A high mountain road takes you deep into the Stølsheimen mountains around lakes Svartavatnet, Storavatnet and Godbotnsvatnet. The Kommune border between Masfjorden and Modalen runs in the middle of these lakes and rivers. The highest mountain (on the Hordaland Fylke side) in this region is Storevasseggi, 1044m. Storevasseggi is recognized as the highest mountain in Masfjorden Kommune, but it is not the highest point in Masfjorden. A higher point (approx. 1070m) is found on Årsdalsryggen's Hordaland side. Just south of the mountains described on this page, you will find Sørdalsnuten (957m), which is the highest mountain in Lindås Kommune. The tri-Kommune border is found between the lakes Godbotnsvatnet and Storavatnet.
The mountains in this region are less characteristic and can hardly be called prominent. But on the other hand they are full of "features" and surprises due to the sometimes complicated terrain (cliffs, drops, etc.) that you can run into in these mountains. I believe I can promise that you will not have a boring day if you set off on an off-trail, summit-to-summit hike in this region.
The mountain road is only accessible (all the way to lake Svartavatnet) in summer and until snow fall. Skiing on top of this road is one way of getting to the mountains in winter. Be careful when you drive on this road. Sheep are all over the place, and the loose gravel can easily take control of your car if you brake or drive too fast.
A marked "T" trail runs from Dyrkollebotnen to Skavlabu (DNT hut). Many drive to lake Storavatnet and connect to the "T" trail from there. It is only a 10-15 minute walk from the car to the "T" trail.
Heights and names
On the M711 map, you will not find the names "Vetlevasseggi" and "Torrisskarfjellet". Instead, you will find the points 980m and 1001m. The names are derived from the 5m contour map on "Norgesglasset" (interactive map on the web). "Tverrfjellet" has a map height of 998m, but the map shows clearly a 1000m contour just NE of this point. From my GPS, I have suggested 1010m as the height for this mountain. "Høganipa" is associated with point 1028m. This is most likely because this point can be seen from Mofjorden. The higher 1039m point is found further north on the ridge, and this is the height I have used on this page.
Høganipa has a primary factor of 229m towards the higher Nordbotnfjellet. The saddle is found north of Trollegilsbotnen, and the last adjacent 20m contours are 820m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 810m.
Tverrfjellet has a primary factor of 70m towards the higher Høganipa. The saddle is found just west of lake 903m, and the last adjacent 20m contours are 940m. Based on the terrain and my GPS readings, I have chosen not to interpolate this height. This mountain is not considered a standalone mountain on my web-site.
Torrisskarfjellet has a primary factor of 173m towards the higher Tverrfjellet. The saddle is found in Torrisskardet, and the last adjacent 5m contours are 830m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 828m.
Vetlevasseggi has a primary factor of 132m towards the higher Torrisskarfjellet. The saddle is found in between point 962m and 1001m, and the last adjacent 5m contours are 850m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 848m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Note: The trail described below is not necessarily the easiest trail to this mountain.
All summits round-trip from lake Storavatnet (summer/autumn)
From Bergen, follow highway E39 towards Førde. From the toll station after Nordhordlandsbrua bridge (toll for passenger cars is NOK 45,- per Aug 2003), follow E39 for approx. 51,4Km and then exit right towards Haugsdal/Fjon. Follow this road for approx. 450m and turn right. Follow this road for approx. 14,7Km to a small turnout (there are several) just before a bridge. The stream from lake Veslavatnet drains to lake Storavatnet here. The 14,7Km road turns from paved to gravel after 3,1Km. As mentioned in the introduction, show caution on this road due to loose gravel and sheep.
Follow the path towards Veslavatnet for a few minutes before you find a good place to get on the ridge up to your right. This is the lower ridge that leads directly to Vetlevasseggi summit. You can head almost straight to the summit. There are numerous broken cliffs as you gain altitude, but these offer no problems.
To descend from Vetlevasseggi to point 962m, it is important that you seek to the right. There are steep cliffs above the saddle, and the terrain looks scary until you are close enough to see the safe route. Use the map, follow the route to the saddle and you will avoid problems.
The terrain from point 962m to Torriskarfjellet is difficult to understand from above. To be on the safe side, move towards the cairn located on the SW end of the 962m ridge. Then follow grass down to the pass between the two mountains. The "T" trail from Dyrekollebotnen to Skavlabu runs here. You can climb Torrisskarfjellet almost anywhere, but I chose to follow the "T" trail NE until I reached the high pass on the trail. Then I climbed directly onto Torrisskarfjellet's north ridge. A small cairn (pile of rocks) marks the summit.
Descending from Torrisskarfjellet to the Torrisskardet pass is the crux (hardest point) on the route if the mountain is wet. I have no good recommendation for a route in wet conditions, and therefore I have to suggest you return to the "T" trail high pass, and approach the pass from the north.
In dry conditions, you can head directly to the pass. There is a cliffband just above the pass, but some convenient natural steps provide a secure path. On your way to the pass, follow a natural route with cliffs to your left.
