|The Jostedalsbreen ice cap is the largest glacier on the European mainland. It covers an area of about 475 sq. km (183 sq. miles) at an altitude of around 2000m (6500 ft). It is believed by geologists that the ice disappeared completely in the warm period after the last ice age - so much for our current obsession with 'global warming'. The ice started to reform about 5000 years ago and today it is at about the same extent as in 1700. In the 'Little Ice Age' (approx 1700-50) the glacier tongues advanced rapidly, depositing considerable moraines and destroying farmland. There are 24 glacier tongues, of which Tunsbergdalsbreen is the longest.|
The complete traverse from north to south is a two day ski trek but east-west crossings can be done in four to six hours. At one time cattle used to be driven across the ice, avoiding the hundred mile journey around the plateau. The highest point of the ice is on Harbardsbreen (2010m, 6594ft) and the highest peak is Lodalskċpa (2083m, 6834ft). Unfortunately my two visits to this area were dogged by persistent bad weather which severely limited our excursions onto the ice. However, during our 1994 visit, we did manage to grab an ascent of Lodalskċpa on a rare day of sunshine.