Ok, so I lied a little. Kjølen is not actually the top of Kvaløya. The summit is 790 m (2592 ft), which is higher than any other on the northern section of Kvaløya, but there are many peaks on Kvaløya in the South, or on the far side of Kaldfjord that are 800 m or higher. Kjølen is easy to see from Tromsøya and is the top of my big back yard!
Jesse and I set out to find the top of this mountain after work today. We cheated a little and started from the parking lot near the tunnel to Skulsfjord (69.759120, 18.856337). The trail headed West and skirted around a small valley over near the top of Jamnfjellet. From there we walked through some fields where we spotted a few reindeer, around a small lake and headed up the ridge. For a long time on the ridge you cannot see the top and we kept thinking we were getting very close, but the mountain just rolled over very slowly. It seemed like we would be at the top of this mountain any minute. But when we could finally see the radio station at the top, much to our surprise ,it was still quite far away. The ridge wasn’t steep and the hiking was very easy going, it’s a very different feeling though to not know how far you still have to go. Once we finally reached the top we stopped and had a snack while looking down to Tromsø.
From the other side of the mountain you could see the open ocean and a large cruise ship as it wound it way through the fjords. On the way down we took a slightly different route. Most people were hiking on the ridge, but there was another marked route that went further to the southeast and came down in a shallow valley. Towards the bottom of this route we missed the turn to head back towards Jamnfjellet and went over a hill above the Finnvikvatnet lake instead, which was a good decision because if we went any lower along this “snow route” we would have ended up in the middle of the lake. While the hike felt pretty easy it was actually 9 km round trip. Next time I think we’ll have to start from our house 😉