These mountains are located in the northeast corner of the region that I refer to as south-western Stølsheimen. This region is defined by highway E16 (Bergen-Voss) in the south, Eksingadalen valley in the north, Teigdalen valley in the east, and Indre Osterfjorden in the west. The pass between Teigdalen and Eksingadalen is called Brekkhusfjellet, from the place Brekkhus, located in a side valley to Teigdalen. The road across the pass has the same name - Brekkhusfjellet.
The mountains Nonhaugen, Gråsida, Blåfjellet, Kvanngrønavene/Flatafjellet, Stordalsnjuken (not an independent mountain) and "Sørdalsberget" (point 1084m) form a string of tops from Teigdalen to Sørdalen. Few other places in Hordaland have such a density between the tops, when you look at tops exceeding 1000m elevation. If you were to compare with the well-known Raundalsegga, you would see point-to-point distances such as Horndalsnuten - Skipadalsnuten (2Km), Skipadalsnuten - Seldalsnuten (3Km) and Seldalsnuten - Olsskavlen (1,9Km). For Brekkhusfjellet, you have; Gråsida - Blåfjellet (1,3Km), Blåfjellet - Kvanngrønavene (2,2Km) and Nonhaugen - Byvasshovden (1,8Km), as examples.
None of the mountains have a profile that makes them easy to identify from long distance. Nor do they dominate the south-western part of Stølsheimen like Storfjelli and Blåvasshorgi do. Of the Brekkhusfjellet - Sørdalen mountains, Blåfjellet is perhaps the most distinct of the mountains. Blåfjellet rises and falls quickly, and is the only one of these mountains that does not have an obvious route up and down.
Thanks to the high pass between Teigdalen and Eksingadalen, you get a high trailhead and excellent skiing terrain directly from the car. The high pass is approx. 730m, which is higher than what you get in Bergsdalen or Kvamskogen. Put the skis on, ski up to Ørnahaugen, and the other five mountains appear in front of you. If you are a fit skier, you can easily collect all of these mountains in one trip.
Your ski-trip can also be extended to a even longer trip. You may either continue southwest from Byvasshovden towards Blåvasshorgi, and reach highway E16 at Bolstad, or across Kvanngrønavene towards Storfjelli or Saudalsnovi. From the trailhead at Vinningsleitet, it is also possible to head eastbound towards Kvitanosi (1433m), the highest mountain in the vast Stølsheimen mountain region.
I have no information about these mountains in summer, but I have reason to believe the terrain is rougher than in winter. This may be true for some of the saddles between the mountains, and possibly even more true for the slopes below Byvasshovden, towards Ormaset. You also need to verify that the road up Teiglandsdalen is open. Contact Statens Vegvesen Hordaland for detail information.
Blåfjellet (M711: 1098m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 211m towards the higher Storfjelli (1115m). The saddle is found in a pass E of Osskardet. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 900m contours on the high route, but not 880m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 890m.
Kvanngrønavene East (M711: highest contour is 1100m, Ø.K: -, GPS: 1100m) has a primary factor of 130m towards the higher Blåfjellet (1101m) The saddle is found in Bruskardet pass. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 980m contours on the high route, but not 960m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 970m.
Gråsida (M711: 1098m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 148m towards the higher Blåfjellet (1101m). The saddle is found in the valley between the two mountains. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 960m contours on the high route, but not 940m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 950m
Byvasshovden (M711: 1080m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 110m towards the higher Gråsida (1098m). The saddle is found W of Lake Ljosvatnet. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 980m contours on the high route, but not 960m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 970m.
Nonhaugen (M711: 1049m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 139m towards the higher Gråsida (1098m)/ Byvasshovden (1080m) The saddle is found N of Lake Ljosvatnet. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 920m contours on the high route, but not 900m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 910m.
Ørnahaugen (M711: -, Ø.K: -, GPS: 1035) has a primary factor of 65m towards the higher Nonhaugen (1049m) The saddle is found just south of Nonhaugen summit, in a small valley between the two tops. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 980m contours on the high route, but not 960m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 970m.
