Mountain Name: Kroktinden – Location: Austvågøya – Elevation: 707m – Difficulty: Easy/Moderate – Time: 2 hours
Kroktinden (707m) – not to be confused with neighboring and more difficult big brother Kroktind (755m) – is a moderately high, pyramid like summit reached from an enjoyable hike through changing scenery and ever improving views. Located in Sydalen, in the western reaches of Austvågøy, the views from the summit span lonely fjords, deep valleys, and wild, rugged lands where it is easy to imagine a moose or two wandering around. Further to the northeast the islands of Vesterålen rise across the sea, and on especially clear days, distant glaciers on the Norwegian mainland shine in the eastern horizon.
Kroktinden is located near the western edge of Austvågøy. The trail begins in the village of Sydalen.
From the west: Take the E10 towards Svolvær. After crossing a bridge and leaving Gimsøy, you will now be on Austvågøy. After several hundred meters, look for a sharp turn to the left marked Brenna / Sydalen. Take this road, 864.
From the east: Take the E10 in the direction of Leknes. You will cross Olderfjord as you near the western edge of the island. From here, it is another 1.4km until you will see the signposted turn to Brenna / Sydalen. Turn right here, onto the 864.
After leaving the E10 the road heads north and wraps around a small fjord. The first village you come to will be Sydalen. There are several small roads in the village, but the correct one is the (unpaved) road with a 2 story blue house on the corner, 6.3km from leaving the E10. Turn right. Continue down the dirt road for about 700m until you see a small turnout on the left, before a small shed-like building. I suggest parking here. You can continue along further, and will reach a cemetery, also with some parking.
From the small shed, begin walking along the dirt road. After about 100m the road will turn sharply to the left, go this way (not straight). After another 100m or so, go right onto the small farm track / x-country ski trail. After 300m, the farm track will turn sharply to the right. Take the small trail leading towards the left and into the grass.
Continue along this trail for some time as it first wanders through low birch forest before beginning a steep climb to Sydalsskaret pass – where the power lines are.
The trail here now splits. Continue towards the base of the first power poles and then begin looking for a trail to the right, across the boggy grass section. The trail should be visible, although there are several routes. In general, you want to continue on, gaining some elevation from the pass and traversing around the lower edges of the steep ridge rising on the right.
Still gaining some elevation as you travel past the ridge, the trail will begin to climb some steeper rocky sections while you begin to turn more south and climb up towards the small cirque. While there will be a few short sections that will be steep and possibly slippery, it should not become uncomfortably steep, if so, you have climbed too far up the ridge, too early.
Gaining more elevation, you should have prominent ridges on both your left and right, as you make your way towards the approximate low point in the center. There are some rocky sections to cross where the trail will disappear, but do not worry too much. As long as you stay around the middle, there is only one place you can end up.
After the rocks begin to thin, you will soon reach a small pond as the trail flattens out in the high valley. Kroktinden is the mountain rising above and towards the left. Take the trail around the left side of the lake and into the boggy sections at the back of the valley.
There appears to be numerous sheep trails wandering around up here and it can be a bit difficult to remain on the correct trail. But cross country travel is not so difficult if you get a bit off course, just keep heading towards the mountain. I suggest looking for a trail leading towards the rocky outcroppings on the left. Once reaching the ridge, continue along until you meet with the southwest ridge arriving from the right. At this point you should find a clear trail that winds its way towards the summit. Again, there might be a few short steep sections, but the overall travel is relatively easy and there is little exposure until just below the summit where things steepen slightly.
While the approach to the summit is relatively mild, the other three sides possess steep cliffs, be aware. Hidden in the summit cairn is the summit log. Enjoy the views!
Kroktinden offers numerous camping possibilities. The first would be at Sydalsskaret pass, near the power lines, though not overly scenic. The next spot would be around the small pond in the upper valley, though it can be a bit boggy here, there seemed to be a few good spots. The final place would be on the left ridge (when looking at the mountain), there are several flat places before the ridge begins to steepen up the mountain.
Photo: My suggested route after leaving the small pond, Kroktinden, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.
Photo: View from the summit of Kroktind (707m) towards Vesterålen, Lofoten Islands, Norway
Photo: Rugged mountain landscape of Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway
Photo: View towards Vågakallen in the distance, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway