Onen seen from Ramnabergnuten
Onen cuts Hardangerfjorden into Osafjorden and Eidfjorden, and appears as a massive mountain when seen from Hardangerdfjorden. The mountain is the 29th highest mountain in Hordaland, and the 40th highest when ranked by primary factor. Onen is truly one of the Hordaland giants.
Kyrelvfjellet is a large plateau just north of Onen, but is difficult to identify when seen from the north, due to the prominence of Onen in the background. But when seen from Ulvik, you get the impression of the magnitude of this mountain. Kyrelvfjellet is easily accessible from the Onen winter route.
The general Onen access is from a high mountain road from Osa to lake Langvatnet. From the lake, Onen can be skied or hiked. Osa also connects to the NE regions of Hardangervidda, via a hiking trail from Osa to the Hallingskeid hut and good terrain for skiing/hiking between Langvatnet and Hardangerjøkulen glacier. In clear weather, the glacier is easily seen from Onen.
In April 2003, the road was plowed all the way to 770m, providing a good starting point for skiers. In summer, one can drive all the way to the lake Langvatnet, well above 1100m.
The new GPS vector map (Map Source) states that Onen high point is 1620m, while my 621m reference is the M711 map from Statens Kartverk. The border between Ulvik and Eidfjord Kommune runs across the Onen summit.
Onen has a primary factor of 462m, towards the higher Luranuten, near Hardangerjøkulen glacier. The "saddle" is just east of Langvatnet. The last adjacent 20m contour lines (Norgesglasset) on the high route are 1160m, giving an interpolated saddle height of 1150m, adjusted to 1159m, as high water level on lake Langvatnet is 1158m.
Kyrelvfjellet has a primary factor of 114m towards the higher Onen. The saddle is just SE of the summit, where the 1300m contour lines nearly meet. The saddle has been interpolated to 1290m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
NOTE: The route below is our GPS tracks from our ski-trip. Due to foggy conditions above 1200m, we do not recommend these tracks for navigation. An easier route from 1400m exists, and is mentioned in the description. When the description says "cross the lake", this implies *if* the lake safe to cross!
Viermyrane - Onen (spring)
From Bergen, two routes can be followed:
a) Follow E16 towards Oslo. Exit onto highway 7 at Trengereid, drive to Samnangerfjorden, over Kvamskogen and down to Norheimsund. Follow highway 7 northbound all the way to Ulvik.
b) Follow E16 towards Oslo. From Voss, exit onto highway 13 towards Granvin. At lake Granvinsvatnet, exit left onto highway 572 towards Ulvik.
From Ulvik, follow the road towards Osa. At Osa, go left in the first junction. Follow the road upwards towards lake Langavatet. Early on the road, pay a fee on a self-serviced toll station on the left hand side of the road (NOK 30,- for passenger cars, May 2003). Drive until you reach snow. The road might have been plowed to Viermyrane (770m) for the Easter tourists.
From the trailhead, follow the road upwards, or a convenient route if you can't determine the road. At the south end of lake Austdølvatnet, turn right and ski up a steep, narrow valley which provides a shortcut to the road higher up. Pass just to the right of point 1204m and continue down towards lake Grasbotntjørni where you will cross the road north of Lakjehødi. You will pass a gate when you cross the road.
Cross lake Kvitingavatnet and aim for a valley that is the obvious choice for ascending Onen. As we entered fog in this valley, we had a compass course directly towards the summit, crossing point 1485m. Around point 1485m, the terrain is especially complex in fog. You may however find a safe route on the south side, by following the steep walls on the ridge, down towards NW. From here on, it is possible to maintain a steady SW direction, but a few additional obstacles along the way must be bypassed. Seek left whenever a high rock appears in front of you.
A better alternative may be to stay east of the Onen - Kyrelvfjellet high ridge until the ridge obstacles are passed. As we did not follow this route, we can not make any recommendations, but based on what I have heard, this is the common approach towards Onen.
My Oct 2002 hike to Onen failed before it got started. A furious wind was raging at lake Langvatnet, and the mountain was iced down and fogged in. May 18 2003 was my second attempt, and I had invited my friend Petter for the mission. The weather forecast promised rain all day, but sunshine in Bergen gave us a small hope that the forecast was bogus. Arriving Hardangerfjorden, it was clear that the clouds were touching the higher mountains, so we were already mentally prepared for a trip in the fog. It was quite windy down by the fjord, and I found it quite unrealistic, hoping for better conditions on the high mountain.
It took us 2,5 hours from Bergen to Osa, and after preparing skis, etc. we were on our way 12:30PM. The road was easy to follow, as snowscooter tracks were quite visible. We made good progress to lake Langvatnet, and when we reached lake Kvitingavatnet, our further route was hidden in fog. There was a noticeable wind, and we were dressed accordingly. It was hardly the typical weather one associates with Norway in May.
Petter took a compass course towards the summit, which we were to stick with, for the rest of the ascent. This compass course would take us onto the high ridge between Onen and Kyrelvfjellet, near point 1485m. This was a highly complex area, taking the fog into consideration. It was steep all around, and after inspecting the area, we downclimbed the ridge, staying close to the rock wall below point 1485m. Snow that had been built-up close to the mountain provided a secure corridor down to safer ground.
