Skjerdingsdalssetra

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This is Skjerdingsdalssetra. "Seter" (or "sæter") means a summer dairy, usually in the highlands. In the old days the farmers took the cattle up there in June, and for about three months the girls milked the cows (and goats) and made butter and cheese from the milk. This activity subsided, essentially during a period 100 to 50 years back, and now it is rare. The Skjerdingsdalssetra surroundings offer excellent pasture, therefore cattle that is not lactating, and sheep, stay here every summer. But the old "seter" huts have been turned into cabins for recreation, and similar cabins are being built. On this day the sheep are being rounded up to be transported on a trailer back home through the tunnel, that's where the road to the left disappears. The cattle is next.
(2014-09-15)


The 'new' Strynefjellet road

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The 'new' Strynefjellet road is running past Skjerdingsdalssetra at altitude 600 m. This 14 km long road was opened in 1978 to replace the Old Strynefjellet road (previous page). Most of it runs through tunnels, three of them, the bus is approaching the southmost one, the one closest to Stryn. Unfortunately these tunnels have become a bit too narrow for big trucks meeting, and in winter this important road is sometimes closed because of risk of avalanches, especially between the two upper tunnels. Experts are then called in to set the avalanches off by explosives. New tunnels are being planned and maybe there will be a single long one.

The former summer dairy Skjerdingsdalssetra is surrounded by excellent pastures and they were used by many farms long before the road and the tunnels were built. The valley leading up to it has the cross profile of the letter V and was originally inaccessible, but long ago a 'path' was constructed, and with the help of ropes in critical places, (daring) people could reach Skjerdingsdalssetra. But the cattle had to be guided up an adjoining valley to the west (Glomsdalen, "dalen"=the valley), and from its upper end steeply up to altitude about 1400 m and across a glacier (Nautbreen =the Cattle Glacier!) with dangerous crevices, and then steeply down to the upper end of Skjerdingsdalen, and finally the last five kilometers down to Skjerdingsdalssetra, altogether a two-day journey, sometimes involving the loss of cow or two. (Note that glaciers in the past have been much larger than they are today.) Going home in the autumn of 1851, the herd was caught in a snowstorm and twenty pregnant cows perished on the glacier. The next summer a 'road' for the cattle through the previously inaccessible valley was constructed. Through the upper part, called Glærene and partly shown in the right half of this picture, this meant blasting the 'road' out of the steep rock with gunpowder. The whole 'road', from Jøl bridge to Skjerdingsdalssetra, came to be referred to as Glæra. Although the cows those days were light and spry, weighting only a third of today's dairy cows, throughout the years quite a few were killed by accident on this primitive 'road'. Finally, in 1934, the Government appropriated money for improving the 'road', and its width was doubled in most places – now dynamite had been invented.
(2008-09-12)

Skjerdingsdalssetra-1960

In the summer of 1960 a friend and I tested the old 'road' Glæra: Starting at the tourist attraction Jøl (=gorge) bridge, the first part of the path is quite steep. We concluded that people with acrophobia might have some trouble, especially through the upper part, which you may also infer from the previous picture. Continuing, as we did, from Skjerdingsdalssetra up Grasdalen and across the pass to Djupvasshytta (12 km), is easy. Skjerdingsdalssetra was then inhabited only by heifers and sheep, as have been the case also on later visits (by car). But surely the cabin owners now and then come to this wonderful place, its pleasantness only diminished by some heavy trucks climbing the rather steep road between the tunnels – and we may also include the avalanches in winter and spring.
(summer 1960)

If you plan to hike through any part of this route, particular in spring, it is advisable to consult the Stryn tourist office or a local. Please note that the end of the avalanche season varies. Also, heavy rain may cause rocks come away from the mountain sides, and on this route the Glæra track is most exposed.


View towards Grasdalen

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This is one of the districts in Norway most exposed to avalanches, and since 1972–73 research on snow avalanches has been going on right here. This view from Skjerdingsdalssetra up Grasdalen (=grass-valley) shows one of the contraptions, one kilometer away: Masts with measuring equipment in the avalanche path, and a 100 meters long and 16 meters high stone/soil wall (actually a separate research project). The snowdrift Ryggfonn, 920 meters above the valley floor (up to the right), is set off by explosives placed there in advance. After travelling down the 29° slope, it ends (partly) at the wall, often reaching a speed above 200 km/h on its way.
(2015-09-11)

View towards Grasdalen

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The mast closest to the wall, part of which shown to the left. On its plow-shaped right front equipment for measuring speed and pressure is integrated. (A Doppler radar for measuring speed stands on the left side of the valley.) The masts are very solid. Twice earlier masts have been wiped down to the valley floor because the avalanche grew much larger than expected. A second research site is situated five kilometers further up Grasdalen, accessible from the road between the two upper tunnels.
(2015-09-11)

View towards Grasdalen

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This is the shack housing the recording equipment (etc.) The sensors are connected by buried cables.
(2015-09-11)



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