Vikanuten seen from the ferry
Vikanuten is located just above Jondal and as often with mountains located close to places like this, good trails lead the way up the mountain. One trail runs up from the south-east, but the most popular trails runs up from Jondal in the north-west. Even though the trails are quite good, they still challenge your physical condition. 1000m straight up is a good work-out!
Vikanuten offers good eastern views towards mountains such as Saksaklepp (highest in Jondal Kommune), Veranuten, Store Kvanndalsnuten and Gråheivarden. And the Folgefonna glacier lies behind these mountains. The western views are superb, offering a clear view from Fusa in the south to the Ulvik region in the north.
Vikanuten has a primary factor of 591m, towards the higher St. Kvanndalsnuten. The "saddle" is at Tverrbekka, and the pass is defined (Norgesglasset) to 484m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Sætveit - Vikanuten traverse (spring)
From Bergen, follow E16 towards Oslo and exit onto highway 7 at Trengereid. Drive over Kvamskogen, towards Norheimsund. At Norheimsund, exit right onto highway 550 towards Jondal. Follow this road for approx. 12,5Km to the ferry at Tørvikebygd. Take the Tørvikebygd - Jondal ferry. From Jondal, exit right towards Hesvik and drive approx. 1Km and locate the "Fjellstøl/Vikanuten" trailhead on the left hand side of the road. It is possible for 2-3 cars to park by the trailhead.
The trail does not begin by the trailsign. It begins on the other side (right) of the fence! Follow the narrow trail that gets wider as it heads into pine forest. A stream is on your right. The trail is wide and visible, although not marked. After a while the trail pops out of the forest, close to the river, and you arrive the "Fjellstøl/Vikanuten" junction (signed). Follow the trail towards "Fjellstøl".
The steepness of the trail now increases significantly, but is still easy to hike and to follow. After the pine forest, the trail runs through birch forest before the terrain turns more open. The trail leads you directly to the cabins at Fjellstøl. Look for the "Vikanuten" trailsign behind the cabins, and follow the "T" markings on the rocks. The route follows for the most part a direct approach to the summit. A spring route would normally mean that the skis have to come on around Fjellstøl, and that you would have navigate around the high rocks on the high ridge. The 1075m summit is denoted by a surprisingly small cairn.
Look forward to your descent route! Find a route down to the pass just west of the summit, and advance up to the 1065m point. The route down is obvious - follow the high ridge straight down. Note that it takes a little while before you actually see the entire descent route. It is steep in the beginning. Note that if there is hard snow on the ridge, it is crucial that you bring crampons. An axe would also be recommended. If you slide on this route, you could easily fall off the mountain. There is no safety margins on your left hand side. Sliding to your right would send you down in the gully between the ridge and mountain, which wouldn't cause nearly the same consequences.
At approx. 650m, you reach a small plateau, where the trail drops down steep towards the west (your direction down the ridge have been north-west). This route is clearly best without snow. It is simply essential that you are able to find the trail (which is "T" marked) that will guide you around the cliffs down in the forest. This trail is more narrow than the Fjellstøl trail, but is easily followed. It is also steeper, but offers no particular difficulties. As you reach the main stream, cross it and join the trail you came up.
The unstable weather in the last week made it difficult to determine where to go this Sunday morning. I had some candidates, but then I decided to work on my Top 20 primary factor list, and settled for Vikanuten by Jondal. While driving towards Hardangerfjorden, I enjoyed the great weather over Bergen and Kvamskogen. As I got Hardangerfjorden in view, I noticed that clouds were wrapping around the higher summits. Come what may. There was no turning back now.
After crossing Hardangerfjorden on the ferry, I arrived the trailhead 10:45AM, and started to walk 10:50AM. I had decided to bring the skis, just in case. As I walked through the pine forest, it was not possible to prevent "tons" of pine needles pouring down on me. I had a couple of stops before I reached Fjellstøl, where the sweater had to come off for a rinse. When I came to the Fjellstøl/Vikanuten trail junction, I got confused. There was only one route on my map, and it led to Fjellstøl. I assumed that the Vikanuten trail crossed the river and ran up the ridge that I had seen from the ferry. It looked steep, and I wondered if this trail was only good for summer. I decided to stick to Fjellstøl trail.
The views at Fjellsøl were wonderful, but it was not the moment for sitting down, enjoying life. A furious wind and snowdrift made sure the winter clothing came on pretty fast. At 700m, I put the skis on, even if I could have hiked on rock yet for a good while. Manouvering around all the naked rock was cumbersome. The terrain was not straightforward. The ridge was long, and with the strong wind, I really got the high mountain feeling. Even if I hadn't reached 1000m. Familiar views rose in the east. I identified Saksaklepp, which I hiked a couple of years ago. I remembered the incredible wind. It was the only time I couldn't open the car door due to the wind. I had to exit on the passenger side.
I reached Vikanuten summit 13:05PM, 2h:15m after leaving the trailhead. Not very fast, but all the stops along the way took time. After a 10 minutes pause at the summit, I decided to ski over the other high point and get a view of the other route down. I noticed some real bad clouds over Rosendal, and it looked like it was pouring down. I put concerns about the weather aside, and concentrated about a possible new descent route. It was mighty steep in the beginning. I could see a few meters of snow, a rock, and then the fjord. I felt adrenalin inside, and decided to return my ascent route. There was some hard snow further up, and with this type of steepness, I would have felt safer with some iron tools. After hiking back up for about a minute, I felt this was a shameful exit. I hadn't even explored the further route. I put the skis on the backpack, and walked back down. After a while, I got the entire route in view, and it looked easy enough. I realized that I *had* to find the trail somewhere down there, as it would be impossible to navigate off-trail down the steep forest.
The snow was soft, and I felt quite safe while going down. If the snow had been hard, I would never have attempted this route without crampons and axe. As I got close to a small plateau where the snowline ended, I prayed that I would see the trail. And I as I entered the plateau, there it was! A great relief rushed through my body. Once on the trail, I kept a good pace down the mountain. A couple of places, the trail offered some exposure, and I found this route quite interesting. Brutally steep, when going up this way. With the skis on the backpack, further tons of pine forest poured over me before I joined the trail I came up. I reached the trailhead at 14:10PM, and ripped the sweater off *almost* before I got the backpack off. This was an emergency. 15 minutes later, I was waiting in line for the ferry, and the heavenly gates opened up. The mountains disappeared in rainclouds, and I certainly enjoyed this superb timing.
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Pictures from other hikes:
Other hordaland mountains Other Jondal K. mountains westcoastpeaks.com