Skarstind (official form on maps: Skardstinden) is a prominent part of the Galdhøpiggen mountain range in northwestern Jotunheimen, Norway, and is the sixth highest summit in the country. The mountain has three summits, the main summit at 2,373 meters above sea level, Nåle, the Needle, at 2,310 m and the small western summit at 2,215 m. It is located within the municipality of Lom, (in Innlandet) on the eastern side of the Leirdalen valley, and the summit can be seen from the road along the valley floor. There are several other peaks in the vicinity, but only Galdhøpiggen, a few kilometers to the east, is higher. The mountain can be seen from most of the higher peaks in Jotunheimen and Breheimen to the northwest.
The first part of the name Skarstind is one of the Norwegian words for mountain pass, although it is impossible to say which pass has given its name to the mountain. It might be the pass to the south or it might be the pass between the summit itself and the pinnacle, Nåle. Nåle, the Needle, has got its name from the local word for pinnacle, which describes the shape of it.
The summit was reached for the first time in 1884 by Severin Wleugel, Sig. Thor, Oskar Kristiansen. The first ascent of the two lower summits remains unknown, but it is probable that they were climbed at the same time.
The views, except towards the east, where Galdhøpiggen blocks the view, are among the best in Jotunheimen. To the west, you see the Smørstabbtindene range, the Hurrungane range and the Jostedalsbreen glacier. To the northwest you see the Hestbrepiggane range and to the south you see most of the summits in central Jotunheimen.
The shape of the mountain is extremely characteristic. Only from northwest does it look like a ‘tind’ a high pointy summit in Norwegian. From the east, from Galdhøpiggen, it shows its steep wall with Nåle balancing on the left flank, as seen in the table. This wall is one of the more inaccessible in Jotunheimen and is climbed rarely. The southwest face is less forbidding, and it is possible to find a way up through the partly snow-covered talus slopes. The mountain, as its neighbors, consists of the hard gabbro rock, which withstands erosion better than most other rocks. The orientation of the layers of gabbro in Skarstind is uncommon. Normally they rise from northwest towards southeast, which is why many summits are easiest to reach from the north side. At Skarstind the layers rise from southwest towards northeast. This is easily seen on the photo in the table.
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