Below you’ll find more information about the course. If you have any further questions, please read our FAQ or write to us.
Across Jostedalsbreen – Northern Europe’s largest glacier on skis
Going across Josten is a contemporary classic. Pick up the gauntlet and join us for a wild spring adventure. In a matter of days, we go from lush valleys to white peaks and back.
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Crossing Jostedalsbreen is a test of strength that requires excellent technique and fitness. This will be an adventure of long days, many vertical metres, heavy equipment and unique views. This tour is skiing, peaks, glacier and tent trip all wrapped into one. You must master backcountry skis and be able to keep your spirits up. In return, we promise you a tour that is out of the ordinary.
We spend the first day preparing and optimizing our equipment and distributing the equipment we share on the tour.
Later, relaxation before our big tour. We reckon we’ll spend four days on the crossing itself; this includes a buffer day. We start in the valleys and go the glacier’s arms in the north. The first day will be the toughest as we must cover quite a few vertical metres to reach the plateau at 1,600 metres above sea level. We then move south, perhaps making a detour to a peak along the way, before we head down one of the glacier’s many arms. This tour will most likely take us through all four seasons, and we must be ready to meet everything from fog and blizzards to sunshine and heat.
Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe with its length of 60 km and a thickness of 600 m. The plateau we cross lies at about 1,600 metres above sea level, and the highest point we’ll reach will be 1,953 metres above sea level at Høgste Breakulen.
For the entire tour, we sleep in tents, and we help each other set up camp and do the cooking.
This will be a challenging tour, and you must expect to work hard for your adventure, but that only makes it an even bigger and more valued achievement to have seen it through.
- Accommodation from arrival to departure and on the tour
- All meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Experienced and well-prepared guide 24/7
- Equipment such as first aid kit, bothy bag, emergency transmitter and shovels
- Transport during the tour
- Travel to and from Jostedal Camping
- Backcountry skis, ski poles, boots and climbing skins
- Personal equipment such as clothes, backpack and sleeping bag
Among other things, you can hire:
- Backcountry skis with boots, ski poles and ski wax
- Climbing skins – 50 mm skins suitable for backcountry skis
- 85 litre tour backpack
- Sleeping bag incl. inner bag (comfort -17 men and -10 women)
Day of arrival
Arrival and check-in at Jostedal Camping. Arrival from Sunday afternoon.
Welcome dinner at 7 pm with introductions. No problem if you arrive later, please just let us know.
We spend our first day preparing food and equipment. As this is a long and tough tour, it’s important to try to optimize what we take along and minimize the amount of equipment that is not strictly necessary.
In the morning, we go through, sort and make sure that weight is evenly distributed in each participant’s backpack.
After lunch, it’s time for a little R & R, and we’ll take you on a touristy trip to Nigaarsbreen, since we’re already in the area. We’re going up close to see an icefall, and you’ll have the opportunity to paddle on the lake below the glacier in packrafts.
Our adventure can begin. We’ll rise early and leave with the morning sun. We set out on foot with our skis tied to our backpacks and will hike the first 5 km to the glacier, before we find snow and can put on our skis. The road goes via tracks, moraine and snowdrifts – we must most likely find our own path and cross a meltwater river or two.
Sometime after lunch, we can put on our skis and start to move onto the glacier in a more relaxed way. We’re still going up, but less steeply, and soon we see the destination of the day where we’ll set up camp below the peak Brenibba at 2,018 metres above sea level.
After yesterday’s tough start, there’s a half-day timeout for sleeping in, taking your time having breakfast or skiing to Brenibba to enjoy the magnificent view of Jostedalsbreen.
After lunch, we pack up and move the camp around 6 km south; that way, the remaining two days won’t involve long trips. The 6 km will be mostly downhill.
This is the queen stage, and today we cross the largest part of the glacier, and our reward for going both up and down will be fantastic views.
We start off with a major ascent to Høgste Breakulen, the glacier’s highest point, at 1,957 metres above sea level. Then we descend, going northwest around Kvitekoll directly to Slingsbyvarden, which will give us a view of Briksdalsbreen, an icefall with large crevasses, right at the edge of the valley and with a view of Oldevattnet. If visibility is good, the view is dramatic and the play of colours second to none.
The last leg of the day traverses a large, flat plateau; it almost feels like crossing the inland ice with its endless, white expanses. Our goal is to reach Bings Gryte, a wind hollow in the glacier and its narrowest point. Here we set up camp.
Today our destination is Flatbrehytta at Suphellebreen. The day is one long descent, first on skis, then on foot – but don’t be fooled by this, your thighs might find it to be one of the hardest stretches.
The closer we get to Suphellebreen, the clearer it will become how an icefall like this is formed when it is pressed out through the mountain. We descend through the meltwater furrows and might be able to see some minor furrows around us, but we’re quite safe and have of course brought the equipment necessary for moving around in areas with larger crevasses. We walk on the icefall to the cabin and follow a snowdrift to the cabin itself, where we can take a break indoors.
After our break, we strap our skis to our backpacks and start our descent on foot. ‘Only’ 3 km remain, but with a descent from 950 vertical metres. It’ll be tough on our thighs when we take the narrow path down to the car park at sea level.
