Mountain area: Rjukan/Gausdal
Fylke/Kommune: High point Telemark Fylke
Hiked: Aug 2001
Gaustatoppen seen from the road to Rjukan
Lake Heddersvatnet - Gaustatoppen trail
|Risk:||Certain risk for injuries on the saddle|
|Time:||3-63-63-6 hours round-trip|
|Starting Elevation:||Approx. 1170m|
Gaustatoppen is one of the most famous mountains in norway. From the top, and on a clear day, one can view an area covering 50000 Km2. No other place can one see more of Norway, expect from the air.
The summit contains a manned hut run by DNT (The Norwegian Mountain Touring Association). There are also additional buildings on top. However, to get to the summit point one has to cross a saddle which requires horizontal scrambling at the end. Many people are satisfies reaching the buildings, but this is not the summit.
The actual height is unclear to me. Everywhere I check, I read 1883m, except on the map - which says 1881m. A phone call to the tourist center in Rjukan didn't clear up the matter :)
Just east of Rjukan, follow the highway from Rjukan to Tuddal. The road switchbacks for several kilometers. Pass Gaustablikk alpine and restaurant area while you have the upper foothills of Gaustatoppen on your right. Follow the road a few more kilometers until you reach a large parking area next to lake Heddersvatnet on your left. A souvenir shop (?) called Stavrobua lies next to the parking. On the right hand side of the road, you see the trail sign towards Gaustatoppen. This parking can be crowded in the summer.
The trail begins on the other side of the road from the parking area. You see the Gaustatoppen tower from the trailhead. The trail starts gently in northwest direction. Then the trail gets steeper on rocky terrain until you reach the saddle between Gaustatoppen and Gaustarċen. The trail is "T" marked all the way to the top.
From the saddle, the trail switchbacks on rocks all the way to the summit buildings. Move to the north side of the summit area, and you find the saddle that takes you to the 1881m summit point. The saddle begins gentle, but half way over the rocks get bigger and you are only left with one option - the right way. The "T" marking helps, but it's easy to get on the wrong side of the large blocks. Expect the saddle to be even more challenging when wet or in snow.
It is possible to hike down the saddle further northwest and to Svineroi. I didn't do this one, and can not guess the difficulty level. You can reach the summit plateau in reasonable short time. It took me 1,5 hours fast walking (as fast as you can walk while carrying a dog), including taking photos and a few stops. The saddle consumes some time. I met a couple of swedes who made it to the top in 40min (fast), but used 20min (slow) over the saddle.
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Other trail descriptions for this region:
Other hordaland mountains Other Norwegian mountains westcoastpeaks.com