We had crossed the high ridge, and were off course compared to the planned route. We were now making ground on the west side of the ridge, meeting one obstacle after the other. For me, the trip was now entering the level which I call "hard". Fog only makes things complicated, but the wind was now stronger than ever, challenging my upright position. My backpack wasn't strapped quite tight, and was constantly over my left shoulder. I didn't find the inspiration to fix it. I preferred to have the gloves on. Lesson: Tighten backpack. Making the environment even more harsh, was the hail - or frozen rain that was whipping our faces. Navigating in dense fog is somewhat harder when you have to turn your face away from the route ahead. I don't care if May is considered spring. This was winter conditions.
At one point I fell, and got instant panic as I thought I had caused an avalanche. I felt I was sliding uncontrolled, and tried to stop with frantic arm movements. I got a glimpse of Petter. Why wasn't he moving? In a dry voice he asked me what the problem was. Quite embarrassed I realized we were on a flat surface, and I wondered what sort of mental games the fog was playing with my head.
Time is flying when you have slow progress and have to check the compass all the time. We reached the summit 16:45PM, 4h:15m after leaving the trailhead. We hadn't skied for more than 11Km, but I was a dead horse. With headache and fatigue. I found the will to take a summit photo, but then I wanted to get off this hostile planet. For the most part we could follow the vague ski-tracks, but corrected the course from the GPS tracks when no tracks could be seen. "The lazy man's approach" as Petter called it. There shouldn't be moments when mountain ethics become second priority, but to me, this was one of them. The cloudbase were now higher, and we had a clear view of the area soon after descending from point 1485m. Down by lake Kvilingavatnet, I called for a "kvil" (rest). My energy was at rock bottom, but after an orange, I felt significantly better. After the final uphill towards point 1204m, we could look forward to a long and welcome downhill. We reached the trailhead at 19:05PM, 2h:15m after leaving the summit. Man, it was nice to get into dry clothes and a warm car...
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Pictures are presented in the order they were taken.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Lake 1107m - Kyrelvfjellet (summer/autumn)
Same access as for Onen. See above. As this is a description of a summer route, drive all the way to lake 1107m, just before the winter gate below lake Langvatnet. This is approx. 3,2Km from the Floskefonndalen/Langvatnet road junction at 940m.
Follow lake 1107m on the west side until you reach a manmade crossing where the lake drains to Austdalen valley. I don't know if this crossing is flooded earlier in the summer. Cross the lake and go left until you find a good place to ascend onto a hump in the beginning of the valley ahead. You will have the ridge towards Lakjehødi up to your left. The valley rises gently, and the only obstacle is a stream coming down the valley which must be crossed.
Near the top of the valley, climb up to the cliffband on your right. You will see a distinct ledge that traverses the steep Kyrelvfjellet ahead. Seek left to the very beginning of this ledge (it starts in the bottom and rises upwards). Follow it upwards. The ledge is blocked by a rock at one point, and you must pass on the outside. Show caution here, so you don't slip and fall off the ledge. After this passing, the ledge grows wider and wider. On top of the ledge, turn left when you see a good route upwards. You should also see some pointy rocks indicating the general route.
Continue upwards until you reach the high ridge. Soon, you will have the summit plateau in view, but you won't see the summit cairn just yet. You may feel like taking a shortcut directly towards the summit, but you lose some vertical gain through this. Stay on the high ridge, where you get your best views. Eventually you reach the summit, which is marked by a proper cairn.
After hiking Austdølnuten, I got in the car and drove the short distance to lake Langvatnet. Well, actually, I parked the car just before the lake, at 15:35PM. I had no clue about any route up, but I didn't anticipate any major problems. I decided to follow the valley next to Lakjehødi, and then head on up the mountain. After crossing the lake by the road, I needed to ascend a small hump in order to get into the valley. The mountain was slippery except for the part just above the crossing. This ascent provided some natural steps which got harder and harder the higher up I came. At one place I had problems advancing, as there really wasn't room for both me and the dog. We sorted it out in the end, but it was perfectly clear that this wouldn't be my return route.
This wasn't dog-friendly terrain, and once again, Troll got to see the landscape from a comfortable spot on my back. I headed up the valley and turned right when I was on level with Lakjehødi. A distinct ledge was very tempting, and I deciced to investigate it. This route took me onto Kyrelvfjellet, and once the ledge part was over, I saw cairns. The rest of the hike was rather uneventful. It was fairly long and boring, and the weather was changing from great to so-and-so. I looked forward to get on with this mountain and enjoy a nice beer down in Ulvik.
We reached the summit 16:35PM and spent about 10 minutes on the top. Onen, which had been cloud-free when I was on Austdølnuten, was now starting to disappear in fog. I was thinking about tomorrow's hike with Torbjørn, and wondered if it would take place. We had agreed on not to mess about in the high mountains if the mountains were fogged in. At 17:30PM, we were back in the car, and it was time to head back to Ulvik.
I checked into a hotel in Ulvik, had dinner and then Torbjørn joined me for a planning session later in the evening. The original plan was to hike Skorafjellet and then Vassfjøra. It would be a strenuous project, but we both were convinced it was doable. Now it was just a matter of getting a good night's sleep. I fell asleep about 05:00AM in the morning when the last guests from the local pub (under my window) decided to go home. At 06:30AM, I got up, not fully enthusiastic about the long hike over Skorafjellet.
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