Askjellfjellet, 1201m
Hellesåta, 1169m
Gavlafjellet, 1244m
Sørdalsfjellet, 1215m

Mountain area : Stølsheimen
Fylke/Kommune : Hordaland/{Modalen,Vaksdal}
Map : 1216 I Eksingadalen (Statens Kartverk, Norge 1:50 000)
Primary Factor: Askjellfjellet: 140m (Gavlafjellet)
Primary Factor: Hellesåta: 80m (Askjellfjellet)
Primary Factor: Gavlafjellet: 234m (Storfjellet)
Primary Factor: Sørdalsfjellet: 145m (Gavlafjellet)
Hiked : June 2002
Askjellfjellet seen from the mountain road

Askjellfjellet seen from the mountain road


These mountains lie between the lakes Holskardvatnet, Askjellsdalsvatnet and Skjerjavatnet in the central part the Stølsheimen mountain range. Thanks to a mountain service road, these peaks are easily accessible in summer and autumn.

All of the mountains have some steep vertical sides, but there are no technical challenges if one stick with the easy routes. The three mountains above 1200m form distinct ridges.

Gavlafjellet, Hellesåta and Sørdalsfjellet lie in Modalen kommune, while Modalen shares the Askjellfjellet summit with Vaksdal kommune. Once you're in this area, don't miss Skjerjavasshovden, 1264m, the highest mountain in Vaksdal kommune. The mountain is easily accessible from the mountain road you came up.

Trail descriptions:

The route below starts at the dam by lake Askjellsdalsvatnet, and describes a long rountrip covering the mentioned mountains. Amount of snow melted will determine how far you can drive on the service road. The amount of snow in June 2002 was less than typical for the season, I was told by some local hikers. June 25th, I could drive all the way to the Askjellsdalsvatnet dam. The service road continues all the way to Holskardvatnet, but my guess is that it won't be possible to drive all the way up until fall. In general, don't expect to get much further than lake 707m in June.

Anyway, Askjellsdalsvatnet dam is at approx. 800m, more than high enough for hiking. You should consider parking at lake 707m. At least you will gain 500 vertical meters on your first mountain. However on this route, vertical meters are "traded" for kilometers.

Lake Askjellsdalsvatnet - over 4 peaks and back (summer/autumn)

Difficulty : Low
Risk : Low
Distance : 25Km round-trip
Time : 7-9 hours round-trip
Starting Elev.: Approx. 810m
Map of the area
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Overview of the area
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From Bergen, take highway E16 east towards Voss/Oslo. At Evanger (approx. 75Km from Bergen, and 20Km from Voss), exit towards Eksingadalen/Brekkhus. Pass through the Evanger community and head north up Eksingadalen. When you see an exit towards Brekkhus, go left. After this exit, the road climbs high towards a pass before descending towards Nesheim. From E16 to Nesheim, the distance is approx. 23Km.

At Nesheim, exit right towards Gullbrå. Follow this road 5,3Km and exit left, just after a bridge. Now you're on the mountain service road. The sign says that driving is on your own responsibility. Follow the gravel road 6,3Km to lake Askjellsdalsvatnet. Plenty of parking up there.

A few general comments on the road: The road from E16 to where you exit onto the service road is narrow in many places. Mind your speed, as you could be meeting another car around the next corner. Also be on the look-out for sheeps and goats. They could be anywhere. Be especially careful on the mountain service road. Although it's quite wide enough and well built, the gravel is loose. Don't speed on this road.

The trail:


This is an easy route. From the dam, follow the service road 3Km, and you'll reach a junction where another service road goes down to the lake. The road to lake Holskardvatnet continues up to the left. From here - and up to the dam at lake Skjerjavatnet, get onto the Askjellfjellet ridge anywhere you like. Continue the easy ridge all the way to the summit cairn at 1201m.


From Askjellfjellet summit, head straigh east to get the most gentle descent to the plateau between the two mountains. Once down on the lake level (the lake below 1153), round the 1153 block on the south side and head NW towards the Hetlesåta summit.


From Hellesåta summit, head west/south-west towards the service road running down Helladalen towards lake Holskardvatnet. In general the route down is easy, but there are some steep parts here and there. To be quite safe, head for 1148 and go down there. Get immediately on the Sørdalsfjellet ridge, and follow it all the way to the summit. There is no summit cairn, so you will have to locate the remainders of an old trig. point on the eastern part of the summit.


