Ascent of Rudolftoppen on 2019-06-15

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Jukka N.
Date:Saturday, June 15, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Location:Jan Mayen
    Elevation:2523 ft / 769 m

Ascent Trip Report

Go to previous ascent in this expedition

Saturday, June 15:

Having now all climbed Beerenberg, our expedition members now had to decide what to do with the remaining time we had left on Jan Mayen island. All of us wanted to climb Rudoftoppen, the high point of the south half of the island, and some (especially Richard) seemed intent on climbing every little hill possible. Others, including Petter (oldest on our team), were tired after our Beerenberg effort and wanted a rest day. Mats, our skipper, wanted to move the Valiente to the other landing beach, near the weather station, because it would be more protected, and perhaps so it would be easier to hang out with his new buddies there.

The eventual plan was that most of us would hike across the island starting today, tagging peaks along the way. Richard, Denise, Tony, Johannes, and Frederik wanted to get to the south end of the island and bivouac out tonight on the way there. Jukka and I both did not want to carry heavy overnight packs, so we elected to join them at first but peel off to camp on the weather station beach tonight in a tent. Petter, Arnt, and Chris would stay with the Valiente, sail around to the new beach, and set up camp ashore for them and for us hikers when we got back. Got all that?

We spent a lot of time organizing gear, including making a pile of stuff that was to be put aboard to boat for good (e.g. climbing gear) and stuff needed for the new camp (e.g. tents). The weather station crew was using bulldozers to prepare for the supply ship, and they helped us out by moving gear in the scoop of their machine. Finally, at 10:20 AM, the seven of us hikers hoisted our packs and started hiking up the steep slope above Kvalrossbukta, into the mist of the persistent cloud layer.

For the next few hours we made our way mostly southwestwards over hilly, mossy moorland that characterizes the south part of the island, in cloud and fog 80% of the time. Richard led with his GPS, and my high-resolution printed maps provided additional information. We made our way to a broad ridge and finally up to the top of Karl Stephantoppen at 551m, a relatively prominent hill and high enough to have some views above the marine layer.

We dropped down from this little peak and here Jukka and I separated from the other 5, since we didn’t have bivvy gear and couldn’t tag all the peaks they could. They headed for Lunckekjegla while the 2 of us made the mistake of trying to skirt the NW side of Askheimtoppen—it would have been easier to climb over it—before finding its south ridge and heading for the blob of Midtfjellet. This area was hard to navigate in, with lots of little hills and the dense fog making things difficult. At least the terrain was easy, all gentle slopes of moss, snow, or talus.

Jukka and I took a rest on the Midtfjellet and descended to near Lake 382, where the flat terrain, thick fog, and lava pinnacles made my GPS indispensable. Here we saw trail marker buoys, which we hoped might lead us down later. We then found day old footprints heading up the valley we wanted, between the Kuppelen and Sternecktoppen hills, and we soon broke out above the clouds into bright sunshine. Our route led up some snowy slopes to the Blinddalstoppane, a low prominence peak, and after a short descent we were climbing the final snowy slopes of the Rudolftoppen, our final destination at 739m. The snow was getting a bit soft and deep, but it was not far up the ridge and at 5:55 PM we topped out on the island second highest peak at its summit cairn.

The two of us rested for half an hour—now that we were above the clouds, we could see the Beerenberg 32km away, and it was cool to realize that we had hiked that entire distance. As we started down, we could see five little ants ahead on the Blinddalstoppane--it was obviously our expedition-mates, and when we passed each other we traded notes. They were heading south after they got to the Rudoftoppen and would bivouac somewhere.

Jukka and I retraced our steps to the misty pinnacle valley, where we found the plastic buoy markers and started following them to the northeast. Once the snow was gone, we soon noticed something we had not yet seen on the island—an actual hiking trail! It must get good use from the weather station people out for hikes. This path led us down into the Borgdalen valley, the easy footing making for good progress, and after loosing a few hundred meters of elevation and turning a corner we could see the Valiente anchored offshore.

Sure enough, the trail ended at a dirt road and an antenna hut, and it then passed by a number of other random warehouses and garages as it neared the main weather station ahead. We came to the small black sand beach where the boat was nearest, but we saw no sign of Chris, Petter, Arnt, or our tents. The area was utterly deserted. We tried to get the attention of the people we could see on the boat, and finally a zodiac came into the cove, piloted by Johannes the crewmember.

He told us that the weather station commander had decided that tents were no longer allowed on this beach, and that we’d have to come to the boat. I was not happy about this—I was tired after a long day of hiking and was looking forward to a night in a tent, and I was afraid my seasickness would return. My only other option was to bivouac up the trail, away from the base.

Oddly, all of our camping gear was here at the cove, in an unlocked garage building, having been trucked across the island by base staff. But Johannes was now told to bring it all back to the boat. My sleeping bag was there, but no bivvy bag. Still annoyed, I reluctantly helped load the zodiac with all the gear, donned a survival suit, and transferred back to the Valiente with Jukka (who preferred being on the boat anyway).

I complained to Petter once aboard, but it had not been his decision. He told me that the boat crew had kept him, Chris, and Arnt busy today as the loaded on more drinking water from the weather station and did other tasks during the sail around the south end of the island.

I was indeed pretty seasick this evening, due to the rocking motion of the anchored boat and the inability to pre-apply one of my patches. I still slept pretty well.

Go to next ascent in this expedition
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:653 ft / 199 m
    Total Elevation Loss:653 ft / 199 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.1 mi / 1.7 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:653 ft / 199 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 0.9 km
    Route:NE Slopes
    Start Trailhead:Rudolf-Blinddal Col  1870 ft / 569 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:653 ft / 199 m
    Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Route:NE Slopes
    End Trailhead:Rudolf-Blinddal Col  1870 ft / 569 m
Ascent Part of Trip: 2019 - Jan Mayen (3 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Beerenberg2019-06-138037 ft / 2450 m
2Eggøya2019-06-14997 ft / 304 m
3Karl Stephantoppen2019-06-15 a2035 ft / 620 m
4Midtfjellet2019-06-15 b472 ft / 144 m
5Blinddalstoppane2019-06-15 c1030 ft / 314 m
6Rudolftoppen2019-06-15 d653 ft / 199 m
7Blinddalstoppane2019-06-15 e413 ft / 126 m
Total Trip Gain: 13637 ft / 4157 m    Total Trip Loss: 13637 ft / 4157 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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