Flatafjellet seen from north
Despite the "boring" name Flatafjellet (Flat mountain), this is absolutely a mountain worth visiting. It is flat. This is true. But the views are excellent. Take the excellent trail from the Dalevåg tunnel or the intimidating route up Nonagjelet and enjoy lunch at the look-out at 782m. At the present, there is plenty fish in the many small lakes on the plateau, so bring your fishing gear. No permits required.
Great views towards Bruviknipa on Osterøy, Norafjella above Helle and Dale, and towards the Bergsdalen mountains. Store Dustingen above Dale stands especially out in the terrain.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
The trail up to lake 525 must be classified as class 1. Someone has put a lot of effort into making this a trail for everyone. From the lake, one leave the trails and hike up a nice valley before finding a way up the ledges towards the summit plateau. This is easy class 2 terrain. The below route describes a round-trip where the entry point to the mountain (by the first lake) is slightly exposed, with one class 2+ move. This route can be avoided by taking the valley route up and down.
Another interesting route I will try to describe later is the Nonagjelet pass. This route begins by the Stanghelle school and follows a rocky pass up the mountain. There is danger of falling rock here, so caution is strongly advised.
Dalevåg tunnel - Flatafjellet (summer/autumn)
Locate the Dalevåtunnel between Stanghelle and Dale (on highway E16 between Bergen and Voss). Find parking just outside the tunnel on the Stanghelle (south-west) side. On the right hand side, coming from Bergen.
Up to lake 525
From the parking, follow a gravel road that soon turns the right, passing two houses. Next to an old barn and two power masts, follow the trail up to the left. The gravel road runs straight ahead, curves and runs back up. The first part of the trail joins the gravel road higher up. The first part of the trail has some interesting features, with narrow passing between large rocks. The trail eventually joins the road almost on top of the road, in Espeligjelet.
The trail continues upwards Espeligjelet. Much effort has been put in place in order to make this trail. The trail alone is worth the hike. The trail reaches the forest and curves around point 408, before reaching Hellesætri cabins. The trail continues beyond the cabins, crosses the river over a bridge, and gradually climbs through open forest towards the first lake.
Towards the summit
From the very first lake, leave the trail at the first rock bridge. Look up to your right, and locate a steep cliffband that runs up towards the right. Approach this cliffband and follow under it (towards your right) until an obvious point where you have to make a small move to advance up on a ridge. The point is vaguely exposed, but falling should be avoided at all cost. Once on the ridge, continue upwards. On your right hand side you have a mighty drop into a narrow valley. When on the plateau, you should quickly identify the 782m look-out (presently dressed in yellow/orange cover!!). Just below the 782m point you have to pass a long channel of smaller lakes. Pass on the right hand side (facing the look-out). Enjoy the nice views on the look-out before advancing over to the true summit at 784m, 10-15 minutes further south. There is no cairn on the true summit, but in good weather, it should be obvious when you've hit the summit.
Head north-east towards a valley that takes you down to the lakes. Before you reach this valley, you have to descend a series of ledges and cliffbands. You can choose some shortcuts down these cliffbands or take the longer way around. The direction should be obvious, and once at the top of the valley you can either hike in the valley, or on the ridge on your right hand side. Once down, you should run into a cabin just around "the corner" and find the trail that takes you over to the rocky bridge where you went up in the first place.
After yesterday's visit to Kvasshovden in Ulvik, I wasn't all too keen on going very high, due to the strong winds raging over western Norway. And due to the long drive to Ulvik, I settled for something closer. I had been putting off a hike to Flatafjellet for several years. Mostly because of the boring name. But, the time had come to do this mountain as well.
I enjoyed the trail upwards. Troll was grumpy and refused to move. This becomes a familiar scene. "Outsiders" would come up with explanations like "his feet are so short", "he's tired after the long hike yesterday", "he's an old dog" and so on. Wrong. He's just grumpy and stubborn. Higher up the trail I met an old man, over 80 years, making his way down the mountain with ski poles. He had some unknown problems with his foot, he told me. I was very impressed with this guy. But, as he told me, he had been up this mountain thousands of times. So I guess he knows where to step. I picture myself like this in 40 years....
