A visual detour to Mont Lachaux near Crans Montana, into the colorful contrasts of larches glowing in autumn, snow-covered peaks and deep blue lakes.
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We left early and still a bit stiff we get out of our van at the parking lot of the Flye 1389 and blink into the sun. A fresh wind blows around our noses as we look over to our destination today, the Rasletinden. We wipe the last sleep from our eyes and after a few minutes our backpacks are packed, our shoes laced and we are ready for a day in the vastness of Jotunheimen.
Not much reminds us of civilization here and when we have crossed the road about 45 seconds after our departure and take the hiking trail to Rasletinden, all we see in front of us is nature. No building, no road and not even a tiny power line remind us that we are not so far away from all this. In front of us is only a trail, many small and larger lakes or ponds spread out, we roam through low plant growth and past fluffy cotton grass, look at boulders and mountains that are partly covered by snow and ice.
Everything seems huge here. The vastness of the landscape, the seemingly endless mountain ridges, the endless hiking trails and (unfortunately) the distance to the peaks. But somehow understandable, after all we are in the Jotunheimen and translated this name means “home of the giants“. Our summit destination, the Rasletinden with its 2105 meters height also belongs to the giants and just misses the top 100 of the highest mountains in Norway (rank 114 ).
We have the summit of Rasletinden in view from the beginning, but the way there looks shorter than it actually is. To conquer such a giant, patience and perseverance are required above all. Because between our starting point at the parking lot and the actual ascent, we are separated by the lake landscape Fisketjernet, which we have to cross beforehand.
We follow the narrow path, which is much less swampy than we would have expected here and are pleased with the professionally laid wooden planks that make crossing the few completely soaked sections child’s play. So even Norwegian swamp crossings are fun for us and we run in brisk step and on bobbing wooden planks towards the ascent.
After we have left the fish ponds behind us, the Steindalen awaits us. Over two to three kilometers of width stretches the small plateau, which we cross, before we can finally gain more altitude meters in the steeper terrain. In our back the Valdresflye road, from which we started, becomes smaller and smaller and we can’t even recognize our van from here. Only a few dots can be made out on the distant parking lot.
But instead of looking back, we prefer to look forward or to the side. Actually, it is worthwhile to look in every direction. Because besides the fact that everything in Jotunheimen is huge, there is also an infinite amount of everything. An infinite number of peaks that line the landscape around us and gently stretch towards the sky, endless masses of scree that give us the feeling as if we were hiking in a lunar landscape and of course, such a hike also includes countless small and large steps that gradually bring us a little closer to our goal.
With every step we take, every rock we climb and every step we climb, the panorama around us becomes more impressive. However, I don’t notice much of it at first. The way to the summit of Rasletinden is marked, but there is no “real” path, as you know it from many hikes in the Alps. The markings, large red “T” letters that are always clearly visible, lead us over scree and rock in every conceivable shape and size and require some attention and surefootedness.
Paragraph after paragraph we climb upwards until, after what feels like an eternity, half a moon orbit and a wide left turn, we finally reach the nameless pre-peak. Our goal looks very close now, much closer than two hours ago, when we started down at the road. However, the view is deceiving. Although only 1.4 kilometers separate us from the actual summit, we need – thanks to the scree – another half hour for this short distance. But no matter how exhausting this climb was, it is worth it.
After two and a half hours we stand on the summit of Rasletinden. The panorama is incredible, with countless mountain peaks stretching in every direction, and the vastness of the landscape is almost incomprehensible. We turn around ourselves and enjoy extensively this sight and the silence around us.
At some point, however, even the most beautiful summit experience comes to an end and we start the way back. On the return ascent to the previous summit, I notice how heavy my legs are. The distance, the almost pathless terrain, the constant ups and downs over the scree fields, all this costs quite a bit of energy and I notice that I’m getting tired. But it doesn’t help, somehow we have to come down again.
As concentrated as possible, as fast as necessary and with Falko, who keeps me in good humor with faxes, we continue our descent. Slowly I get tired of the rocks, scree, steps, footholds and blocks and am truly relieved when the terrain around us finally becomes flatter. The crossing of the Steindalen is much easier and back on the wooden planks between the small lakes of the Fisketjernet it is almost fun again. But maybe it’s the anticipation of the end of this long hike and a cup of hot coffee and delicious cinnamon buns in the afternoon sun that makes me feel the tiredness in my legs no longer so. Because the last few meters fly by and then we are back at our starting point on the Valdresflye road.
Tired. Satisfied. Hungry. Seems like we did everything right on our hike to Rasletinden.