Galdhøpiggen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɡɑ̀ɫhøːˌpɪɡn̩]) is the highest mountain in Norway, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe. The 2,469-metre (8,100 ft) tall mountain is located in Lom Municipality in Innlandet county, Norway. It is in the Jotunheimen mountains within Jotunheimen National Park. The mountain sits about 25 kilometres (16 mi) southwest of the village of Fossbergom and about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northeast of the village of Øvre Årdal. The mountain is surrounded by several other notable mountains including Keilhaus topp to the east; Store Styggehøe to the southeast; Svellnosbreahesten, Midtre Tverråtinden, and Store Tverråtinden to the south; Storjuvtinden and Skardstinden to the west; Veslpiggen, Storgrovtinden, and Storgrovhøe to the northwest; and Galdhøi and Juvvasshøi to the northeast.[1]

Galdhøpiggen viewed from the west (Fannaråki)
Highest point
Elevation2,469 m (8,100 ft)[1][2]
Prominence2,436 m (7,992 ft)[1][2][3]
Isolation1,567.4 km (973.9 mi)[1]
ListingCountry high point
Coordinates61°38′11″N 8°18′45″E / 61.63644°N 8.31248°E / 61.63644; 8.31248Coordinates: 61°38′11″N 8°18′45″E / 61.63644°N 8.31248°E / 61.63644; 8.31248[4]
Map of the location
Map of the location
Location of the mountain
Map of the location
Map of the location
Galdhøpiggen (Norway)
LocationInnlandet, Norway
Parent rangeJotunheimen
Topo map1518 II Galdhøpiggen
First ascent1850 (Steinar Sulheim, S. Flaatten and L. Arnesen)
Easiest routeHiking


Galdhøpiggen means "the peak/spike (piggen) of the mountain Galdhø." The first element in the name of the mountain is gald (m.) which means "steep mountain road". The last element is (f.) which means "(big and) rounded mountain." An old road between Gudbrandsdalen and Sogn passes beneath the mountain.


The cabin on top of Galdhøpiggen
A close-up view of the mountain

Geologically, Galdhøpiggen belongs to the Caledonian folding, like most of South Norway's mountain ranges. The peak is made of gabbro, a hard but rather coarse-grained rock which is found in most of the Jotunheimen range. During the ice ages it was heavily glaciated and got its present form. The theory that the highest summits in Norway stayed above the ice as nunataks has been abandoned by most geologists. It fits well with the present flora in the area, but it does not fit well with the present knowledge of ice thickness and the results of glaciation.

For many years, geologists did not know that Galdhøpiggen was the highest summit in Norway. The honor was granted to the much more visible Snøhetta in the Dovrefjell range. Hence no attempts were made to climb the peak, while Snøhetta was visited for the first time in 1798 as part of a scientific trip to the area. In 1844 the geologist and mountaineer, Baltazar Mathias Keilhau, made two unsuccessful attempts to reach the summit. On one of these he reached a summit, which was later named Keilhaus topp (at 2,355 m above sea level very close to Galdhøpiggen), but the terrible weather forced him to return.[citation needed]

In 1850 three men from Lom reached the summit; the guide Steinar Sulheim, the local teacher Lars Arnesen and the church warden Ingebrigt Flotten.[citation needed]

Access and modern tourismEdit

Access to the top of Galdhøpiggen is not especially hard: from Juvasshytta (1,850 metres above sea level, 5 km from the summit) it takes about three hours up (including about 45 minutes to prepare for crossing the Styggebreen glacier), an hour at the top and about two hours back. Some days in the summer, a few hundred people reach the summit each day. Guides are needed to cross the glacier, but are available every summer morning.

Galdhøpiggen can also be hiked from the Spiterstulen lodge in Visdalen, with a technically very easy, but still somewhat strenuous climb of 1,300 metres (4,300 ft). It takes four hours to ascend and two hours to descend. From Spiterstulen, hikers do not have to cross the Styggebreen glacier, and hence a guide is not required. Ardent peak-baggers may count three summits on the route from Spiterstulen: Svellnose, Keilhaus topp and the summit itself. During the main season guided trips take one to the summit from Spiterstulen via the well known blue ice fall on Svellnosbreen.

At Juvasshytta there is an alpine ski resort with lift on a glacier, reaching an elevation of 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) above sea level, the highest in Scandinavia. It is called Galdhøpiggen Summer Ski Centre and is open from June and all the summer when the road is open.[5]


Galdhøpiggen had earlier been challenged for the title as the highest mountain in Norway by Glittertind, as some measurements showed Glittertind was slightly higher including the glacier at its peak.

This glacier has, however, shrunk in recent years, and Glittertind is now only 2,464 metres (8,084 ft) even including the glacier. Hence, the dispute has been settled in Galdhøpiggen's favour.

At the summit a small cabin has been built. In the summer soft drinks, chocolate bars, postcards and other items are sold here. Earlier the Norwegian Postal Authority had a small post office here—being the highest in Northern Europe. Galdhøpiggen is not only the highest summit in Northern Europe, it also contains two probably unbreakable horticultural records in Northern Europe, being the upper limit for Ranunculus glacialis (2370 m) and Saxifraga oppositifolia (2350 m). Since the summer might not occur at all, some years, it tells something about these flowers' adaptation to the extremely harsh climate.[further explanation needed]

On sunny days in the later part of July and August, the summit is visited by hundreds of people.

Media galleryEdit

The view from the top (scroll left/right to see the view)

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d "Galdhøpiggen". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Europe Ultra Prominences". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Top 100 Mountains in Scandinavia ranked by primary factor".
  4. ^ "Galdhøpiggen, Lom" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  5. ^ "Galdhøpiggen Summer Ski Centre". Archived from the original on 27 April 2009.


  • Dyer, Anthony; Baddeley, John; Robertson, Ian H. (2006). Walks and Scrambles in Norway. Rockbuy Limited. ISBN 9781904466253.
  • Pollmann, Bernhard (2000). Norway South: Rother Walking Guide. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother. ISBN 9783763348077.

External linksEdit