Flakavassnutane (1750m) is the third highest independent mountain in Hordaland, after Hardangerjøkulen glacier (1863m) and Vargebreen (1766m), and is located 5,5Km northeast of the Finse railway station. The mountain is very accessible, in terms of travel, terrain and distance. Flakavassnutane is a large mountain, consisting of several tops, and with Flakavassfonn north of the mountain ("fonn" is Norwegian for a glacier or permanent snow) Lake Flakavatnet separates Flakavassnutane from the Hallingskarvet massif further east.
This web-page also describes two other Hordaland tops that can be included on a round-trip; Kyrkjedørsnuten and 1816 W on Hallingskarvet:
Kyrkjedørnsnuten (1790m) is a very characteristic peak, seen from different angles. The name (Church Door Peak, in direct translation) is related to Kyrkjedøri, a distinct pass that provides access to the Hallingskarvet massif from the north (Raggsteindalen/Geiteryggen) The peak will, in good snow conditions, not cause any difficulties for ascent in winter (icy conditions may call for ice-axe/crampons for a short pitch). I have no information about the summer route, but from what I understand, not difficult. Kyrkjedørsnuten is also an excellent viewpoint, located on the Ulvik (Hordaland) / Hol (Buskerud) fylke (county) border.
1816 W on Hallingskarvet is an unnamed point, on several web-lists listed as the highest rock point in Ulvik Herad/Kommune. There is of course room for debate here, as there are higher naked points on the Hardangerjøkulen glacier. These naked points do not necessarily show on your Hardangerjøkulen map. On this web-page, from Statens Kartverk, this point is listed as Kyrkjedørsnuten, 1815m elev. This is, from my point of view, highly misleading. The Hallingskarvet massif consist of a series of independent peaks and smaller humps. Point 1816m (also known as point 1815m on older maps) is a small, fairly insignficant hump (except from the views), which should *not* be confused with the very distinct Kyrkjedørsnuten peak, located 1,35Km further north/northeast. In any circumstance, this point is Hordaland's 2nd highest point (not 2nd highest independent mountain), after Hardangerjøkulen.
Flakavassnutane (M711: 1750m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 255m towards the higher Hallingskarvet massif. The saddle is found at the southwest end of lake Flakavatnet. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 1500m contours on the high route, but not 1480m. Instead of interpolating to 1490m, I have interpolated to 1495m, to mark an elevation change down to lake 1489m, just east of the saddle. There is a small lake between the saddle and lake 1489m, but the drain is not shown.
Initially, I was looking at a different saddle; lake 1495m south of lake Flakavatnet. Without checking closely, it seemed that lake 1495m drained both north and south, thus defining the saddle. One can however see the adjacent 1500m contours just north of the lake, which means that the saddle would be higher than 1500m. In that case, the saddle described earlier, is lower, and would be the defining saddle. It is most unlikely that the >1500m ridge just north of lake 1495m is the source for the north and south drains, and as such, the drain is most likely a map error. Thanks to Torbjørn for pointing this out to me.
The high route towards the higher Vargebreen (Såtedalen) is lower than the high route towards Hallingskarvet, and thus, can not define Flakavassnutane's primary factor.
Kyrkjedørsnuten (M711: 1790m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 60m towards point 1816 on Hallingskarvet. The saddle is at the foothills of Kyrkjedørsnuten. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 1740m contours on the high route, but not 1720m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 1730m.
1816 W on Hallingskarvet (M711: 1816m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 86m towards the higher point 1827m on Hallingskarvet. The saddle is found W of point 1827m. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 1740m contours on the high route, but not 1720m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 1730m.
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.
Finse - All summits (winter)
The best starting point is Finse, 1222m elevation. The train between Oslo and Bergen passes through Finse. From Bergen, the morning train to Oslo departs 07:58AM and is at Finse approx. 10:15PM. On week-days, you may return from Finse 15:29PM or 20:21PM. Check nsb.no for up-to-date train schedules. Per Feb 2005, the full-fare, two-way ticket amounted to NOK 566,-
Check the "resources" links above for information about accomodation on Finse.
To Kyrkjedørsnuten/Point 1816m
From Finse railway station, cross over the railway tracks (note that the nearest allowed place to cross is 150m further west of the railway station) and follow a marked route (wooden sticks, Kvisteløype in Norwegian) eastbound.
The route passes Jomfrunuten to the east, and continues up a long hill, known as Oksygenbakken (Oxygen hill) Proceed along the marked trail in gentle terrain until you reach lake Sandalsvatnet (1489m), approx. 5Km from the Finse railway station. Leave the marked route, and proceed east-southeast towards the west side of the Hallingskarvet massif. Pass south of points 1531m and 1546m. Proceed up a short hill just south of point 1575m and ascend the Hallingskarvet massif through a distinct, long hill. Proceed northeast towards Kyrkjedørsnuten. Access this peak on the west side. You will not see the best access point standing in front of the peak, so move around on the west side. You will need to kick a few steps before you get on top of the peak. There is no danger of falling of the mountain here, In icy conditions, ice-axe/crampons may be necessary.
From Kyrkjedørsnuten, head south towards point 1816m. In fog, navigation can be more difficult, as there are neighbouring tops which may appear equally high. In good weather, you will spot this top on sight.
From 1816m, head northwest back to the long hill you ascended. Ski back down to lake Sandalsvatnet on the same route. At the east end of the lake, set a northwest course to the top. Don't go too far west on the mountain, as there is a small valley between the high point (1750m) and point 1659m where you will lose gained vertical meters. Some may however choose loss of vertical gain over a detour.
Return to Finse + variations
Ski down to lake Sandalsvatnet and return your ascent route to Finse. The below trip report will describe a more direct approach to Kyrkjedørsnuten. In addition, upon descending Flakavassnutane, an alternative may be to descend north of Flakavassnutane, in the direction of Sankt Pål (1695m) Continue towards the Klemsbu hut, located approx. 800m south of the Sankt Pål high point. From Klemsbu, either follow the marked trail southeast towards lake Sandalsvatnet, or head south-southwest down the distinct valley between Sandalsnuten and Store Finsenuten.
Expect approx. 7 hours on the round-trip. This time includes shorter breaks for technical adjustments, pictures and food. The many small humps in this terrain makes map navigation harder, as not all are outlined on the map. You may run into rough weather, and a GPS that, at least, tracks your route, is your friend.
Although there may be many skiers along the marked trails on sunny winter days, the round-trip described on this page is more suited for experienced and fit skiers. The total vertical ascent is over 1000m, which in itself require some efforts.
Trip report Feb 23 2005
My friend Torbjørn Frøystein and I had planned this trip for months. It is not always easy synchronizing two busy calendars with an excellent winter day. But the plan finally came together, and this Wednesday morning, we left for Finse on the 07:58AM train to Oslo. We arrived Finse 10:15AM. The temperature was -15 deg. C. After putting away items in a locker, and putting vax on the skis, we were on our way 10:30AM.
We followed the marked trail to the top of Oksygenbakken hill, where we left the trail, and took a direct northeast course for Kyrkjedørsnuten. The snow conditions were not quite optimal - hard snow with icy crust or "beds" of cornices (Sastrugi) The vax quickly vanished after meeting the icy crust. When we reached the foothills of the Hallingskarvet massif, we put skins on. It was steep enough to "justify" this action.
Our course took us to the southwest corner of the massif. A steep, but trivial slope lay ahead of us, and we chose to ascend here. Although the massif is steep most of the way, there are a several good routes to choose from. We headed up to point 1816m, and I checked the GPS, which said 1817m. As I was holding it in my hand, standing upright, I subtracted 1m and concluded it was a fairly accurate reading. The time was now 13:15PM. We had been keeping a very moderate pace up the mountain. Several stops for technical adjustments and pictures. In addition, I was not in my regular shape. A sharp headache due to a fall on Mt. Ulriken the evening before, resulted in a slower pace than normal.
In periods, it was freezing cold on the mountain. Winds came and went, and with a temperature in the range -15 up to perhaps -20, the chill factor was significant when the winds came along. I took advantage of the situation, and tested different clothing alternatives. We then headed northbound to Kyrkjedørsnuten. We sought west of the summit and found an excellent route to the top. Torbjørn was leading upwards and kicked in the necessary steps and dug the necessary handholds. We did agree that with hard snow, this route would be far less trivial. We reached the top 13:45PM, and my GPS showed 1790m elevation. We climbed back down and had a short break for food below the summit.
The original, perhaps ambitious plan was to continue towards Flakavassnutane, then over Sankt Pål, up Såtehjellane and Store Finsenuten. Torbjørn's primary goal was now "in the bag", and Flakavassnutane, which was my goal, was just a short ski-trip away. I had mixed feelings about the rest of the route, as I now felt a bit nausea on top of the headache. I think I already knew that Flakavassnutane would be the last mountain, as we headed down from Kyrkjedørsnuten.
We found a good route down the west side of the massif, a bit further north of the place we ascended. As mentioned before, a lot of small cornices made skiing less trivial, and we both had our "close encounters" with the snow. Torbjørn showed Telemark potential, and left some nice, S-formed tracks in the slopes. At the bottom of the hill, the skis went way too fast for me, on the icy snow. But we made it down to lake Sandalsvatnet fairly safe and sound, and began the ascent towards Flakavassnutane. It was a long hill, and it helped to close the eyes and just put one ski in front of the other. My reflections were about positive things, such as how fortunate we were to be able to have the opportunity, time and means to go on a day-trip such as this. And on top of all, be blessed with such excellent (yet cold) weather.
We reached the top of Flakavassnutane 16:15PM. I did not spend much time paying attention to the GPS, but recorded a range between 1749m and 1754m over a couple of minutes. The horizon had up to now been quite hazy, but was clearing up. We had some good views before we descended 5 minutes later. This was Torbjørn's second visit to Flakavassnutane, but I expect he enjoyed the scenery as much as on his first visit.
We agreed to head back down to Finse. In addition to not being in particular good shape (for the last hour, I had only been using one arm), it was getting late. I had no particular desire to go for additional mountains in even lower temperatures. I knew that Torbjørn wouldn't mind a visit to Såtehjellane, but didn't argue when I called for a return route. We were back at the railway station 17:35PM. The temperature was still -15 deg. C. Despite the lengthy ski-trip, our clothes were dry, and we only changed into clean sweaters. We enjoyed a very nice soup at the hotel, while waiting for the train. The train was close to an hour late when we arrived Bergen. I parked the car in front of the house 23:55PM. Just in time to put this trip into the "daytrip" category.
Pictures from the Feb 23 2005 ski-trip
Move cursor to read notes, and click on the images to see full version.
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