Beitelen seen from the north
Beitelen is an interesting hill located near Dale, halfway between Voss and Bergen. You drive through this mountain (Beital tunnel) just before you arrive Dale, coming from Bergen. Although the hill looks pretty intimidating from all angles, it is quite possible to ascend the hill without hiking in exposed terrain. Unfortunately, I don't know the public route to Beitelen, but the one described in this document is a safe route, with a trail most of the way.
The hill is "squeezed in" between Store Dustingen and Norafjella and the views are rather limited. On the other hand, standing on the summit with a near 400m drop down to the road is worth the strenuous forest climb.
Beitelen has a primary factor of 194m towards the higher Norafjella. The saddle is just north of Beitelen. The last adjacent 5m contours (Norgesglasset) are 225m. The saddle height is interpolated to 223m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Note: The trail described below is not necessarily the easiest trail to this mountain.
Dale - Beitelen (summer/autumn)
From the exit towards Dale centre, follow highway E16 towards Voss approx. 250m and locate a small unmarked parking on the left hand side of the road. Park here.
The visible forest trail begins by the parking and climbs in the direction of Beitelen (SW) before it makes a sharp NW turn at 100m elevation. The trail climbs to 170m before it turns W into the forest. Note that the part up to 170m is extremely slippery when wet, due to the many rocks on the trail.
Climb the forest trail up to approx. 230m where you see a sign pointing towards "Norafjell". This is the trail to Krokavatnet. Take the trail to the left and 100m further ahead you reach a cabin. A sign on the cabin ("løe" in Norwegian) says that significant work was done to the cabin from Apr 98 to Jun 99. This work was done by students at Dale Ungdomsskule (school) in co-operation with land owner Ola Dale and Vaksdal Kommune.
Follow the path that runs left of the cabin. This path takes you down to lake Nordravatnet (180m). The trail down to the lake is a bit dangerous when wet. Show caution. A path runs along the lakeside. Follow it towards the southern end. When you arrive the promontory (nes), leave the path and head SE up the forest. There are holes below the moss in the forest, so show caution here. Aim for a crossing ridge in the horizon. When you arrive this ridge, then continue SE below the cliffs. When you have clear forest above, then adjust course to east and climb straight up the forest. Some switchbacking is required. You can walk upright for most of the route but handholds may be useful to overcome some long steps. There is no exposure even though the forest side is quite steep.
You hit the summit ridge at 360m and you will join a visible path coming from the north. This is possibly the public trail. You may follow this path on your return if you are curious. This path will take you to the south end of the summit ridge. A small cairn marks the high point at 417m. Take a few steps below the summit and see the spectacular drop down to the highway.
The King of ascents in western Hordaland - David Pugh - asked me if I had done Beitelen. I've driven under it numerous times, but never really realized there was a ranked mountain above me. I had to check my list of ranked Hordaland mountains, and it was there. I just had forgotten about it. David told me this was a pretty steep hill and this of course made me curious.
When I left Bergen this Saturday morning it was raining and the fog was overwhelming. I was not heading to anywhere in particular. I had maps all over the back-seat and decided to go hiking wherever weather permitted. But when I reached Dale, I decided to visit this "mean" hill. I had absolutely no idea about how the mountain looked like or where I should go. It stopped raining as we left the car, and I was hoping some of the fog would lift along the way.
I decided to follow the Krokavatnet trail and climb down the ridge leading towards the Norafjella-Beitelen saddle. At the "Dalane" sign I left the Krokavatnet trail and soon got Beitelen in view. My elevation was 330m and the route down to the saddle seemed horrendous. Beitelen's north side looked downright evil, and I decided that I had to try this mountain from the west. This meant I had to descend all the way to lake Nordravatnet. The ridge I was on ended in one cliffband after the other. The routine was to backtrack and descend to the right. Eventually I decided to fight my way down the forest and ended up by the cabin near the Krokavatnet trail. A very cumbersome detour, but at least I had seen the mountain.
Troll gave up walking already down by the car and enjoyed the views from the backpack. I'm so used to carrying him that I sometimes forget he's there. It comes back to me when I make an awkward move and notice a dog shooting out of the backpack. Poor little one. The trail down to the lake was slippery. I reckoned that if I fell I could actually fall straight into the lake. When I hiked along the lake, the mountain got completely fogged in.
I hiked until I reached the cliffs. Then I continued below the cliffs until I had forest above. Views were extremely limited. I had no idea what I was hiking into. But I had hit a friendly piece of forest that allowed me to keep a straight course up the mountain. I used rotten timber to mark the route, as I know from experience that things look different from above. Particularly in dense fog. In order to maintain a direct route, some scrambling and handholds was called for. But eventually I joined the high ridge and found a path that was heading towards the summit.
We arrived the summit cairn 13:50PM. We started 12:00PM, but wasted a lot of time going the high way in the beginning. Clouds of mosquitos were hovering above the summit cairn. Quite strange, this late in October, I was thinking to myself. I went down to the steep drop towards Dale and concluded that no one comes up this way. I wondered if I should explore the path coming from the north, but decided to let it go. The terrain was slippery and my balance (with the dog on my back) was not extremely good. I decided to follow the safe route back down. It was an interesting and recommended hike.
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