Vardefjellet (Cairn Mountain) and the surrounding local humps and bumps form a large mountain plateau where Austfjorden and Masfjorden meet. This mountain plateau fall in the "shadow" of the higher chain of mountains from Ådneburen towards Austlendingen, but is a nice alternative for those do not feel for wandering about in the higher, wilder and steeper Masfjorden mountains.
Kvamsfjellet is an independent mountain, while other named humps (Mjangersfjellet, Tverrlifjellet, etc.) are all leading up to Vardefjellet. The highest point on this plateau is 513m. Another distinct point - 510m, is found 280m further NW. Torskardhaugen is the third distinct point on Vardefjellet, measuring 507m above sea level.
Many trails lead up to this mountain, including paths from Mjangersvågen and Kvingedalsvatnet. The shortest path up to the high point runs from Andvik, and a path takes you up to 460m. From here on, the high point is only minutes away. This is the route described on this web page. I have been confused about Andvik vs Andviki vs Andvika, based on various maps. You will see "Andviki" on my pictures from this area. Rest with the fact that I now have learned that the correct name is Andvik. Thanks to Anders Andvik for making this clear.
Even if the eastern mountains block any view in this direction, they are nevertheless impressive to look at. Adding the scenic Masfjorden region to the picture, this is an easy hike that I would recommend to everyone.
Per May 2005, a new road on the east side of Lake Storevatnet is under construction. This road will lead to a powerplant in Øvredalen, where the water from Lake Meisdalsvatnet drains. This road is not on today's maps and will not be open to the public. Those who are looking fore a more challenging approach to this mountain can walk this road to the south end of Lake Storevatnet and head up a distinct couloir that leads up to Torskardhaugen. This couloir can be seen on the pictures below.
Vardefjellet (M711: 513m, Ø.K: Highest contour is 510m) has a primary factor of 123m towards the higher Bergdropen. The saddle is found SE of Torskardhaugen. Ref. the 1116-I Masfjorden map (20m contours), you cross the 400m contours on the high route, but not 380m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 390m.
Following is a table of the heights based on various sources. I do not claim the GPS to be 100% accurate, but they can be seen in relation to each other. Ø.K. means Økonomisk Kartverk - 5m contours.
|Point||1116-1 map||Ø.K:||My GPS|
|High point||513m||510m high contour||513m|
|2nd high point||-||510m||514m|
|Torskardhaugen||507m||505m high contour||509m|
It was impossible to tell (visually) which of the two high points that actually was the highest.
Notes: Class ratings are in reference to YDS. Click here for more information.
The trails described below are not necessarily the *easiest* trails to this mountain.
Andviki - Vardefjellet - Torskardhaugen round trip (summer/autumn)
From Bergen, follow highway E39 northbound towards Førde. Cross Nordhordlandsbrua bridge and pay toll on the north side of the bridge (NOK 45,- per May 2005). Continue 26,3Km on E39 and turn left onto the road towards Masfjordnes just before Eikefettunnelen.
Follow the Masfjordnes road for 31,9Km and turn right onto a gravel road (this is on the way down to Andvik). Follow the gravel road upwards 400m. You are now at the start of the forest road, located in-between the two uppermost houses. It is possible to park here, but make sure you don't block for traffic to and from the houses. You are now approx. 110m above the fjord.
To the high point
The forest road turns into a wide, boggy forest trail (unmarked) at approx. 240m elevation. The boggy trail turns into a narrow forest path at approx. 300m elevation. The path is marked with plastic ribbons hanging in the trees and takes you past Lykelen and Lake Lykelsvatnet before it climbs towards a cabin at approx. 440m (no more ribbons after Lykelen, but the path is visible enough). It is possible to follow the path from the cabin for a while, but don't focus on paths anymore at this elevation. Head south towards the very distinct top with the large cairn, located 590m southeast (direct line) from the cabin.
If you want to extend your hike, keep heading southbound and follow the terrain where you find it natural. Seek east of Torskardhaugen high point for some great views down to Lake Storevatnet and the couloir from Torskardhaugen down to the lake. Follow an old stone fence up to the top of Torskardhaugen, which is not marked by any cairn.
Either return your ascent route, or walk parallel to your ascent route up to point 510m before you join the path down by the cabin at approx. 440m elevation.
Trip report May 27 2005
May 2005 had been a really bad weather month, and it had been raining all week. But this Friday afternoon was supposed to be OK. My friend Ketil Vevle and I agreed to go for an afternoon walk. I picked Ketil up at his workplace and drove northbound towards Masfjorden. The weather seemed unstable and we had mentally prepared for rainshowers. There were not many mountains left in this area that I hadn't visited, but Vardefjellet was one. The shortest route up to the top was from the north, and the (GPS) map indicated that we should locate a forest road which headed up the mountain.
We were ready to go 17:00PM sharp. My dachshund "Troll" was thrilled about Ketil coming along, and was more than willing to walk. The forest road (which turned into a forest trail) went on and on, much longer than the map indicated. The amount of bush and forest between ourselves and the mountain was getting less and less by the minute. We were quite content when we found the beginning of a forest path where the forest road/trail ended, and shortly after, we were above the tree-line, just S of Lykelen.
When I consulted the map on the way up the mountain, I got confused. I had been convinced that the high point was Torskardhaugen, which was on the south side of this mountain plateau. But why would I then have chosen the northern trailhead? (this decision was made months ago, when I had a quick look at this mountain on the map). When we reached the top of point 513m on Vardefjellet 18:16PM, I announced to Ketil that the mission was accomplished.
But then I started to look towards Torskardhaugen. It was difficult to tell Torskardhaugen was lower or not. Could I have missed a different height on the Ø.K. map on the internet? And then I noticed the unnamed point without a map height further west. A round trip seemed to be necessary. Ketil didn't seem surprised. "You show the way, I walk", he replied. On the positive side, the weather was getting gradually better and we enjoyed sunshine on the way across the plateau.
After visiting the cliffs east of Torskardhaugen (which included some scrambling), we reached the top of Torskardhaugen 18:55PM. My GPS confirmed that this was not the highest point on the plateau, and we moved on towards point 510m. I swore that point 510m was the highest point, all the time until we were standing on top. Nobody could tell for sure anymore. My GPS reported 514m on this point, while it reported 513m on the first high point. It didn't matter. All humps had now been visited, and we could head down the mountain.
Troll had spent the mountain plateau traverse in the backpack (because of the terrain) but was put back on the path when we reached the cabin. Deep evening colors were now making the area more scenic than ever, and Ketil repeatedly expressed his admiration for the well-kept Masfjorden farms. We were back at the car 20:20PM. A nice 3h:20m walk had come to its end, and we could once more enjoy the scenic drive back towards E39. This time in sunshine.
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.
Towards the Vardefjellet high point
Views from Vardefjellet, 513m
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