I had some varying GPS readouts on my March 2005 trip. These are described in the below table, with comments:
|Ørnahaugen||1035m||Nothing to compare with. Highest contour is 1020m|
|Pass tow. Nonhaugen||966m||Close enough to 970m (interpolated)|
|Nonhaugen||1049m||Same as map height|
|Pass tow. Gråsida||928m||Not matching contours. Reception?|
|Gråsida||1098m||Same as map height|
|Pass tow. Byvasshovden||957m||Not matching contours. Reception?|
Notes: Class ratings are in reference to YDS. Click here for more information.
The trails described below are not necessarily the *easiest* trails to this mountain.
Vinningsleitet - All summits round-trip (winter, on skis)
There are two alternatives from Bergen:
From Bergen, follow highway E16 towards Oslo. At the E16/RV7 junction at Trengereid, follow highway E16 for 46,3Km to Evanger. Turn left towards Eksingadalen. Follow the road up Teigdalen (follow signs to Eksingadalen) for 18,2Km. You are now at the pass between Teigdalen and Eksingadalen. Find parking in a turn-out at the top of the pass, or nearby. Note that even if the road up to the pass is open, the road quality is bad in places, and road is also narrow. Drive carefully!
b) Eksingadalen (description lacks details)
From Bergen, follow highway E16 towards Dale. 2,7Km after Dale, turn left towards Romarheim/Mo. After approx. 11,7Km, you reach another junction. Continue towards Romarheim (don't take the Gammersvik exit) I lack details from here on, but make sure you end up in Eksingadalen, opposed to taking the tunnel towards Mo. Continue towards Nesheim and drive southbound to the top of the Teigdalen/Eksingadalen pass. Find parking in a turn-out at the top of the pass, or nearby
The route described below is an all-tops ski-trip in spring. You have of course the option to go for a smaller selection of tops. Subtract time and distance accordingly.
Ski directly up to Ørnahaugen (westbound) from Vinningleitet in gentle slopes. You pass a signal transmitting station along the way. Follow a gentle slope (northwest) to the foothills of Nonhaugen. Proceed northeast to a point where you can ascend the ridge leading to Nonhaugen. Nonhaugen summit is marked by a single rock.
Descend (westbound) from Nonhaugen towards a small lake. Descend down to the lake's north side and begin ascending the ridge that leads to both Gråsida and Byvasshovden. When you reach the point where the ridge splits in two, turn right (west/southwest) and proceed up a long gentle hill to the top of Gråsida. A few rocks mark the summit.
Proceed westbound across Gråsida and begin your descent. At approx. 1050m elevation, you will be forced to bypass the main ridge on the south side. Descend to 1020m and proceed southbound (near Slottet) on the ridge until you reach the valley below. Head northeast up to the pass between Gråsida and Blåfjellet and determine where you are comfortable skiing up. You have to stay with your northeast course until you safely reach the summit ridge. Then turn southwest and proceed up to the summit cairn. If you think it is too steep to ascend Blåfjellet directly from the Gråsida - Blåfjellet pass, descend northeast to 980m elevation where the terrain is less steep. Blåfjellet is marked by a large cairn.
Follow the main ridge down Blåfjellet, but adjust your course more to the left (south) from point 1040m. Down in the Blåfjellet - Vetlafjellet pass (Bruskardet), turn right (northwest) and ski down a short bit into Bruskarddalen valley. Then head westbound up to the Kvanngrønavene summit plateau. It is not quite clear which of the two cairns marks the high point. Visit both to be sure.
Follow your tracks back to Bruskardet. Instead of going across Blåfjellet, descend southeast to 910m elevation, and ski along Blåfjellet's foothills back up to the Gråsida - Blåfjellet pass. To avoid having to ascend Gråfjellet again, continue through the pass and descend to 940m elevation. Follow Gråsida's north side along the 920-940m contours and gradually rise as you approach the Gråsida - Byvasshovden pass.
The initial section in the Gråsida - Byvasshovden pass may be steep, but it is very short. The rest of the ridge route is trivial. Byvasshovden has a summit cairn.
The safe route would be to ski back to the Gråsida - Nonhaugen saddle, and instead of skiing across Nonhaugen, follow the 940m contour below Nonhaugen and ascend up to the Nonhaugen - Ørnahaugen pass. Then descend your ascent route from Vinningsleitet.
