The majesty of jotunheimen

The king of the Gjende Alps has everything a mountaineer could ever wish for: An easy climb, historic atmosphere and an exceptionally breathtaking view of glaciers, peaks and magnificent valleys.

Magnificent: You have plenty of time to look at the surrounding peaks. 

Text and photo: Mari Hvalen Høihjelle

Store Knutsholstind is the king of the Gjende Alps, the mountain range between Bygdin and Gjende in Eastern Jotunheimen. The 13th highest mountain in Norway not only offers a majestic hiking experience all the way to the top, but it also has a historic feel to it. This mountain actually led to a feud between two prominent mountaineers. William C. Slingsby’s conquering of Store Skagastøltind in 1876 overshadowed the attention surrounding Johannes Heftye's first climb to the top of Store Knutsholstind the year before. This led the mountaineers to argue about which was more challenging, which we know today to be Storen.

The hike starts at Gjendebu, the Norwegian Trekking Association's oldest cabin on a crowded day in August. We follow the signs towards Svartdalen/Torfinnsbu, and wander from grazing cows and up sheltered birch covered mountain sides before climbing the steep hill up to Svartdalen. The view from the emerald green Gjende is definitely worth stopping for. On our way into Svartdalen, Store Knutsholstind resembles a pyramid with its wide, triangular-shaped peak.

By the first tarn, we leave the trekking association trail behind by a boulder. From here we follow markings and trails up the steep western flank. Be aware that the markings up to the top aren’t as clear as on a normal trail, so you need to keep your eyes open. Along with the risk of falling rocks in loose scree, losing your way and getting lost can cause the biggest problems. If you follow the direct route, it is a fairly easy peak to climb, providing you are relatively familiar with the mountains. 

The view from the top is a story in itself. You can see all of Jotunheimen from here. The view towards Storådalen is unusually magnificent, surrounded by Memurubrean, Semeltinden, Skardalseggje, Rauddalseggen and Mjølkedalstind.

Starting point: Beautiful Gjendebu is situated by the west end of Gjende lake, and si an exellent startingpoint. 

WHERE: Store Knutsholstind (2341 moh) Jotunheimen National park

ACCESS: Park by Gjendesheim. Take the Gjende ferry to Gjendebu. Follow marked trails towards Svartdalen/Torfinnsbu.

LENGTH: 8–10 hours round trip. Approx. 8 km one way. Ascent: 1400meters

DIFFICULTY: Demanding. 


More beautiful hikes in jotunheimen:
- Nørdre Svartdalspiggen (2137moh)
- Hinnotefjellet (2114moh)
- Gjendetunga (1516moh)
- Surtningssue (2302moh)
- Glittertinden (2465moh)