Folgefonna is one of Norway's most famous glaciers. It consists of three glaciers - south, north and central (middle). The southern glacier is the highest (1662m) and is Norway's 3rd largest glacier - 168 sq. Km (source: miljolare.no) The glacier is located on Folgefonnhalvøya (Folgefonn peninsula), located between Hardangerfjørden and Sørfjorden. The name Folgefonni is used in western Norway.
The northern glacier is ranked as #13 in Norway, covering 26 sq. Km. The top of the glacier marks the common border of Jondal, Ullensvang and Kvinnherad kommuner. Folgefonna N. is the highest point in Jondal Kommune, but both Ullensvang and Kvinnherad have even higher mountains/glaciers.
In summer, Folgefonni Breførarlag offers blue ice glacier guiding on Folgefonna.
Folgefonna N (M711: 1644m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 394m towards the higher Folgefonna S (1662M). The saddle is found in Kvitnadalen valley, north of Folgefonna M. Ref. the M711 map (20m contours), you cross the 1260m contours on the high route, but not 1240m. The saddle has been interpolated to 1250m.
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.
Hestadalen - Folgefonna N (spring)
From Bergen, follow highway E16 towards Oslo. At the Trengereid junction, turn right onto highway RV7. Follow RV7 all the way to Norheimsund by Hardangerfjorden. Turn right onto highway RV49 and drive to Tørvikebygd (approx. 12,3 from the junction in Norheimsund) where you take the ferry to Jondal.
From the Jondal main junction, go straight ahead and follow signs towards "Folgefonna". After 7,9Km, turn right (signed "Folgefonna"). 100m later, pay road fee (normally self-serviced). Fee for passenger cars per March 2005 was NOK 60,-. Note that on a busy winter day, someone may be there to collect the fee, preventing a long queue at the fee station.
Follow the road towards Folgefonna ski-center for approx. 5,9Km to the parking at Hestadalen. On busy winter days, members of Bergen Turlag may be there to control the parking area.
The winter route normally follows the summer road towards the summer ski centre. From Easter, it is is likely that the route has been prepared (snowscooters), and due to potential avalanche hazard, it is recommended that this route is followed.
From the summer ski centre, you may expect the route to be marked all the way to the top. Do not take it for granted that the marked route ends exactly at the high point. Unless you have a GPS, you should manually find a point on the glacier where you see mountains in a 360 degrees view, given that weather permits.
Up to the summer ski centre, there are a few small ups and downs even if the route in general of course is mainly upwards. From the summer ski centre, it is only uphill, but the terrain may seem quite flat the last kilometer. The glacier is very popular on spring holidays.
Trip report Mar 27 2005
The weather the day before wasn't all that great, and I spent it in lower mountains in the Masfjorden region. The forestcast for this Easter Sunday was however nothing less than terrific, and I had planned a ski-trip to Folgefonna North for nearly a week. I had been saving some energy on during my Easter hikes and ski-trips, as I believed I would have to ski all the way from Krossdalen. The ski-trip in itself was not the challenge, but carrying a dog all the way to the top of the glacier was. It was high time that I visited the northern Folgefonna glacier. I had skied to the top of Folgefonna S all the way from Tokheim (sea level) near Odda two years earlier, and ever since this effort, I had been thinking about the northern glacier. I visited Veranuten in September 2004, and while the plan was to include the norther glacier on this hike, it never happened. This Easter, however, the glacier would be visited for sure.
A few days earlier, I had called Laila Bergsagel in Jondal, asking how far up towards Folgefonna I could drive. She told me the road had been prepared all the way to Hestadalen. I didn't know exactly where this was, but it seemed quite higher than Krossdalen, and my "big project" seemed reduced to a modest ski-trip. Among other things, like running Meieriet Gjestestue in Jondal, Laila is occupied with promoting tourism in Jondal. She is a good information source whenever I am planning a trip to the Jondal region.
The first ferry towards Jondal left Tørvikbygd 09:15AM. I got up early and was ready to go well before schedule. I decided to wait around at Tørvikbygd instead of walking back and forth in the house. On my way towards Kvamskogen, it struck me how bright it was outside. I suddenly realized that the clock was supposed to be turned one hour forward during the night. This meant the time was 08:30AM, and not 07:30AM. Even if I turned criminal, breaking every speed limit from here to Tørvikbygd, I would still not reach the ferry. This was a bummer, yet realizing I had all the time in the world for this ski-trip. I missed the ferry by 15 minutes, but didn't feel to bad. It had been a cold night, and without a doubt, the road up from Jondal would be icy in places. And not to mention the snow. Waiting around for an hour would probably only be a good thing.
I reached the parking area just before 11:00AM. One row of cars had already arrived, and the cars kept rolling in. I was "shocked" how far and high the road went. I felt the summer ski centre was just up the road, and what kind of "big project" would this be? I was on my way 11:00AM, and Troll (the dog) seemed eager to walk on the icy crust. Snowscooters had been running up and down the summer road, making the slopes hard as ice. On the other hand, the snow was almost just as hard outside the tracks, and given the potential avalanche hazard, I decided to stick with the track.
Troll was in good shape and kept my pace upwards. We passed on skier after the other, and after a while, I noticed that Troll found this less and less fun. I noticed a girl that kept our pace, and I fooled Troll into thinking that she belonged to our group. Troll fell for my lies, and "glued" himself to the back of her skis. Her name was Liv Sollesnes and I learned through Laila later on that Liv's brother had helped out identifying the Jondal mountains on a panorama I had taken from Skrott above Øystese.
We passed the summer ski centre and Troll kept moving on. The slopes above the summer ski centre were quite steep, but Troll didn't give up. The snowscooters had turned around at 1490m elevation, and the snow was now too deep for Troll to walk in, and I put him in the backpack for the remaining 2Km to the top. It had taken us 2 hours and 10 minutes to the end of the marked route on the glacier. This wasn't exactly the high point, but for all practical purposes, it was. Two other skiers had been the first to arrive this morning, and I joined them. Liv followed shortly after, and there were only the four of us before the string of other skiers popped up in the horizon.
After resting 40 minutes, I headed southbound for 350m until I was on the GPS high point. Based on the horizon, this point seemed fairly accurate. I then skied back to the marked route and started my descent. Once I passed 1480m elevation, there was no more soft snow, and skiing down the icy glacier was a tremendous tiresome effort. I didn't risk skiing down with the dog in the backpack (in case of a fall), so I let him out. Fortunately, he didn't seem to mind walking, and I could switchback in a controlled manner behind him.
The area by the summer ski centre was packed, and I guess some of them found the sight of a small, running dachshund followed by a slalom skier down the glacier, to be rather amusing. We were back at the car 15:05PM, and my legs were shaking for 10 minutes after the strenuous run down the icy slopes. The ski-trip was 16,5Km and it had taken us roughly 4 hours including a long break on top. Back in Jondal, it was time to say hello to Laila before the ferry left. She had prepared a lovely fruit dessert to me, which tasted heavenly. Another fine day in Jondal was over, and it was time to get back to Bergen and prepare for the Saudalsnovi ski-trip the following day.
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