Tromsdalstinden is a full days hike up to 1238 metres high. On a good day you can see the Lyngen Alps to the east and the ocean to the west , with even a small window of Tromsø city down below.
The people of Tromsø have a passionate relationship with their very own “city mountain”. The sun starts shining on “Tinden”, as the locals call it, several days before it returns to the city itself at the end of January, after the long weeks of darkness. An early fall of snow on Tinden in August is a sign of the coming winter. Tromsdalstinden also has a Sami name, Sálasoaivi, which may possibly mean “arms”, or “embrace”. The ridge on the way to the summit also resembles an encircling “embrace”, although the mountain’s name has not been satisfactorily interpreted.
The first hour is so flat you can cycle
If you want to hike up Tinden, follow the Turistveien road from the Arctic Cathedral. Where the paved road stops there is a barrier, and beyond that you can only walk or cycle. Experienced Tinden hikers cycle a good part of the way to save time, and then padlock their bikes to a tree at the signpost a good half-hour up the valley trail.
The summer route up is short but brutal
We chose the short, brutal way up. Soon after leaving the signpost we hit the first steep part of the route and breathed heavily as we trudged through the birch forest. Mosquitoes, horseflies and flies buzzed around us in great swarms, but then disappeared as we left the tree line behind.
The worst bit comes in the middle
At the foot of the ridge we saw other hikers, who looked like tiny ants, far above us. Peat gradually gave way to rocks and scree. Half-way up, the summit towered above us, while we gasped at the sight of the sheer drops on the other side of the ridge.
We reached the top – finally
Finally, around three-and-a-half hours after setting off, we reached the top. The reward was worth the effort; not only did we see the city of Tromsø far below, but also on the other side the Lyngen Alps rising to 1,800 metres (6000 ft), with glaciers glinting among the peaks, as well as all the islands of central and northern Troms visible towards the west. It was a great moment up there, and we had to ring home to Mum and tell her about it.
The winter route is a safer way to descend
For the ascent you can choose between two routes: the winter route and the summer route. We chose to take the summer route up and the winter route down. The winter route is longer, but with a gentler slope and less scree. Both routes are well marked with red arrows and signs painted on the rocks, and on fine days there are quite a lot of hikers to be seen. It took us seven hours to get to the summit and back, including a good half-hour’s lunch break at the very top and several short rest breaks along the way, and our group can be described as about average in terms of fitness.
From the top you can see the Lyngen Alps out to the ocean
The view from the top is impressive. To the east you see Ullsfjorden and the 1800m high Lyngen Alps. Jiekkevarri, the highest top, is seen as a dome to the south east. In the west you see Tromsøya, the Arctic Cathedral and Tromsø bridge. Behind this the peaks of Kvaløya stand high. To the north west Kvaløya is lower, allowing you to see the outermost islands, such as Sandøya and Sør-Fugløya.
Tromsdalstinden is a long hike, but not dangerous
Ascending Tinden in the summer is not particularly risky, since the topography of the mountain is easy to read. However, you should not attempt the climb in poor visibility, as there are sheer drops of hundreds of metres on the back side of the mountain. On fine days, there are also more people about, which makes it safer. Keen skiers also choose to ascend the mountain in winter, although you need to be an expert skier to do it, on both the ascent and descent. Finally, it is an advantage to be reasonably fit, since it is, after all, a 1,200-metre (4000ft) climb.
Visit Tromsø shows you the way
Which bus? Guided tours? Other mountains? A map? This is the link