The large plateau south of Voss and north of the Hardangerfjord is well known for its two large lakes - Bjølsegrøvvatnet and Torfinnsvatnet. There are few mountains that stand out from this flat terrain, but Karaldenuten and Grim are two exceptions. Hikers and skiers both from Ålvik (by the Hardangerfjord) and Voss share this area. Even if these mountains are located quite far away from Voss, access by car to Rong makes these mountains very accessible. In the autumn, you will also find many hunters up here.
The views are astounding. Especially the east views towards Hardangervidda, Ulvik mountains and Hardangerjøkulen glacier. On a clear day, Hårteigen on Hardangervidda can be easily identified.
Karaldenuten has complicated terrain, but is easily approached from the north. Other directions requires knowledge about the terrain. Grim, which is the highest peak on the Herdabreida massif, is easily accessible from the south and north. Stay away from Grim's west side unless you know this mountain very well. Karaldenuten's complex south side becomes much more accessible in winter (for skiers).
Karaldenuten (M711: 1295m, Ø.K: 1295,24m) has a primary factor of 357m towards the higher Hjortahorgi (1351m). The saddle is found at the south end of lake 922m. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (5m contours), you cross the 940m contours on the high route, but not 935m. The saddle height is interpolated to 938m.
Grim (M711: 1238m, Ø.K: 1242,5m ~ 1243m) has a primary factor of 285m towards the higher Karaldenuten (1295m). The saddle is found just N of Grubbanovi. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (5m contours), you cross the 960m contours on the high route, but not 955m. The saddle height is interpolated to 958m.
Grubbafjellet (M711: 1075m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 70m towards the higher Karaldenuten (1295m). The saddle is found between the two mountains. Ref. M711 (20m contours), you cross the 1020m contours on the high route, but not 1000m. The saddle height is interpolated to 1005m, and not 1010m, because the 1000m contours are dense.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
The below round-trip, which involves terrain outside the regular trails has class 2+ as the most difficult grade. In general, handholds are used for support, not safety. No particular exposed sections, although this hike is more suited for experienced hikers.
Karaldenuten/Grim from Rong (summer/autumn)
Arriving Voss (coming from Bergen), stay on the main street and go straight ahead when E16 turns left. After a few hundred meters, turn right when you see the sign "Rong, 15". Follow this paved road to Rong for 14,8km, and exit right onto a narrow gravel road signed "Ålvik". Follow the gravel road for approx. 900m until the road forks. Go left and find parking 100m higher up.
From the parking, follow the road upwards. After a couple of hundred meters, go through a gate (might be open) and follow the road upwards until the road ends and turns into a trail. The trail takes you to the north end of lake 653.
From the lake, the Rong-Ålvik trail runs on the left hand side of the lake. The direct trail to Karaldenuten begins by the lake and runs to your right, steep up the mountain. Look for the "Karaldenuten" sign by the lake. The trail is marked with green ribbons in the beginning. The trail climbs quickly up to an obvious ridge and turns west for a little while before the direction turns south towards the summit. You have Grim in view on your left hand side all the way, except for the short part where the trail runs towards west. The terrain is complicated, but good route work has been done, and cairns will lead you safely all the way to the top.
Descending Karaldenuten towards the south can be a little complicated. Head south towards the lakes far below you, until you see lake Bjølsegrøvatnet on your right hand side. At this point, you're standing on top of a large cliff, and it is a long way down. Start moving towards the east (your left) and locate a large cliffband that runs down on your left hand side (at least 4-5 meters high).
When possible, start moving towards the pass that tops out on Grubbafjellet, without losing too much elevation. When you reach the pass, you will see that it is too steep to downclimb. Climb up a steep, short stretch to the top of the pass. Then, set distance towards Grubbanovi, and increase elevation gradually. The Grubbanovi summit is marked with a modest standing rock.
The tough part is to get down from Grubbanovi, and routefinding is required. The rule of thumb is to go all the way to what appears to be a steep cliff. The terrain isn't always as steep as you may think, and a way down presents itself when least expected. On the way down, you also have good time to determine your route up Grim. Cross over to Grim withouth losing too much elevation. You can pretty much hike straight up to Grim, only correcting course due to two cliffbands along the way.
Set course directly for Grubbastølen cabins at the south end of lake 653. If you don't descend your ascent route, you will have to find a way down the cliffband. The direct route to the lake will give you a cumbersome hike through dense forest. A better alternative is to move towards the pass below Grubbafjellet with the intention to get away from the forest and get on the Rong-Ålvik "T" trail as soon as possible. Once on the "T" trail, follow this to the north end of lake 653 and then down to your car.
It was time to do some serious Hordaland mountains again, and I had promised myself to visit these mountains after my last hike to Skrott above Øystese. The drive from Bergen to Rong took about two hours. I rang the doorbell on one of the houses up at Rong and learned that I could drive on the gravel road for about 1km before a gate prevented further access.
The plan was to follow the "T" trail all the way to Grubbafjellet (which doesn't become a "T" trail until you are beyond lake 653), but at lake 653 I noticed a "Karaldenuten" sign, and changed my mind. I followed the green ribbon trail up the mountain, and was very happy with the cairns when there were no more trees to place ribbons on. The cairns were easy to follow through a complex terrain. Troll caved in already at the lake, so I had some extra weight in the backpack on the way to Karaldenuten. I reached the summit in 1,5 hours (from the car) and had to put on extra clothes due to a furious wind.
I didn't like the looks of Karaldenuten's south side, neither from the map or from what I could see. Still I headed south until I was looking down a mighty steep drop. Then I changed course towards the east, and hoped that I could find a shortcut to Grim foothills without losing or gaining elevation. I ran into a cairn trail which I suspected would have led me down into the basin, so I ignored it. I did good until I reached the pass that runs down from Grubbafjellet. The pass was way too steep to downclimb, and I had to climb a steep part to get above the pass. Once above the pass, there were no more problems, and I reached Grubbanovi shortly after. The views were amazing, and only the cold wind gave me a reason to move on.
Getting down Grubbanovi wasn't all easy. Some light ledge climbing was called for, and what appears as insignificant from distance, gets all the more serious up close. Grim's south side looked suddenly much more steep than from Karaldenuten, but again, the view and the angle played tricks on me. It was steep enough to be strenuous, but never exposed. From Grim, I had a clear view of my route Karaldenuten. On Karaldenuten, I had also determined my descent route from Grim. On Grim, I had troubles understanding this route, but a distinct cairn route in the north-west direction put my worries away. For some reason, I abandoned the cairn trail and found myself in trouble over Grim's west face. I decided to hike around the mountain and take my ascent route down. However, I found a pass down the cliff band and didn't have to go all the way back. The hike through the forest was cumbersome, and I cursed myself for ending up in these ugly forests way too often.
I was back at the car 5,5 hours after I left it. Troll had been in the backpack most of the time. This wasn't terrain for a small dog. I made myself useful for the sheep collectors, as I could report 5 stray ones in Grims's west face.
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