Every time when in Pyramiden, I am impressed by the mountain on the other side of the valley. It bears the slightly strange name Yggdrasilkampen, derived from a term used in Norse mythology. Old viking stuff, has got something to do with a tree. There are no trees here these days.
Anyway, Yggdrasilkampen is impressive. A mighty mountain, vertical rock cliffs with huge protruding shoulders in a good 500 m altitudes, towering high above big scree slopes. Beautiful colours and an interesting geological structure. Devonian Old Red forms the bulk of the mountain, being separated from the Carboniferous carbonate layers on the top by the Svalbardian unconformity. Uppermost upper Devonian. I am sure you know what I am talking about.
But that was not actually the point today. The point was not to have „only“ the view from Pyramiden to Yggdrasilkampen, as always, but the opposite perspective, from Yggdrasilkampen to Pyramiden. Hoping to discover a good route for future trips, I ventured out on my own. In case the route would not be feasible, something I was not sure about before I actually went, being on my own would make it easier to turn around if necessary. The group was hiking up mount Pyramiden with Alex and Daniel, so everything was in best order there.
The way across Mimerdalen was easy and enjoyable, thanks to an old Russian earth road and even a bridge. But ascending the mountain was a different thing! There was actually no ascent visible from sea level, so I put all my hopes on a corner which I could not see from down below. Rocks, rocks, rocks and a little bit of easy climbing in the end – everything fine as long as the frost-shattered rock would stay where it was – and I was up on top. Yeah!
The view? Amazing. And I enjoyed the whole thing, hiking along the whole edge of Yggdrasilkampen. From the northeastern corner, you have got a stunning view over Billefjord, from Petuniabukta in the north through Nordenskiöldbreen in the east to Sassenfjorden in the south. Just amazing!
Gallery – Yggdrasilkampen – 06th September 2017
Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.
The hike along the edge of the plateau did take some time. Two little glaciers had carved their respective cirques into the slopes, which both required some detours. But the better were the views from the ridges protruding towards Mimerdalen between these cirques. The most stunning view comes probably at the eastern point of Yggdrasilkampen. Counter-clockwise, you look out from Nordenskiöldbreen over Pyramiden (mountain and settlement), Munindalen and the inner reaches of Mimerdalen. Just amazing! I may have used that phrase before, but it is simply appropriate. Of course I took a 360 degree panorama. It had been a bit of work to drag the equipment up the mountain, but it was more than worth it!
Descending from the mountain was yet another interesting question. I was mentally prepared to return the same route I had come, just in case. The ascent on the eastern side had not actually been a comfortable route, and I was hoping to find another, better way. But the first view down from the eastern side of Yggdrasilkampen was not exactly encouraging: nothing but steep, high rock cliffs. No way to get down there! So I went on to the south and finally I found a slope that I could use. Still pretty steep, with endless fields of loose stones, but it worked. And I was indeed quite happy not to walk the whole way back. But I have to admit that it is not a great way for everyday use.
After a long descent, I finally got to a Russian hut at a little lake in Mimerdalen. Perfect to rest again for a little while and to eat the last biscuits before taking the last few kilometres back to Pyramiden. It amounted to almost 20 kilometres in total. I have to admit that I could have done without that annoying cold. But it was the perfect day for this kind of hike, and the opportunity was just too good to be missed!
By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be ordered 🙂 it is a photo book with the title “Norwegens arktischer Norden (3): Die Bäreninsel und Jan Mayen”, with German text Click here for further details!