Tverrfjellet seen from Finnbunuten
Svolefjellet and Tverrfjellet are two neighbours located north of Vinje, a small community approx 20Km north-east of Voss. These mountains are enclosed by Myrkdalen valley in the west, Oppheimsdalen valley in the east, Kvanndalen valley in the north and highway E16 in the south.
This area is popular amongst hikers and skiers. The general access is from Vinje, via the Øyaset cabins, and up the Fribotn valley. A private road runs all the way to Øyaset, providing a high start at 560m. Those who are not permitted to use the private road, will need to hike almost 3,4Km from the trailhead at Vinje to Øyaset. In the winter holidays, snowscooters bring the visitors up to Øyaset.
The mountains offer good views. In the north, Finnbunuten and Bjørndalskamben dominates the view. In the south-west, Lønahorgi is the sole majesty. In the south-west, you have a tremendous view towards the Raundalsegga mountains - including Horndalsnuten and Skipadalsnuten. In the horizon beyond, you see Folgefonna.
Svolefjellet probably means Swallow (bird) mountain. Swallow was a common bird up here in the old days. Tverrfjellet is a common name and indicates a mountain that blocks the access or the view (tverr = cross).
Tverrfjellet has a primary factor of 368m, towards the higher Larsfonnfjellet (1318m). The saddle is located in Oppheimsdalen valley, east of Tverrfjellet. I have used a fixed point of 734m from Norgesglasset as the defining saddle. The point is near Tjørnarhovden. This puts Tverrfjellet among the top 80 mountains in Hordaland, when ranked by primary factor.
Svolefjell has a primary factor of 168m, towards the higher Tverrfjellet (1118m). The adjacent 5m contours (Norgesglasset) are 925m, and the saddle is interpolated to 923m. The M711 map shows 924m for the small pond near the saddle, which is higher than the saddle! The 5m detail map shows 912m as the height, which is more reasonable, providing the contours are correct.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Vinje - Svolefjell - Tverrfjellet round-trip (spring)
From Bergen, follow higway E16 towards Oslo. From the traffic light at Voss, follow E16 approx. 20,2Km to the roundabout at Vinje. Continue on E16 for a few hundred meters, and exit left behind the hotel. At the first fork, follow the "8-16" sign, and turn right at the next fork. Just before a private house, to the left, you will see a sign towards Øyaset. Find parking nearby.
Go through the gate next to the Øyaset sign. Go through two more gates and follow the forest road all the way to Øyaset. Ignore any roads forking to the right.
From Øyaset, cross the bridge and follow a trail on the left (west) side of the river. During the melting season, crossing the river is far from trivial, so stay on the trail. The trail runs nearby the river, but higher up. As you approach Fribotn, the terrain gets quite boggy, and the trail disappears. As you get close to the Svolefjell east ridge, then climb straight up the ridge. It is steep, but not exposed. This route will take you straight to the Svolefjell summit. If you find the ridge too steep, then walk along the mountain until you find a route up that you are comfortable with.
From Svolefjell, follow the high ridge towards Tverrfjellet. Cross the saddle between the two lakes and hike up Tverrfjellet wherever convenient. There are no particular steep sides. The high point (1118m) is located on the north-east side, which is straight east from your saddle crossing. From 1118m, continue south towards another distinct viewpoint, north of the trig. point 1102m. From this point, hike west down into the Fribotn basin, and locate a trail that runs close to the river, on the east side. Follow this trail all the way to Øyaset.
The weather for this day was promised to be outstanding. Thus, I decided to continue on my mountain list, based on primary factor. Tverrfjellet was number 23 on the list, and I knew it was located in the Vinje area. The height (1118m) was perfect. I expected the snow line to be about 900m, and it wouldn't be too much of a strain with the dog in the backpack.
I left the trailhead at Vinje at 12:45PM. A little disappointed that I couldn't drive up to Øyaset when the dog laid down already at the trailhead. As always, arguments were useless, and 8Kg was added to the backpack way too early. But the road had a gentle ascent, and I made good progress towards Øyaset. A bit up the road, Troll agreed to walk. Sweeping 50m behind. Not very happy.
There were people at the cabins, and I was told there were trails on both sides of the river. I chose to ascend Svolefjell first, and stayed on the left-hand side of the river. Troll was once again enjoying the backpack. Up through the forest, the trail was good, and I started planning on letting the dog out. In the middle of my planning, Troll fell out of the backpack, taking one roll after the other and ended up in a ditch further down. No sounds and no complaints. Just a sorry looking dog limping back onto the trail. It was just like he was saying - don't mind my broken leg, I'll carry on. During my medical examination, it was quite clear that he was confined to the backpack for the rest of the hike.
I hit snow at approx. 800m, and my eyes fell onto the steep east ridge that was snowfree. And I avoided snow almost all the way to the Svolefjellet summit (1094m), where we took a 20min break at 15:10PM. From the summit, I had to follow snow all the way to the Svolefjell-Tverrfjellet saddle. As long as I stayed away from rocks, the snow carried my weight sufficiently. From the saddle, I followed naked rock all the way up to the plateau, where I once again had to walk on snow. I reached Tverrfjellet summit at 17:00PM, and enjoyed the great views from the summit. Troll got his .. hardly earned .. lunchbox, while I took pictures. The weather was just great, and I laid down on the summit. Troll came limping over, jumping onto my chest. And there we spent 15 minutes, just enjoying every inch of living.
From Tverrfjellet, I continued over to another high point further south. This area is a nightmare in fog if you don't know where the summit is located. There are numerous high points which all look the same height. The snow had softened quite a bit during the afternoon, and I was on the border of wishing I had brought skis. The terrain in general is great for skiing. Then we headed down to the basin and followed a trail on the east side of the river back to Øyaset. At the cabins, I spent some time talking to a couple spending the week-end at the cabin. Troll was literally all over the place, and I wondered why he wasn't limping anymore. But when it was time go, he could barely walk to the backpack ... And some say dogs don't have a personality! We reached the car 19:05PM and had 2,5 hours of driving back to Bergen ahead of us. In this weather, the drive was pleasure only.
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