Another alternative is to descend in the southeast direction towards a distinct pass between point 1014m and Solhorgi. I have not skied there myself, but don't expect any difficulties. Follow the pass down towards the Ormaset by the Teigdalen road. Leave the skis. You'll have 1Km on foot before you are back at Vinningsleitet. If it is difficult to descend into the pass mentioned above, refer to the March 2005 trip report below, describing yet another route down to Ormaset.
Trip report Apr 24 2005
Ever since I had the most fantastic ski-trip in these mountains back in March 2005, I had been wanting to continue westbound and collect Blåfjellet and Kvanngrønavene. The plan was to ascend from the north (Fosse) until Mr. Trygve Nilsen sent me an email shortly after my trip to Byvasshovden, Nonhaugen and Gråsida. Trygve knew this area inside and out and when he told me that there was no bridge at Fosse, it became clear that I would have to go up Sørdalen or from Vinningsleitet if I wanted to ski Kvanngrønavene.
I was wondering if I would be up for such a long ski-trip. Since I started skiing back in 2002, I haven't had that too many ski-trips. But I understood that it was breaking trail back in March that was the major difference. Late in April, no trail would have to be broken. It was just a matter of letting the skis "fly". And no skins. Just klister. I called my friend Sverre Langhelle, whom I had skied Saudalsnovi with in late March. Sverre was only happy to get yet another ski-trip. With his new Åsnes skis (same as mine), he had been roaming the Voss/Bergsdalen/Kvamskogen mountains, collecting fine peaks such as Fuglafjellet (1334m), Skrott (1320m), Geitafjellet (1255m) and Horndalsnuten (1461m). Not bad for a man turning into 67 soon.
We had agreed to meet at Vinningsleitet 10:00AM, and as I was a bit early, I stopped at "Utsikten" in Teigdalen. There I met Johannes Brekkhus, who was enjoying the views before heading up to Kvitanosi. I told him that I would be skiing with Sverre from Straume, and it turned out that they were old colleagues from BKK. We drove up to Vinningsleitet and waited for Sverre to arrive. After a nice chat, we went in separate directions.
I had brought my dachshund "Troll" along. My normal "fear" was that I expected to carry him for most of the way, but now there were two other factors; a) Troll would probably go through fire for Sverre (after getting to know him on the Saudalsnovi trip) and b) the snow depth wouldn't be too bad. I had great hopes that Troll would be able to walk some of the distance. As we headed up the steep hill towards Ørnahaugen, Troll was glued onto the back of Sverre's skis. And he would remain there for most of the ski-trip.
We had left Vinningsleitet 09:55AM and reached our first mountain for the day - Nonhaugen - at 10:50AM. Sverre had been camping in this area many years ago, but never been here on skis. It was just a great day in terms of weather and skiing conditions. Sverre wondered if it *could* get better. No wind at all. We continued towards Gråsida and ran into a small flock (3) of reindeer on the ridge towards Gråsida. They didn't seem to be too bothered with us, except for the fact that we were following them. After walking in front of us almost all the way up the ridge, they made a sudden turn and passed us with sufficient clearance. We reached the summit 11:35AM and had earned our first break.
Viewed from Gråsida, Blåfjellet seemed like an insignificant hump, almost like an extension of the Gråsida summit plateau. This worried me a bit, as I knew there was at least 100 vertical meters in-between. We did the natural thing - stay on the main ridge. This lead us into steep terrain, which was impossible to tell from the map. We ran into the "19m surprises" (based on a 20m contour map) but was able to find convenient solutions to the local obstacles. Down in the Gråsida - Blåfjellet pass, Blåfjellet looked very steep. We were able to ascend a bit before steep snow forced us to take a detour in order to reach the summit ridge. 12:40PM, we were standing on top of Blå,fjellet.
The descent from Blåfjellet involved further surprises, but we were soon down in Bruskardet. I didn't like the western contours on Vetlafjellet, so we descended into Bruskarddalen valley before we skied up the gentle slopes towards Kvanngrønavene. We reached the top 13:40PM, and Troll had been walking every uphill so far (I had put him in the backpack during the downhills) and seemed to be in greate shape and spirit when we had reached our 4th mountain for the day. After getting his 2nd lunch-box for the day, he stuck to Sverre in case there were additional goodies.
