Norwegian Mountains, Hordaland
Helgdalsnuten, 1441m (ca.)
Helgedalsnuten is not the highest point in Etne (that is 1638m on Folgefonna), and Helgedalsnuten is not the highest rock point in Etne (that is Skorfestenuten, 1484m), but Helgedalsnuten is the highest proper mountain in Etne. Many will claim that Helgedalsnuten is shared between Hordaland and Rogaland, as the county border runs across point 1435m (which has a proper cairn and a visitor register). However, the highest point is located 440m northwest of the border cairn. If you use a magnifier glass on your map, you can see a small number of 1440m contours in that area. The high point is defined through a rather modest cairn.
You can reach Helgedalsnuten both from the Sauda or the Åkrafjorden side. This page describes what seems to be the shortest and easiest route to the top - from Langfoss by Åkrafjorden. Helgedalsnuten as a day-hike is a strenuous project. The total distance is approx. 24km and the total vertical gain is approx. 1500m. The route from Langfoss has no direct challenges, other than crossing the river from Svartavatnet. In autumn, the crossing will normally be of no concern, but in the melting season, this river can grow big.
You'll have good views from the summit. A few Rogaland mountains, such as Kyrkjenuten and Skaulen dominate part of the horizon. To the north, you will see the southern Folgefonna glacier and the "Rosendal alps". Towards the coast, you see most of the coastal tops from Gråhorga in Ølen up to Stord and Tysnes. High Fusa mountains can be seen to the northwest. You'll also see quite a number of Hardangervidda tops, from Hårteigen to Nupsfonn.
Helgedalsnuten (Norge 1:50,000: -, Økonomisk Kartverk (ØK): -, UTM 32 V 355196 6631130) has a primary factor of 486m towards the higher parent mountain Kyrkjenuten (1602m). The defining saddle (approx. UTM 32 V 359411 6634404) is found 5,3Km to the northeast, between points 1019m and 1039m (south of Rullestadsåta). Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (10m contours), the saddle is within the range 950-960m, interpolated to 955m.
The height 1441m is just based on the existing 1440m contours + 1m.
GPS measurement on the summit cairn (0,5m high) read 1442m, averaged over a 5-minute period (error margin +/- 4,4m). GPS measurement on the border cairn (1,7m high) read 1336m, averaged over a 10 minute period (error margin +/- 0,8m)
Google's interactive map. You can zoom, pan and click on the markers.
Route 1: Langfoss - Helgedalsnuten (summer/autumn)
This route description was valid per Sep 2008. All distances are approx. distances
The starting point is the Langfoss waterfall by Åkrafjorden. Use Google maps to obtain driving directions, example: From: "Odda,Norway", To: "Langfossen by Aakrafjorden, Norway"
Cross the highway via an underpass (you'll see the first "T" painted in red on the concrete). Follow the marked trail (Simlebu/Sandvasshytta) up the forest. At 630m elevation, you'll have a great view towards Åkrafjorden. The trail now descends into Langfossdalen valley. You'll pass the Langfosstølen cabins early on. At one grassy section, follow the wooden markers. At the top of the valley, you'll pass a significant trail fork. The trail to the left goes to Simlebu. The trail to the right goes to Sandvasshytta. Follow a path that runs straight ahead towards the northeast side of Lake Vaulo.
Follow the path near the river from Svartavatnet. You have Botnanuten up to your left, and point 1048m up to your right. You should find a place to cross the river before you reach Lake Svartavatnet. Head towards a grassy ridge that rise from the southeast side of Lake Eljarbotnvatnet. You'll see a faint path here. There is a cliff that runs across this ridge, which may seem disturbing from distance. But there is a nice opening, and there is no exposure involved.
You'll have three "humps" ahead of you. Pass the first to the left, then head into the valley between the first "hump" and point 1345m. Ascend point 1345m on a fairly obvious route on the north side. Descend to the southeast, towards the saddle between 1345m and Helgedalsnuten. From this saddle point, pick your ascent route towards Helgedalsnuten. Continue up to Helgedalsnuten summit, which is marked by a modest cairn. You'll see the border cairn 440m to the southeast. Visit this point too. It doesn't take long to get there.
Given the length of this hike, you'll probably be content about descending your ascent route. If you have energy to spare, consider visiting Botnanuten (and/or Sauanuten) upon your descent.