Geitgallien West to East Traverse

Lofoten

Avoid the crowds by dropping into the wild east side

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
2.7 km
Ascent
12 m
Descent
938 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
41 m
High Point
975 m
Gradient
45˚
Geitgallien West to East Traverse Map

Geitgallien is a truly magnificent ski touring peak and also one of Lofoten’s highest summits. An impressive summit, unrivaled 360 degree views and an abundance of awesome ski terrain make any ski trip up and down Geitgallien an unforgettable experience. However, it can also suffer from overcrowding when conditions and weather are good. The easiest and most popular way to ski down is following the normal line of ascent on the west side of the mountain. The east side of the peak however, gives a different ski experience as it is a more wild and committing descent which cannot be scouted on the way up. This aspect also often holds excellent cold snow and has awesome consistent pitches of skiing on 30-40 degree terrain. It is serious terrain and can pose a significant avalanche risk so be sure to have a good handle on the avalanche conditions before dropping in.

Description

The approach is almost always made on the west side of the mountain starting from the hamlet of Skinvollen. From here it is a pleasant skin until a steeper section is reached halfway up. It is often necessary to resort to bootpacking up this short steep slope until it flattens out once again. Once below the final col guarding the summit tower, it is again necessary to transition to boot packing and often crampons are required here. The summit is accessed via a steep snow and ice slope, up to 50 degrees in places. Most teams do not attempt to ski from the summit and it also advisable not to do so if there are other parties climbing/downclimbing. Once on the summit take in the incredible 360 degree panorama before starting the descent.

Back at the col you can start your descent down the wild east side. Ski down the first large bowl trending skier’s left to avoid some small cliffs. Continue straight down and ski the slopes to skier’s left of the large gully. Beware of the snow heating up down here and of overhead avalanche hazard. Alternatively, it is possible to skin back up to the east to make a longer trip out of it and ski the beautiful little cirque above Kroktindan. These variations both join back up with the tracks coming out of the South Couloir. Once back on the road, hike or hitch a ride back to your car.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

Low Exposure (E1)

1 out of 4

Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

March, April

Features

  • Bowl
  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area