Never had skiing been more fun. The klister was doing the job uphill and let me "fly" downhill. Heading back the same route seemed such a waste. I was tempted to ask Sverre if he had friends in Flatekvål. Skiing across Stordalsnjuken and Sørdalsberget was very tempting. We could even ski across Storfjelli and descend into Hesjedalen, not far away from Straume. The mind wandered. The options were many, but I kept them to myself. At the end of the day, it was more convenient to return to the cars. We had talked about skiing around the mountains on our way back, avoiding ascent of all the mountains once more, and so we did.
We bypassed Blåfjellet on the south side and Gråsida on the north side and as we were standing below Nonhaugen, we ran into a skier. I hadn't expected to see anyone else in these mountains, but she told us she was out skiing with her husband. He wasn't to be seen for the moment, so we took a break and had a nice chat.
Her husband came skiing after a while. Troll, having declared this large mountain region as HIS territory, ran towards him, barking as dogs do. "You must be Troll", I heard the man say to the dog, and I was UTTERLY confused. He had noticed my confusing look, and shook my hand. "Trygve Nilsen" he said, and things became a whole lot clearer. It is a small world, indeed. While Sverre, Trygve and his wife chatted, I reflected on that if this had been Easter, with the same weather, it probably still would have only been us up here. And Kvamskogen would have been completely packed and everybody skiing up to Mødal. It didn't make any sense. Brekkhusfjellet is just 1,5 hours drive from Bergen, and while you don't get 360 deg. views in Kvamskogen before you reach the top of the high mountains (which few reach anyway), you have the 360 deg. panorama on every top up here. Although the Voss region has many fine mountains for skiing, I don't know of other trailheads at 700m elevation (accessible in spring) on the west side of Hardangerfjorden. It was strange to think about the fact the Vinningsleitet turn-out has room for 4-5 cars. At most. This is, de-facto, not a place where the crowds come to ski.
After saying goodbye to Trygve and his wife, we headed up to Ørnahaugen and skied down to the trailhead. To my big surprise, the passenger and the back-seat door on Sverre's car were open. What? Break-in and entering up here? I heard Sverre mention a quiet goodbye to his wallet he left in the back-seat. But the wallet was there, and so was everything else. Sverre gradually admitted that he must had forgot to close the doors before heading out. "That was 6,5 hours ago", I thought to myself. I would have liked to see this happen in Bergen! Sverre invited me to dinner, and I stopped by Straume for yet another nice meal before returning to Bergen in the late evening.
During the drive back to Bergen, I had good time to think back on the trip. It was a perfect day in the mountains. The weather, the company, the skiing, the works. Troll had walked 1100m upwards, mostly in soft snow. I looked at him laying on his back in the passenger seat. It didn't matter how sharp the road curves were. His eyes were completely shut. He had given everything that a 23cm high, 11,5 year old dachshund can give. I reflected on how fortunate I am, being able to just go for a trip like this. Sverre is 25 years older than me. He didn't show a single sign of being in any lesser condition. And then I thought on Johannes Brekkhus, heading towards Kvitanosi. He is 73 years old. When I reached Bergen, I had come to two conclusions; a) I ain't afraid of getting older, and b) I have earned beer.
Back to the trailhead
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Trip report Mar 12 2005
The weather forecast indicated that this Saturday would be a good day. With all the snow in the mountains, skiing was the only option, unless I aimed for some low and boring forest hill. It seemed evident that I had to bring the dog, should I get some sort of quality ski-trip. I had a careful wish about a trailhead higher than sea level, and started thinking about the options. I then realized that the Teigdalen/Eksingadalen pass was above 700m elevation, and that a number of mountains were accessible within a short distance. This was perfect. The only question was if the road was open. I almost took it for granted, but brought along maps for the Voss region, in case the road was closed.
The road was open. Before and after the Brekkhus exit, the road quality was quite poor. The car was firmly stuck in two icy tracks, as I drove upward at full speed in 2nd gear. The rear end of the car wiggled like a happy dog. The worst section didn't last long, but made me reflect on how happy I should be, not having to be dependent on this road every day.
