Hinnstein and Vardheia are two of Harstad's local mountains. Harstad is located on the northeast side of Hinnøya - Norway's largest mainland-connected island. Harstad is located in Troms fylke (county).
The mountains are very accessible and offer excellent views in all directions. A good place to start is the Medkila school. A motorway of a path takes you up the forest, where paths fork in all possible directions. You can also include the minor tops Blåfjellet (512m), Lille Hinnstein (503m) and Heia (526m), if you want to extend your hike.
While Vardheia is a hill, in every aspect of the word, Hinnstein has steep sides (except the soutwest ridge) and offers good opportunities for mountain scramblers. Make sure you visit the viewpoint cairn(s) northeast of Hinnstein summit, for view towards Harstad.
Hinnstein (Norge 1:50,000: 560m, Økonomisk Kartverk: 559,85m , UTM 33 W 560802 7626925) has a primary factor of 112m, towards the higher parent mountain Vardheia (604m). The saddle (approx. UTM 33 W 560175 7626932) is found between the two tops, just west of the standalone 640m contour. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (10m contours), this saddle is within the range 445-450m, interpolated to 448m.
Vardheia (Norge 1:50,000: 604m, Økonomisk Kartverk: 604,49m , UTM 33 W 559475 7627300) has a primary factor of 346m, towards the higher parent mountain Sørvikfjellet (607m). The saddle (approx. UTM 33 W 558550 7623513) is found south of Dotthaugen and east of Tennevatnet. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (10m contours), this saddle is within the range 255-260m, interpolated to 258m.
While personal GPS measurements read 560m on Hinnstein (on the ground), the reading was 616m on top of the Vardheia cairn. Two GPS units gave the same reading. Subtracting the cairn height (2m) and 2-3m for error margin (the GPS reported 1,3m error margin), the reading was still notable higher than 604m.
Google's interactive map. You can zoom, pan and click on the markers.
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.
Medkila - Hinnstein - Vardheia (summer/autumn)
(all distances are approx. distances)
The closest larger city is Harstad. From Harstad, follow highway RV83 southbound (Narvik). Just south of the city, turn right when you see the Medkila sign. A road fork comes up after 450m. Turn right onto the Høgholtet road. Follow this road to its end (UTM 33 W 562424 7628162), past the Medkila school. Don't block for school buses who need to turn around at road end.
The forest path is impossible to miss. After a while, the path runs alongside Oselva river. At one place, the path forks, but the paths merge to one a bit higher up. Exceeding 400m elevation, stay left in all forks (close to Hinnstein). Ascend Hinnstein on its southwest ridge. The summit is marked by a trigonometric point . A bit to the northeast, you will see two viewpoint cairns that provide additional views.
Descend Hinnstein's southwest ridge and follow a path to the northwest. This path takes you directly up to Vardheia. Vardheia summit is marked by a proper cairn. From Vardheia, either descend your ascent route back to the valley, or follow various paths that eventually bring lead you back to the forest path. There are many alternative paths to choose between.
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