Norwegian Mountains

Blægja, 1304m (Blegja, Bleia)

Mountain area : Askvollhalvøya
Fylke/Kommune : Sogn og Fjordane/{Askvoll,Gaular}
Maps : 1217-IV Bygstad (Statens Kartverk, Norge 1:50 000)
Primary factor : 961m
Closest towns : Førde
Hiked : May 2004
See also : Kvamshesten
See also : Petter's Blægja page
Blaegja seen from Kvamshesten

Blægja seen from Kvamshesten

(No Javascript)


Blægja is located on Askvollhalvøya, a peninsula west of Førde, Sogn og Fjordane Fylke. The Askvoll and Gaular kommune border runs across the summit. The Aksvoll/Gaular/ Førde kommune tri-border is found only 2,2Km east of the summit - on Hellefjellet. Do not confuse this mountain with the two higher Blægja/Bleia's in Lærdal kommune.

I am not sure where the word Blægja (the mountain is also known as "Blegja") originates from. One meaning in (Old) Norse is linen cloth. Given the long-stretching ridge, covered with snow, a white linen cloth is perhaps not a bad association. I will emphasise that this is only a careful guess from my side.

On the internet, you may see various heights given for Blægja. 1304m is the height given on the M711 map from Statens Kartverk and will be the official height on this page. Some "High point kommune lists" state that Blægja is also the high point in Fjaler and Gaular kommuner. This is not true. Fjaler kommune has nothing do to with Blægja, and there are higher mountains in Gaular (and Førde) kommune.

However, Blægja is the highest mountain in the region north of Sognefjorden, south of Førdefjorden and west of highway E39. Blægja actually dominates a substantial larger area than this, but it will be more complex to define the region boundaries. All this come together with Blægja being a significant mountain for a large region.

In addition to being a beautiful mountain, this may also explain why the mountain is so popular, perhaps foremost for skiing. You can ascend this mountain on a number of routes - some dependent of the season. This document will describe the route from Bygstad, which passes the mighty Kvamshesten. Indre Sunnfjord Turlag arranges hikes and ski-trips to Blægja. A good alternative if you don't feel like taking on this big mountain all by yourself. The ridge to Blægja is long - 7Km from the rise from lake 709m in the east to the summit. The route runs across Hellefjellet (1231m) before you start the final ascent to Blægja. The drop between Hellefjellet and Blægja is however not enough to classify Hellefjellet as an independent mountain.

The route from Bygstad to Blægja offers no difficulties, except (on occasions) a narrow spot just before the summit. In normal skiing conditions, this spot offers no difficulties. If the snow is very hard, then the safest thing would be to have a pair of crampons for this very short distance. This short distance is marked by poles and you are advised to follow this route. You have a steep fall on one side, and large cornices (in winter/spring of course) on the other. Neither should be investigated further.

Primary factor:

Blægja's primary factor towards a higher mountain (undefined) is 961m. Petter Bjørstad's web page states:

"Saddle: Along the Hwy. E-39 connecting Vadheim and Førde. The lake Langelandsvatnet (333m) drains south, lake Bekkevatnet (284 m) drains north. The saddle is between these two lakes, the 345 contour passes through, while the 340 does not. We assign 343 meter to the saddle. The saddle is between contours 340-345. Saddle location: N61:25:30, E05:48:30 (UTM: 32 329735 +6814294)

Trail descriptions:

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.

Bygstad - Blægja (spring)

Difficulty : Class 1
Exposure : One slightly airy point near Blægja
Comments : Long hike
Distance : Approx. 14Km to summit
Time : Approx. 4-5 hours to the top
Starting Elev.: Approx. 120m
Vertical Gain : Approx. 1400m (both ways)

Map of the area
Map of the area
(No Javascript)
Detailed map
Detailed map
(No Javascript)


From Bergen, follow highway E39 northbound. Take the Oppedal - Lavik ferry across Sognefjorden. Follow highway E39 through Vadheim. At Sande, follow highway 610 towards Dale. By Osfossen, turn right onto highway 57 (Bygstad). Follow this road for approx. 2,5Km to the road junction in Bygstad. Go left in the junction and follow the road towards Laukeland for approx. 1,9Km. Turn right onto a smaller road and drive approx. 200m. Exit left onto a road going up to the left (this is the first road to the left). Follow this forest road for approx. 1,2Km. You will be passing two gates. Make sure you close them. Just after you cross Kvamselva river through a gate, the road end is just around the bend. The road extends further, but may be closed. Even if you may drive further, park here. Parking is difficult higher up. You may see a grassy old forest road up to the left. Park here, if the space available. It is important that you do not block for tractors carrying timber.

The route

The forest road and trail up to Kvamsstølen cabins (480m elev.) is easy to follow, provided the forest trail is not covered by snow. The forest road runs from the parking, runs eastbound up to 160m elev. before it switchbacks up the forest. The route turns eventually northbound and you join the Kvamselva river at approx. 270m elev. The forest trail begins here, and follows more or less the river up to Kvamsstølen cabins.

From Kvamsstølen, a slightly visible path runs northbound towards Kvamsskardet pass. You have to cross a stream just after the cabins, but you stay on the right hand side of the river all the way up to the pass.