Climbing Tverrfjellet requires some zig-zaging around cliffs and large rocks. On your way to point 998m, you will run into class 2+ terrain if you don't take the time to look for a walkable route. If you just set a course and follow this, then a few light climbing moves (no exposure, no danger) are necessary to advance over some crossing cliffs. From 998m, descend slightly and head up to the cairn at 1010m (my height suggestion).
From Tverrfjellet, continue NE down to a saddle. Turn right in the saddle and head towards lake 903m. Don't go all the way down to the lake, but try to maintain a course towards the north end of the lake. Some cliffs will be in your way, but they are easily passed. At the north end of the lake, follow a natural route SE that takes you directly to the 1028m cairn. From 1020m, continue across the plateau towards the 1039m point. On your way across, stay left of the high ridge, as there are a collection of cliffs on the middle of the ridge. The 1039m high point is marked with the "Dyrekollebotnen/Skavlabu" trailsign. You see Skavlabu just east of the summit, on the Kupefjellet ridge. The hut is not marked on your map.
Follow the "T" trail across point 996m and down to lake Veslavatnet. At the north end of the lake you should see the trail to lake Storavatnet.
The weather forecast was downright confusing. Storm's web site suggested great weather all over Hordaland, while the TV2 news said that rain showers were expected over most of the country. NRK indicated rain showers in Sogn and by Hardangerfjorden. My original plan was to go after Helgedalsnuten in Etne, which would be a substantial drive and a substantial hike. With seemingly unpredictable weather, I decided to "play it safe" and drive towards Stølsheimen. As I normally try to do the high and hard mountains in August, I was a little disappointed about ending up with Stølsheimen.
I woke up way too early this Saturday morning and decided to drive up there and "get on with it". As I had a feeling of "going to work" on a bad day, I decided to sing old Beatles songs. This normally gets me in a good mood, while it obviously seems to bother the dog. But the dog was 1000Km away on leisure leave, and I could focus on figuring out the words to "Eleanor Rigby". A layer of clouds were covering Bergen's airspace, but further north, things looked much brighter. Literally. I had a good feeling about the upcoming weather, gave up on Eleanor Rigby and started working on the much more complex "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
As I parked the car 07:45AM, sunshine was just about breaking above lake Storavatnet. I was on my way 5 minutes later, and 08:20AM I was on top of Vetlevasseggi. The idea of the route had been born while I was driving from Bergen, and unless I ran into unexpected I would "bag" 3 ranked summits this morning. Due to the high trailhead and relatively low mountains, I felt no large "pride" about the project. But I decided to make a nice day of it anyway. Any mountain is a good mountain, etc.
I was happy about finding a good route down from Vetlevasseggi. I had approached the pass on the left hand side and found myself on top of a 60m high cliff. It was obvious that the route - if any - would be further right. After some looking around in the hillside I found the route. It would have been much easier if I had sought right from the beginning. That said, the hillside is fairly steep and difficult to read from above. On top of point 962m, it was further difficult to understand the best route to the pass below Torriskarfjellet, but it didn't take long to figure this out, and I arrived the summit 09:25AM. I had a small break for food while I enjoyed the views towards Sørdalsnuten.
I was curious if I would run into trouble on the way to Torrisskardet pass. I headed directly down to the pass on flat rock, which would be very dangerous if wet. In case of a fall you would slide all the way down towards the pass and off the cliffs above the pass. But the rock was dry and offered no problems. Down in the pass I was clearly bothering some sheep that were taking a small nap in the shade. I could tell by their voices. The route up to Tverrfjellet was not quite straightforward, but fun. A number of traversing cliffs give you the option to go around, or climb up and across. I chose the latter option in order to give my right hand some practice. Although not broken, something was clearly ripped inside the hand after a stupid fall on Skorafjellet, more than a month ago. 10:19AM I reached the Tverrfjellet summit and could for the first time get a good look at the further route towards Høganipa.
I decided to go after point 1028m in addition to the high point. At the north end of lake 903m I ran into running water for the first time, and spent some minutes satisfying thirst. After a quick hike up the ridge towards point 1028m, I reached the cairn 11:05AM. After a 5 minute stop, I headed across the plateau and reached the goal for the day 11:30AM. I had been hiking for only 3,5 hours and had run out of mountains. The only nearby mountains were Storevasseggi and Sørdalseggene. I had done these mountains a few years ago, and decided that I might as well head home and save some energy for a more advanced project the following day.
While following the "T" trail on the way back to the trailhead, I met a group of 4 senior citiziens on the way from lake Storavatnet to Skavlabu. Then they would return the same route. They were just going up there for a lunch out in the open. After a nice chat, I continued downwards and reached the car 12:33PM. Before heading home I drove up to lake Svartavatnet to find the full distance of the mountain road. It was 18,3Km. Now I had completed all ranked summits from Sørdalsnuten to the Sogn og Fjordane border near Svadfjellet, and was all in all satisfied with the hike.
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Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format.
Pictures are presented in the order they were taken.
Errata: Vetlevasseggi are on a few pictures named Vellevasseggi. This is wrong.
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