• Jason & Vivien

Trollheim Triangle - four days of wild camping in glacial mountain loveliness.

In the last couple of years we've had to travel a lot between adventure destinations. This bothers me, it feels like we are passing up opportunities rushing to and from, to say nothing of the carbon involved. This year we planned in a little more time between contracts and turned our dash through Norway into a more interesting road trip. At the start of August I drove the van up to Norway, while Viv was still working in Nepal, then she flew out to meet me. The plan was to spend the month trekking in Trondelag and Nordland. The result was a couple of self-contained adventures that would equally well make short haul and short time breaks from the UK.

"Trollheim" is the home of trolls in Norwegian

Trollheim – a mountain area easily reached from Trondheim with beautiful rounded peaks and deep glacial valleys. To the west the peaks ( such as Snota) are more alpine and angular, while in the east the peaks (Trollhetta and Blåhøa) are more rounded with glacial troughs. The valley floors are forested and the moorland above rocky. The triangular route between three mountain huts is a famous walk in Norway (Trollheim Trekanten), but being Norway it’s not a walk in the park, then neither is it always thronged. You can drive to two of the huts, Jødalshytte and Gjevilvasshytte, but Trollheimshytte is more central and reached only by trails from the two other huts in the triangle or from Bårdsgarden and Kårvatn huts.

Photo of the the protected landscape area of Trollheim
Map of the protected landscape area of Trollheim (Trollheimshytte is in the red area of the Svaarta nature reserve)

The access roads both charge tolls and have signs about caravans not being allowed, which is odd, given the Scandinavian Right to Roam, Allesmannsratten. Because of this (we were in our camper and didn’t want to upset anyone) we parked to the north of the triangle and added an extra half day trek each way into Jødalshytte. Doing it this way also meant that we would be breaking each day’s walk mid-way between the huts and wildcamping, so far less likely to fall into a group moving along the trail. That said – just before we left the van a coach turned up with a whole load of college age students aboard, we let them steam off ahead of us and they were soon lost to view.

Heather covered rock moorlands, with streams for drinking water and a thin trail leading past the lakes

We set off at 11:00 from the van. Which we left in a lonely gravel car park designed for use by cross country skiers in the winter. The area had a long-drop loo and was only a couple of hours drive from Trondheim. The trail followed a track for a while past holiday cabins, then dipped to a river valley before starting uphill onto the moorlands. That was the theme for the rest of day 1 – heather covered rock moorlands, with streams for drinking water and a thin trail leading past the lakes to Jødalshytte. We stopped for lunch on a rock ridge overlooking the big lake Raudfjellvatnet, enjoying the sun and the silence. When we carried on we found the students had wild camped at the last big lake before the hut (Langtjønna) at a spot that I would have liked to use, but for us, the afternoon was too early in the day as we had a triangle leg to aim for. We carried on and then bypassed the hut at about 16:00 and headed off uphill on the first leg of the triangle. The angle was easy and we topped out after 300m on moorland used by Sami reindeer herders as a gathering point.

The poles of their tipi-like Laavu’s were still set up, along with the stoves. This was 8 hours and 21km into our day, but we wanted a bit more shelter, so carried on for another hour and dropped down to a good camp site alongside the bridge over the river Minnilla.

The head of the valley West of us was a ridge of peaks that led north to Svarthøtta summit at 1548m. The triangle circumnavigates this mountain massif at the heart of Trollheim, and cold katabatic winds swept down from the cirque in the night, which made us

glad of the raised and sheltered position we camped in. There is clear evidence of firepits and other camp spots here, but in the spirit of leaving no trace we opted for the jetboil and a bit of a clear up. This site feels like it’s way out in the wilds, but actually could be used as an alternative access point for the triangle, as there is a road at Nerskogen less than 7km away and only 80m below this spot.

In the morning we struck on towards the southernmost point of the triangle at Gjevilvasshytte. The first there hours were walking downhill in birch woods alongside a river gorge tumbling down to the lake Gjavilvatnett. Once again we missed out the hut, cutting west towards the next triangle leg. There is a gravel car park here too where the trail leads off away from the road, once again a possible access point. The trail winds upwards as the gorge deepens and steepens on the left, coming after about an hour and 250m height gain to a fine lookout viewpoint and possible wild camp (no access to water – it’s in the gorge!). The route levels off and for the next couple of hours winds across rocky moorland, heading for the dark bulk of Blåhøa. We crossed the river walking north west for the pass over an outlying peak, towards Trollheimshytte, and three hours from the road came to the first of the two Kamptjønnin lakes.

It's always cheering to see a small child in a rather fetching pink tutu when you are feeling absolutely shattered...

The landscape here at 1150 metres in August was bleak, with dark rock, steel grey water, old off-white snowpatches and a rather fetching pink tutu worn by four-year old Mina. She was camping with her mum and dad, and baby sister next to the lake. While Mina practised her twirls we had a chat with her father, Alex. The family were in the middle of a month long stay in the park, and this relatively sedentary approach was due to the baby, and Mina’s slower walking pace. Alex explained that he and Mina are already veterans of a multi-month pulk pulling trip (he pulled, she rode) through the winter when she was too small for pre-school, and that now she was walking for herself they were moving at her pace through the hills. They have an inspiring instagram feed about their adventures @minaogmeg. Here is Mina sporting her fabulous adventuring outfit

hiking over rock to a pass
hiking over the pass

We wanted to carry on over the pass before the end of the afternoon, so we kept hiking for another hour and a half climbing over old snow patches and finally setting up camp at 18:00 on a small grassy ledge 60 metres above the lake of Fossådalsvatnet.

tent set up on hill side overlooking lake
a beautiful wild camp spot above the lake of Fossådalsvatnet