Storafjellet and Norafjella
Storafjellet is located in the south-west end of the mountain region known as "Norafjella", west of highway E16 between Stanghelle and Dale. The high point on this mountain massif is Høgenipa, 877m. Storafjellet is a characterstic peak, due to the steep and wild south-west face. The mountain offers spectacular views in all directions, but the west view towards Osterøy and Veafjorden is perhaps the most breathtaking. Another noticeable view is Store Dustingen (Dystingen) above Dale. Storafjellet is perhaps the best place to view Dustingen from.
Storafjellet is quite easy (technically) reached from Helle, between Stanghelle and Dale. Although the hike is steep and strenuous, there are no difficulties beyond sticking to the trail. Once up, and if still full of energy, a hike up to the higher Hestafjellet is an option.
Storafjellet's factor towards Hestafjellet is 93m in the pass between the two. Last 5m contour line is 550m, giving an interpolated saddle of 548m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
The main trail to Storafjellet runs from Hjelle, and does not offer any technical difficulties, although some parts could be slippery when wet. But as the entire route can be hiked without handholds, this route has been graded to class 1. The route is however both steep and strenuous.
Hjelle - Storafjellet (spring,summer,autumn)
Coming from Bergen, exit left towards "Helle", just after the Lågskartunnelen. This exit is 1100m after the Stangehelle exit. Follow the road towards Dalevågen 750m, cross a bridge (1,5t weight limit) and find parking immediately on the other side of the bridge.
Go through the gate that cross the railway. There is a warning about restricted traffic, but I can see no other way to get to the trail, which continues on the other side of the gate. Lock the gate, and watch for trains...
Once over, follow the gravel road that turns right and moves up towards the forest. Within minutes, the road ends. Cross a stream and follow the vague trail that takes you up the left hand side of a large cliff that is located in the middle of the valley. From time to time, you cross a wire that runs between the stream and the cliff.
Above the cliff, you enter a area which presently contains cut timber (cutting). Follow the path straight up the forest, parallel to the stream. A vague trail forks off to the right. Don't follow this one. If you are on the correct trail, you should join the stream within few minutes. From here, the trail turns north-east towards point 682, the south-west end of Hestafjellet. Another trail forks left, in this area. This is the trail shown on the official map. Do not follow the left trail, as it will take you the wrong direction.
Heading towards point 682, you have the power line in clear sight. Pass under the power line, and as you are close to the large cliff that marks the south-west end of Hestafjellet, look for a fence below the cliff. There is an opening in the fence that the trail runs through. At this particular point, you see into the valley on your left for the first time. Make sure you don't head into the valley.
The trail runs about midway between the valley and the Hestafjellet ridge, and climbs steady to the north. As the terrain opens up, you may choose to stay on this course all the way until you see Veafjorden, or make a shortcut towards the left. The first pass on your left hand side should be obvious. It may appear as steep, but it isn't. This pass will save you some time, compared to going all the way to the top of the valley.
Once you are on the summit plateau, you will see the summit cairn. There is a larger cairn, slighly hidden beyond the summit cairn, that marks the viewpoint. The views from the summit plateau is dramatic. Especially towards Veafjorden. On the other side of the valley (on your right hand side, coming up) you see Hestafjellet and Fylesnipa.
The weather forecast the day before had made me settle for Storafjellet. I was tired of fighting deep snow (the day before on Illebruni), and strong winds were expected this Sunday. No point in going too high. And Storafjellet was something I had been wanting to do for a long time. At Helle, I asked about for the trail. I was pointed to Geir Hilmar Skaftun, a nice fellow that explained the route in detail. He also allowed me to park on his property, and gain the trail from the back of his house.
So I was on my way with an optimal start, and with a nice peak ahead of me. But then the dog entered his typical paranoia state, and had to sit down, refusing to move. I have begun to see a tendency. If the trail starts smoothly, he moves eagerly. But when the trail suddenly runs into the sky, he starts daydreaming about the sofa, and it is time for the backpack. The trail was steep and strenuous, and I really, really hated the dog.
The good news was that the trail was easy to follow, although vague. I let the dog out on occasion, only to be reminded that the trail was still too steep for a moody dog. But finally, we hit hard snow at approx. 500m, and Troll jumped out, rolling around on the icy crust like a cat. On the top of the valley, the announced winds were raging like a wild animal. I had to get the winter clothes on in a hurry. And Troll quickly lost the interest in rolling around. He was busy staying on his feet. Moving over the summit plateau was just like walking home from a successful party. Taking pictures was a real challenge.
We arrived the summit, 1,5 hours after leaving the trailhead. I offered the dog his lunchbox, but he was only interested in getting off the plateau. As such, the summit stay was less than 3 minutes. That's OK, as I have ambitions to come back again, on a clear summer day. With friends. The views were fenomenal. We enjoyed our lunch safely down in the forest. Troll was now in co-operative mode and hiked all the way down. The total trip took 3 hours, which included a 20min break on the way down. Back at the car, Geir was interested in the hike, and we had a nice conversation before I headed back to Bergen.
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.
Pictures are presented in the order they were taken. Some images are "stitched".
Other hordaland mountains Other Vaksdal K. mountains westcoastpeaks.com