From Kvamsskardet pass, the terrain gets complex and the amount of snow will determine where you may go. The normal skiing route runs westbound with lakes on your left and cliffs up to your right. Once you have passed lake Seltuftevatnet (689m), find the best northwest course towards Hellefjellet.

Once you are on the long ridge covering Hellefjellet and Blægja, the direction is quite obvious - westbound on the high ridge. One narrow spot near Blægja is problematic if lots of snow has been built up and the snow is hard or icy. In these conditions, crampons and possibly an ice axe are required in order to pass. Fog also puts an element of danger to this route. You must be careful with the northern cornices. The pictures on this page will explain why. Although the narrow passage mentioned above is marked by some sticks, the winter route in general does not seem to be marked. In any circumstance, this trip should be saved for a sunny day, as the views are quite extensive and spectacular.

Trip Report May 1 2004

Instead of joining the crowds this Labour's Day 2004, my friend Petter suggested we should form our private skiing parade on Blægja. Ever since we did Kvamshesten back in Oct. 2003, we agreed that we should come back in winter to do Blægja. As we were running out of winter, there was a certain hurry. My shape and condition was not the best. A nasty cold didn't seem to let go. But when the weather forecast promised sunshine and clear blue sky, it didn't matter if the leg was broken. I was going to Blægja!

We agreed that we should take a different route than the one we took for Kvamshesten. We started out from Bygstad 11:40AM and followed a very convenient forest road (later a forest trail) towards Kvamsstølen cabins. The weather couldn't be better. We admired the mighty south face of Kvamshesten and pondered on when we would be able to put the skis on. We reached Kvamsstølen within the hour, and as we left, we saw three people heading towards Kvamsskaret. We caught up with two of them. They were heading for Kvamshesten, but mentioned that Indre Sunnfjord Turlag was on the way to Blægja. Good! More people had the wisdom to spend the day in the mountains.

Instead of following the ski-tracks, Petter suggested continuing upwards on the Litlehesten ridge. This route took us to a great viewpoint above lake 709m. Below was a tremendous drop, and we had to ski down and cross the north drain before we were on the way up the mountain. After a while we saw the third person coming up on our left, clearly on the main route. We met just below Hellefjellet and chatted some. The weather wasn't all sunny any more. A layer of clouds were blocking the sun, but it was a still a nice day. The ridge was more dramatic and impressive the higher we got, and on top of Hellefjellet we got a good look towards the impressive cornices below Blægja.

We were curious about a narrow spot we had read about. This point was just below Blægja summit and we met Indre Sunnfjord Turlag returning exactly on this point! It offered no problems to step aside while they were passing, but I can imagine this spot being problematic in mid-winter and with an icy crust. We reached Blægja summit 14:45PM, approx. 4 hours after we started. On top, the jacket had to come on. We chatted with Kjartan - the skier that we met on the way upwards and took a well earned 15 minute rest before we headed down.

The uphills weren't over. Still, we would have to get back on Hellefjellet, but from then on, it was only enjoyable downhill skiing. It didn't take us long before we were back in Kvamsskardet - this time on the main route. The skiing group from Indre Sunnfjord Turlag were resting in Kvamsskardet. We put the skis on the backpack and continued down immediately. The weather was back to splendid, and the hike down the valley was great. We were back at the car 18:10PM, which indicated the hike/ski-trip had taken 6,5 hours altogether. We were back in Bergen 20:30PM, and given the early start (07:30AM), it had been indeed been a long, but enjoyable day.

Pictures from the May 01 2004 hike:

Move cursor to read notes, and click on the images to see full version.
Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format.
Pictures are presented in the order they were taken.

1. Kvamshesten - a mighty mountain (122KB) 2. Litlehesten seen from the valley (297KB) 3. South view down the valley (222KB) 4. An eye-catching appearance (110KB) 5. Approaching Kvamsstolen (260KB) 6. Kvamshesten changes all around (158KB) 7. Kvamshesten - this time with snow (202KB) 8. Start of the ridge to Blaegja (318KB) 9. Stream crossing (140KB) 10. A good day in the mountains (141KB) 11. Kvamshesten seen on the way to Blaegja (285KB) 12. Blaegja appears in the zoom lens (208KB) 13. Passing Indre Sunnfjord Turlag (200KB) 14. The Blaegja - Hellefjellet ridge (285KB) 15. North view from Blaegja (388KB) 16. South view from Blaegja (458KB) 17. On Blaegja summit (203KB) 18. On Blaegja summit (123KB) 19. Arnt on Blaegja summit (108KB) 20. Close-up of Kvamshesten from Blaegja (147KB) 21. Arnt descending Blaegja (162KB) 22. Cornice near the narrow spot (246KB) 23. Cornice near the narrow spot (217KB) 24. On the way to Hellefjellet (226KB) 25. Arnt out of snow (121KB) 26. Approaching Kvamsskardet (179KB)

No Javascript:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Pictures from other hikes:

1. Blaegja and Kvamshesten seen from Skarpefjellsnakken (237KB) 2. Blægja and Kvamshesten 3. Kvamshesten and Blægja 4. Kvamshesten and Blægja

No Javascript:

1 2 3 4

Hordaland index Other Norwegian Mountains