The west side of Sørdalsfjellet is quite steep. A possible route down is just above lake 1095 in Skorvadalen. This approach will take you straight onto the long Gavlafjellet ridge. If this seems steep, head down the ridge back to the service road. Once you are on the road, go right (west) and head up the mountain in a south-west direction. Note that when I hiked up here, there was snow everywhere. I'm not sure of the terrain below the snow. From distance, this side of Gavlafjellet looks like one long steep side. A closer looks reveals that hiking up here is quite easy. If for some reason you want an alternative, hike north up towards the valley between Kvanngrødfjellet and Sørdalsfjellet and get onto the ridge there.

Once on the ridge, you'll have to follow it south-west for a little while until you reach the distinct summit cairn. You'll pass a minor cairn before the terrain takes a dip, just before the summit block.

Heading back

Take the same way down from Gavlafjellet and follow the service road all the way back to the Askjellsdalsvatnet dam.

Trip report June 22 2002:

I woke up to the sound of rain, in a tent by lake Askjellsdalsvatnet. Not totally unexpected, as the forecast was miserable. However, it was such a beautiful evening the night before, and I had some minor hopes that the weather people had got it wrong.

Not so, and I decided to wait until the rain stopped before we got up. After the evening hike, the dog woke up exactly as I had put him the night before. I can't remember the last time that had happened. Normally he rotates a dozen times before he find true comfort. I had some concerns that he was not at "peak performance", and I found the answer to my question one hour later.

At 9:00AM we left the tent, and at 9:30, the sound of small steps behind me, vanished. Troll had taken the "no go" position, 100m behind. As usual, I opened the backpack, and the dog came running like the backpack contained thousands of bisquits. I always wonder how tired he really is, and if he's laughing silently all the way to the summit....

As it began to rain, the mountains fogged in. And with a dog in protest mode, I decided to do Askjellfjellet and hit home. The ridge up to the summit was slightly cumbersome. For a dog. I decided to keep him in the backpack, even though he could be willing to do some walking. On the summit, I was still determined to head back home, but decided to return via Hellesåta. I noticed it wasn't ranked, but it had the size of a real mountain and I decided to add it to the list.

Back on the service road, after descent from Hellesåta, it stopped raining. By now, I had entered "could-walk-forever" mode and decided to climb up to Gavlafjellet. The eastern side looked a little steep, and I was angry for not bringing the axe. But as I got closer, it wasn't steep after all, and I could walk all the way up to the ridge.

Due to a solid breakfast, I had only brought a small box of rasins. This came in handy, as I still was carrying the dog, and noticed that I had walked for a while. Fully recharged, I quickly decided to do Sørdalsfjellet. Coming from Hellesåta, it is natural to Sørdalsfjellet before Gavlafjellet, although nothing is gained in terms of altitude or distance. The Sørdalsfjellet ridge seemed to last forever. As I arrived the obvious summit area, I couldn't see any cairn. But after a quick area-check, I found the broken trig. point and checked in my fourth summit for the day. Content, we sat course for the tent. I decided that Troll could walk all the way back to the tent, which he did.

I was puzzled by the many snowfields covering the road here and there. I couldn't find any reasonable explanation to why all the snow in a small given region didn't melt simulatenously. This thought was replaced by why they built this long and good road which was obviously only open at most two months per year. Later I was told that there was all-year-round activity up here before. Many (and long) water tunnels have been built up here. This gave the answer to another thought from one of my previous hikes in the area - "so much water - unused".

The route milestones: (Start time 09:00AM)


Pictures from the June 22 2002 hike (sequential order):

Move cursor to read notes, and click on the images to see full version.
Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format

Eksingadalen valley (106KB) Arriving Askjellsdalsvatnet dam, which is further than usual for June (87KB) Not true wilderness, but still very nice (135KB) Lake Askjellsdalsvatnet (168KB) Lake Skjerjavatnet (230KB) On the way up Askjellfjellet (230KB) Askjellfjellet summit, 1201m (118KB) Hellesaata summit, 1169m (122KB) Skjerjavasshovden seen from Hellesaata (110KB) North view from Gavlafjellet summit (274KB) Askjellfjellet seen from Gavlafjellet (207KB) Gavlafjellet summit, 1244m (96KB) Modalen mountains seen from Gavlafjellet (255KB) Gavlafjellet seen from Sordalsfjellet (141KB) Lake Holsdkardvatnet seen from Sordalsfjellet (142KB) Sordalsfjellet summit, 1215m (159KB) On the middle of the mountain road (61KB) Gavlafjellet seen from the mountain road (165KB) Askjellfjellet seen from the mountain road (159KB) At lakes 990m (87KB) Skjerjavasshovden seen from the mountain road (130KB) The 1115m ridge SW of Hundeggi (152KB) Askjellsdalsvatnet dam (128KB)

Pictures from other hikes:

Summit view from Saudalsnovi (755KB)

Other hordaland mountains Other Vaksdal K. mountains