Jotunheimen Haute Route is a five-day randonée ski tour in the heart of the Jotunheimen National Park. The route goes over eight glaciers and seven 2000-metre summits, including Glittertind and Galdhøpiggen. Overnightings are at staffed lodges. Each stage is about 15 km long, with 1000 – 1500 metre elevation gain.
When Johan Wildhagen and Stian Hagen went to Toubkal, the loftiest mountain in North Africa, they realized that there was a randonée skiing paradise in the Norwegian mountain areas they knew from childhood.
There’s something about going abroad to discover what you have at home. Playwright Henrik Ibsen went to Italy to write his greatest plays about Norway. In 2012, Stian Hagen and Johan Wildhagen had a similar experience in North Africa.
They took their ski gear to another continent. After landing in Marrakesh, they drove a car for several hours and then hiked for hours in a queue of people headed for the same destination. People from round the world had come here. Two Norwegians, Stian Hagen, a randonée-skiing pioneer known for having climbed almost all the way up the Matterhorn to ski down it, and his trekking partner and photographer Johan Wildhagen, known for his works in the world's toughest landscapes, had come to ski down Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa.
It could be a godsend. It could be the luck one dreams about.
"Why are we here", they wondered. “What are we doing?” It was then that the idea struck.
“Jotunheimen”, said Stian Hagen.
“We should go home to the Jotunheimen. Norway’s Haute Route is there, waiting for us.”
They had trekked the Jotunheimen mountains as long as they could remember. The peaks had become so familiar as to be inconspicuous. But now a new aspect of them revealed itself. The mighty and much untouched peaks of the Jotunheimen obviously comprised a randonée skiing destination. They viewed the inconspicuous anew. They took their skis and put together the Jotunheimen Haute Route.