Kyrkja

Kyrkja summit climb

At 2032 meters,  Kyrkja just surpasses the 200-meter mark, which in Norway separates high mountain from just mountains. While Kyrkja may not be an overly famous mountain, it is nevertheless very prominent in the part of Jotunheimen where it is located, right across the lake (Leirvatnet) from Leirvassbu Lodge.

A century ago it was deemed impossible to climb and it really does look that way  from below. However, it is in fact a “hiking summit”, which does not even require climbing skills or equipment, though there are a few short sections of scrambling (grade 1) at the ridge. The prominence of Kyrkja makes the climb quite popular, and I climbed it at the finest day of my 3+ weeks in Jotunheimen in August 2016. Starting from Leirvassbu, the entire trail is very rocky, sporadically marked with cairns until the unmarked final ridge, however route finding is rather obvious in clear weather and described elsewhere.

Kyrkja summit ridge
Kyrkja summit ridge

The ridge is not exposed (meaning it is virtually impossible to fall down) though steep and rocky and the most difficult part of this climb is a 3 meter passage just 50 meter below the summit requiring a scramble over at couple of steep rocks. Several people turned around here. I almost turned around but finally made it on my third attempt.

This is an area of Jotunheimen with a lot of snow. Some years (such as 2015) the snow never melts, but in 2016 conditions were fine in August.

Kyrkja summit ridge
Kyrkja summit ridge

The summit of Kyrkja is a 600 meter ascent from Leirvassbu Lodge. I took 5,5 hours for the return trip.

Highlights: Climbing the ridge; the views from the top

Difficulty: 5.

Information and maps: ut.no. Webcam looking directly at Kyrkja.

The complete photogallery of the Kyrkja Summit Climb, August 2016 is available on flickr.

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