The plan was to park at 640m and ski up past the Ormaset cabin. When I reached this point, I drove on. I was quite determined to stay away from any avalanche danger, and even if I saw no signs of avalanches in these slopes, I didn't feel good about it. When I reached the top of the pass, found a turn-out and noticed the gentle slope up towards Ørnahaugen, I yelled "we're in business" to the dog. The dog had been asleep ever since Bergen, and looked confused.
Troll went straight into the backpack and by 09:30AM, I was on my way up the mountain. The plan was to ski Nonhaugen, Gråsida, Byvasshovden and come back across Ørnafjellet. It would be some extra upward meters, but at least the route was risk-free. On top of Ørnafjellet (10:10AM), I got all three mountains in view. The terrain looked perfect for skiing. Long, gentle ridges and passes that looked quite trivial. I proceeded up to Nonfjellet and reached the top 10:35AM.
It was a bit cold and windy. The dog, which had been very quiet up to now, had begun to shiver. As there was some downhill ahead of us, I wanted to wait awhile before letting him move around. I expected the winds to be less cold further down. They were not, and the ascent towards Gråsida was equally cold. Finally, I let the dog out and let him walk to the top of Gråsida. The snow was not exactly heaven for a tiny dog, but through following my tracks, he seemed to manage. As we reached the top of Gråsida 11:30AM, the winds disappeared, and the day had now become simply fantastic. The sun was radiating and Troll returned to normal breathing rhythm.
With Troll once again in the backpack, I continued towards Byvasshovden. I reached the top 12:30PM, and was happy about the fact that 3 independent mountains exceeding 1000m elevation had been "collected" within 3 hours. If I hadn't been carrying the dog, I would probably have skied all the way to Kringdalsnipa and then back again. Carrying the dog (8-9Kg) dog feels just as heavy as a normal winter backpack (15-20Kg) With Troll, I'm unable to distribute any load, and after a few hours, my neck and shoulders are pretty exhausted from the continuous downward traction from the backpack. As such, I was quite happy about setting course back towards the car. The only question was - was I really tempted to ascend Nonhaugen and then Ørnahaugen one more time, only to get a gentle downhill slope to the car?
No, I wasn't. I decided to explore the slopes above Ormaset, but first I had to get down to the valley between Byvasshovden and Nonhaugen. The slopes just above the valley gave me grief. Carrying the dog, I was left with only one option for descent. There were a few minor challenges. It was obviously avalanche danger. In this short slope, it would probably be nothing more than some snowballs in motion, but the dog is only 23cm high. The powder snow was 40cm deep. I couldn't risk the dog falling out of the backpack. Carefully, I skied down to the valley. That wasn't too difficult, but what's ahead?
I skied until I had the valley towards the road in view ahead of me. I saw no immediate options for further descent, and I didn't like it one bit. I could always ski directly up to Ørnahaugen from here, but that didn't seem overwhelmingly tempting either. To my right was the start of a chute which developed to be a steep gully further down. If I could get into that chute, I could possibly traverse the mountain side until I got to the ridge on the far side of the gully. If I started an avalanche during the traverse, I would be in serious trouble. But I decided to proceed. In order to get down to the chute, I had to leave the skis, the backpack and the dog while kicking in steps down to the chute.
While digging the steps, it struck me that in this situation, there are three types of skiers. 1) Those who never would consider being here, 2) Those who would have screamed "Yahoo" and jumped out (I have friends like that) and 3) those like me - curious, nervous and careful. I tossed down the poles, put the backpack on, and used the skis as poles. I released a heap of snow which completely buried the poles, but the descent was quite unproblematic. I would have even skied down here, if I hadn't been carrying the dog. The traverse also went fine, and the rest of the route down to the road was easy. It felt wrong to leave this beautiful mountain behind, in such fabulous weather. Back on the road, I left the skis behind, and we walked the remaining kilometer up to the car. By 13:50PM, the trip was over.
Driving down Teigdalen was easier than going up, thanks to the snowmelt. But still I ended up sideways on the road above the Brekkhus exit. As I the slide ceased, the car "jumped" back into position in the deep tracks. I uttered a quiet "hello?" and decided to focus on the road rather than thinking about the trip. Back in Bergen, we headed up to Mt. Ulriken (605m) so Troll could shake off 4,5 hours in the backpack and 4 hours in the car. He seemed happy about it.
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Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format.
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