak to the list of mountains I have climbed.
About the author
Andris Malasevskis, 28, is a professional adventurer and mountain climber who has climbed some of the world's highest peaks. Originally from Riga, Latvia, he now lives in Beitostølen, Norway.