We reached the Hellesætri cabins, and Troll wasn't all that grumpy anymore. There was plenty of deer in the area, and Troll's nose was glued to the ground for the rest of the hike. After a slightly cumbersome hike from the first lake up to the summit plateau, the winds forced me to change to winter clothing. We found a quiet place beneath the 782 look-out, had lunch and enjoyed the tranquility and the views.
I decided to find a new route down, and after visiting the high point (784m), I aimed for a valley that should take me safely back to the lakes. A number of cliffbands tested my patience. I decided not to go around, and fumbled my way down the cliffbands. Ice made this more interesting than necessary. Down at the lakes, Troll accelerated and I barely lost sight of him down the trail. Some animal, most likely. He ignored my yelling, and I had to run to catch up with him. I told him that I didn't appreciate the "see ya back at the car" mentality, and he decided to keep me company for the rest of the hike.
Near Hellesætri cabins, I met a guy whom I talked with for a while. I was quite surprised when he asked if I was the guy who ran around in the mountains, taking pictures. I assumed there are not many lunatics like me running around, so I said that there is a pretty good chance that I was that guy. So the word goes around. At least it sounds like I'm more known for the pictures than my bizarre hobby.
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Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format.
Pictures are presented in the order they were taken. Some images are "stitched".
I was on my way back to Bergen, after hiking Skamdalshorgi in the Granvin region. As the weather was significantly better at Stanghelle, I decided to explore the Nonagjelet couloir. A while ago, I spoke with someone who had gone up there, so there was a route up. I drove to Stanghelle school and climbed up a boulderfield until I got to a large cliff, then followed the cliff to the left (facing cliff) until I got to Nonagjelet.
I was also told that the boulder in the couloir was highly unstable, and it didn't take long before I drew the same conclusion. This is absolutely a place where two hikers need to walk up in parallel. The couloir isn't very steep at first, but this changes the higher you go. There is a lot of safety in the terrain, and the couloir feels quite protected. Then there's the question if rock comes falling down from the steep walls around you.
At the top of the couloir, I ran into problems. It seemed logical to follow the couloir up next to a small stream. This was nearly doable, but ice from the stream and loose rock made this a risky project. When I was grabbing what appeared to be solid rock, I stood with a piece of that rock in my hand. I was looking for an alternative route to the left, but abandoned this route also. The routes don't look dangerously steep until you're in close. I was quite convinced that the couloir continued above the stream, turning towards the right, behind a rock.
I decided to explore another route up to my right. A narrow route up to a ledge could be followed by sticking close to the mountain. The grass on this route was slippery and the problem of getting down doesn't quite present itself until you're too high. As I got close to the ledge, I noticed the drop down to my right. In order to reach the ledge, I would have to remove the backpack and crawl under some cliffs. But as the handholds were bad, I decided to give up this route.
On the way down, I noticed another route up to my left (on my right while ascending), which looked similar to the route I just tried. This ascent was longer and looked more exposed. I was considering exploring it, but I felt I had enough excitement for one afternoon. The route was obviously doable, but if I had to go back this way, a rope would have been useful in case of problems. Back in Stangelle, I asked a guy about the couloir, and he pointed me to Øystein Tysse. I rang his doorbell and asked about the couloir. He had been up that route many times, and told me that I would have to leave the couloir and find a route up to the right. I was then confident that this was the route I never tried. He also told me about someone who was up there some years ago, looking for his goats. He didn't find the way down and had fallen off the cliffs after dark. I guess the safest thing to do is to return via the route described in the beginning of this page. Here is a general map of the area, while here is a more detailed map of the couloir.
Note: On some pictures, the word "col" was meant as an abbreviation for "couloir".
This is wrong, as "col" is a separate word, meaning a.o. a pass between two summits.
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