Like a freshly sharpened swors, the Hjørund Fjord cuts the Sunnmore Alps in two.
Like a freshly sharpened swors, the Hjørund Fjord cuts the Sunnmore Alps in two.

The Fjord

I WONT INSIST. Not at all. But if you really want to get the most out of life, I would suggest that you sail up the Hjørund Fjord on a february day. Yes, in february, Thats all it would take. The route to happiness is the seafaring route into Sunnmore Alps.

Eivind Eidslott, Øyvind Yksnøy and Kjetil Leknes on the edge ot Skårasalen. Far below is where the ferry crosses the Hjørund Fjord between Sæbø and Urke.
Eivind Eidslott, Øyvind Yksnøy and Kjetil Leknes on the edge ot Skårasalen. Far below is where the ferry crosses the Hjørund Fjord between Sæbø and Urke.

The following article was written by Eivind Eidslott.

HOW IT WORKS is that you jump aboard an old fishing boat several days after a big snowfall. You deposit your fat skis on deck, greet the spry captain and stand along the rail in the company of good friends, watching Jørnhorn slide past, then study them in your binoculars, searching for naturual lines that might serve as descent routes, running from summit all the way to the fjord. You go ashore someplace, anyplace, and pick yourself a mountain.

BUT WHERE IS THIS HJØRUND FJORD, you ask. Where is this place? Must you fly to New Zealand to find them? To Patagonia? Alaska? No, no, no. You neednt travel futher then Vigra Airport, a blustery airfield on Norways`s western coast, known for its meat-patty sandwiches and turbulent landings. Thats where your plane comes down, like a panicky crow, befor you proceed by road through undersea tunnels to Ålesund – a city perhaps best known for burning down in 1904 and receiving massive emergency aid from Friedrich Wilhelm Albert Victor, better known as Wilhelm II, the king of Prussia and Kaiser of German Empire.

In the years after the fire, as the city rose again, it acquired its characteristic Jugend style. If you are intressted in architecture, or art, or things in general, you`ll want to take time to wander the beautiful city streets. But if your primary interest is snow crystals – billions of snow crystals piled up under your skis – then Ålesund is just a way station. For you, only the Hjørund Fjord matters. Its the Hjørund Fjord that is the purpose and destination of your pilgrimage.

Unique conditions - Its rare to find snow as low around the Hjørund Fjord.
Unique conditions - Its rare to find snow as low around the Hjørund Fjord.

IT IS WRITTEN in black and white, at Wikipedia.com “The Hjørund Fjord is ranked by many as one of the most beautiful in the world” Who exactly this refers to is not clear, but if that question should ever arise – if someone should demand to know who it is that belives that the Hjørund Fjord is one of the worlds most beautiful fjords – then we would gladly put ourself forward as an example. After all, it was we who engaged the fishing boat MS Vikaskjær for a week back in february 2010.

FROM ELEVATION ZERO to the top of any and all surrounding moutain peaks, we saw an abundance of the sun for the first time since october. We were no longer interested in having the world at our feet, because we had something else. We had the Hjørund Fjord at our feet. And on those large, sweaty feet of ours, what did wear? High, stiff, plastic randonee boots. The first day, we made it to the top of Grønetinden, the secret bearing wall of the Hjørund Fjord region. The next day, we climbed Nordre Sætretind, the Ama Dablam of the Hjørund Fjord. Another day, we climbed Skårasalen, the Mont Blanc of the Hjørund Fjord. And thus it continued. It just went on. As if it was a dream. A naive one.

Eivind and Tr Sæthre aboard the MS Vikaskjær - resdy for another peak day in the Sunnmore Alps.
Eivind and Tr Sæthre aboard the MS Vikaskjær - resdy for another peak day in the Sunnmore Alps.

I CANT REMEMBER when it happend. If it was on the way up the mountain, if it was on the way down a moutain, or while sitting on board the boat with venison sausage in one hand and an ice ax in the other. It doesn`t really matter. But I remember the sudden feeling of being in the right place at the right time. Such a feeling is rare and may last only one second or two. It is like a breath of wind, the slightest touch, a snowflake that melts on the face of a child. And I remember it. Always. Alongside the menta image I carry of a fjord. A fjord which – after this trip – will forever be The Fjord. Definitive, singular.

NORWEGIAN ALPS Going the distance, just below Nordre Sætretind, with steep snowy flank of Standalhorn behind.
NORWEGIAN ALPS Going the distance, just below Nordre Sætretind, with steep snowy flank of Standalhorn behind.
Tor Sæthre, Eivind Eidslott and Anders Waage Nilsen on theire way to Nordre Sætretind.
Tor Sæthre, Eivind Eidslott and Anders Waage Nilsen on theire way to Nordre Sætretind.
Tor and Eivind enjoying life on the fjord.
Tor and Eivind enjoying life on the fjord.