Besshø/Besshøe/Besshøi is located above lake Gjende on the east side in the Jotunheimen mountain range. Below Besshøe you find the famous Besseggen trail, perhaps the most popular trail in Norway. Besshøe belongs to the Norwegian "2000m club" of mountains, and is a popular mountain. Access is fairly easy through a long hike without any difficulties from highway 51 ("Valdresflya").
Besshøe's primary factor towards the higher Surtningssui is estimated to 848m. The saddle is found on Besshøe's southwest ridge, and the lowest adjacent contours are 1420m. The saddle height is interpolated to 1410m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Bessheim - Besshøe (summer/autumn)
Locate Bessheim Fjellstue on highway 51 between Fagernes and Vågå, a few kilometers north of Gjendesheim. Park here.
The route is fairly easy. Follow a marked "T" trail from Bessheim to the east end of lake Bessvatnet. Two trails run northbound, merging to one east of Bessheim-rundhøe. This is the trail to Glitterheim, and you should not follow these trails.
Head towards a cabin at the east end of lake Bessvatnet. Follow the lake shoreline towards Besshøe's northeast ridge. Start the climb near river Grotåe and follow the ridge up to the summit. Stay left of the snowfields. You will see the route clearly as you ascend the ridge.
I am writing this trip report 8,5 years after the hike. Normally, I wouldn't have remembered much from a hike that long ago, but this was a special hike to me. I was living a leisure life on Beitostølen, visiting good friends. I got a sudden urge to climb a mountain. I don't know where the feeling came from. It was far from a natural thing for me to do, back then. I decided to climb Besshøe, my first 2000m mountain in Norway. Knowing less than little about hiking in the mountains, I decided to bring my small dachshund along, Troll, 20 months old. I don't remember my footwear or the clothing. I guess the footwear was in order, and it was a sunny day, so shorts and a sweater would do fine.
I started to drive a car at age 32, so this summer drive was one of my first drives with my brand new car. I began the mountain quest by driving from Beitostølen to the Bessheim trailhead. I had no map, but figured there would be trails. The hike from Bessheim started out just fine, and we followed a trail to a cabin by lake Bessvatnet. I had caught up with a couple, and we chatted as we walked more or less off-trail along Bessvatnet. Then suddenly, the dog took off. No commands would stop him. Finally, he was out of sight. I left the couple and started to run in the direction he took off. Then I noticed some birds take off, far away, but in his direction. When I finally caught up with him, he had this mixture of shame and confusion. I told him a lesson that he has kept in mind all these years: "First of all, you're not a bird dog, and second, NEVER RUN AWAY!"
Then we started on the obvious ridge towards Besshøe summit. My shape would get me through a good game of soccer, but on this ridge I was actually crying. I was so damned exhausted when we got to the summit. I had never been so tired in all my life. But then a vista beyond my wildest dreams opened up in front of me, and the fatigue took off like a leaf in the wind.
I had scaled this mountain. It had taken 3 hours and all my strengths, but now we were here. It was all that mattered. I congratulated the dog with the success. As I was doing a round of pictures, two Americans suddenly popped up from the south. "Where the hell did you come from?", was their first comment. I pointed out my ascent route, and their second comment was "Oh shit!". They had scrambled the south ridge from Besseggen, and from what I could understand, not without certain problems.
I left the Americans on the summit and started to descend. After a few minutes, the dog laid down, licking his paws. After a closer look, I discovered he was bleeding from all four paws. OK, I said. Lesson learned, and carried the dog all the way down to lake Bessvatnet. I was aiming to carry him all the way back to the trailhead, but when we reached the moss down by the lake, the dog jumped out of my arms. Happy as a 20 months dog can get, he was running in circles in the moss. "So you weren't dying on me, after all...".
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