Safely down, we celebrate our crossing with snacks and drinks before we head back to Jostedalen Camping. Back at the camp site, you can have a shower and unpack before we finish off our week and the tour with a celebratory meal at Jostedalen Hotel, the camp site’s nearest neighbour.
After breakfast, check-out and departure.
This course is for you if you’d like to try something out of the ordinary. We’ll be skiing in May; this requires experience from cross-country, backcountry, randonnée or telemark skiing, since we won’t be able to have a warm-up trip before departure.
You should also have experience with overnight tent trips, but not necessarily with winter camping.
You must be physically strong to manage long days with heavy backpacks and 10-12 hours in motion every day and many vertical metres – this means early mornings and late nights. Our backpacks usually weigh between 18 and 25 kg depending on both personal and shared equipment.
We’re all in this together, and we help each other all the way to give everybody a good experience on the winter mountain.
If you have any doubts about your ability to participate on this tour, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we’ll help you make the right decision.
For the entire tour we sleep in tents with sleeping mats and sleeping bags. We spend the first night at Jostedal Camping with its nice and newly renovated common facilities. In the communal kitchen you prepare and eat breakfast and dinner with the other participants.
We stay in Nordisk Friluftskompani´s 3-person mountain tents, both on the camp site and on the glacier. Nordisk Friluftskompani also brings along a large communal tent for use on the camp site.
On this tour, all meals are included in the price, from supper on arrival day to breakfast before departure. Some of the food for our tour must be prepared and packed before we head out.
Please let us know if you have any allergies or special eating habits; if you let us know well in advance, we’ll try to consider this when shopping. Remember that small surprise snacks brought from home can lift spirits on a long day.
This tour requires a minimum of 4 participants, and the maximum number of participants is 9 . Minimum age is 18.
This course is also sold to international participants, which gives you the opportunity to join a guide with local knowledge and meet people from around the globe. Your guides speak both Danish and English. Kristian Torp and Adam Waarst will be your tour leaders. 1 tour leader, up to 6 participants.
Jostedal Camping is located far into Jostedalen, the deep valley between Breheimen Nationalpark and Jostedalsbreens Nationalpark. Jostedalsbreen, in Sogn and Fjordane fylke (county), is the largest ice glacier on the European continent.
Breathable mountain clothes that will keep damp and wind out and stop you sweating from within are important when we walk with heavy backpacks. Wool is preferable in winter, as it will keep you warm even when damp, and it won’t start to smell too quickly. Please remember to bring both summer and winter clothes with short and long sleeves and perhaps a pair of shorts.
Our means of transport will be backcountry skis, and you can bring your own or hire. It’s important that your skis have a steel edge for moving off the beaten track, and that bindings and boots are heavy like hiking boots to give you control of your skis.
Please get in touch if you have doubts about the suitability of your skis.
The tour starts at Jostedal Camping, northeast of Bergen and northwest of Oslo. You can drive via Bergen, Oslo or Larvik. There is public transportation from Oslo to Sogndal, where we can arrange to have you picked up.
This checklist is guiding and can help you get an overview. When registering, you’ll receive a more comprehensive list with specifications, preferred makes and models etc. Equipment for hire is marked with *.
- Backpack *
- Sleeping bag *
- Sleep mat *
- Backcountry skis *
- Ski poles *
- Ordinary hiking boots or shoes
- Sunglasses and goggles
- Inner layer
- Middle layer
- Outer layer
- Clothes for breaks/relaxation
- Knitted/woolly hats
- Neck warmer/buff
- Shoe covers *
- Water bottle *
- Thermos flask *
- Cutlery, plates, cups etc.
- Head lamp
- Sunscreen and moisturizer
- Personal first aid kit with for example blister plaster
- Map case *
- Compass *
Equipment that we share – brought by Nordisk Friluftskompani
- Tents – 3-person Helsport all-year tent and basecamp tent for the camp site
- Burners – Primus multi-fuel burner (1 per tent)
- Fuel – in winter, we use benzine for our multi-fuel burners
- Bothy bag – for breaks and emergency shelter, 4 people
- Snow shovels – light, come apart
- First aid kit – comprehensive kit for both minor and major incidents in the winter mountains
- Emergency transmitter – InReach transmitter in case of an emergency
Equipment for hire from Nordisk Friluftskompani
- Backcountry ski set – consists of:
- Skis – with full steel edges and with BC bindings
- Ski boots – warm and light backcountry ski boots suitable for BC bindings
- Ski poles – adjustable in length and with large straps suitable for mountain use
- Ski wax – set with wax of every variation
- Climbing skins suitable for backcountry skis
- Shoe covers – contemporary and with appertaining fibre bivouac shoes
- 85 litre backpack – good bearing system and many pocket
- Sleeping bag incl. inner bag (comfort -17 men and -10 women)
- Sleeping mat (self-inflatable + 14 mm foam mat)
- Waterproof map case and mirror compass with clinometer
- 1 litre thermos flask and 1 litre drinking bottle
- Gaiters – for keeping snow out of your boots if your pants don’t have a tight fit
|Tour dates Confirmed Dates||Trip Status Booking status||Price (PP) Per adult|
17. May 2020 - 23. May 2020
Please contact us if your desired trip date is sold out or have too few spots available.
We may be able to work something out or you can join our waiting list in case a spot opens up.