29-Sep-2008 -- This week is the Fall Break school vacation in Oslo, so our kids have the week off. We are therefore spending the week in Rauland, Telemark where we have a mountain cabin.
Tone stated that she'd like to accompany me on a confluence trip to one of the two nearest points west of here, and since the shortest route to N60E7 was closed due to road works, we decided on the somewhat longer drive (157 km) to N59E7.
We drove Rauland-Åmot-Dalen-Valle-Austmannaskaret, following roads that go up and down lots of steep hillsides. The last stretch, from Valle on highway 45, is so narrow that two cars cannot meet without both of them driving with one wheel outside the white edge marker line. When trucks meet, one of them might have to back up to the closest turnout.
After about 2 hours 15 min we got to the final mountain pass, called Austmannaskaret. This means literally "East Man Pass", i.e. the pass where men from the east arrive. At this point we found a narrow parking spot, grabbed the GPS and rucksack with camera, sandwiches and a thermos, and started walking up the initially very steep hillside.
This is old glaciated rock, mostly polished granite with just a thin cover of moss and lichen. Everything was somewhat wet due to last night's rainfall, so the steeper slabs were quite slippery, and we had to avoid them when walking up and down the steep parts.
The previous visitors have described the trip as very strenuous, but we didn't have any problems except for the fact that we made a small mistake on the way up, passing on the east side of the many lakes halfway up. This forced us to climb up and down a lot of extra meters, and we also had to traverse past some cliff faces with water below.
When we got to within 300 m, a last steep hillside faced us. The only safe way up was to follow the path of a small creek, then cross to the west side of this and climb up the final moss-clad hill to the knoll where the point is located.
I had great GPS reception, the only small problem was that the zero point turned out to be in the middle of a pond, with several stepping stones in it, but unfortunately none of them were located exactly at the confluence, so I got a bit more wet.
Getting back down was much easier, by taking the westerly route past the lakes we saved about 50 m of extra altitude, and skipped all the difficult traverses.
We got down to the car after 2 hours 5 minutes, of which about 1:10 had been spent getting up, 10 minutes at the point taking photos and 45 minutes on the return trip.