Heilhornet seen from the air
In many ways, Heilhornet defines the start of the beautiful and characteristic Helgeland coast line. Soon after you enter Nordland Fylke while driving northbound on highway 17, Heilhornet rises sharp and mighty above the road. Located on a peninsula just south of Holm and north of Foldereid, Heilhornet joins the "1000m club" - 85 Norwegian mountains whose primary factor exceeds 1000m.
Despite the intimidating appearance, Heilhornet is a mountain that most people can reach through a fairly short hike. A "T" marked trail will take you all the way to the top, and a rope will provide handhold when the terrain gets a little narrow and spooky. It is probably fair to say that the mountain is somewhat more tricky in winter dressing. In order to reach the summit, one has to cross a narrow, unsecured pass that could offer potential problems in icy conditions.
The views are well worth the undertaking of a hike with 1000m vertical gain. You may a.o. enjoy the views towards well known mountains such as Syv Søstre, Okstindan and Børgefjell. The mountain is probably not well known outside its district, and is seldom mentioned along with other famous Helgeland coastline landmarks such as Torghatten, Hestmannen, Dønnamannen, Lovund and Trænstaven. This is of course a shame, as Heilhornet, along with Blåfjellet (Svenningdal) are the most prominent on the Sør-Helgeland coastline (west of highway E6).
Heilhornet has a primary factor of 1055m towards the higher Gisen (1167m). The saddle is found at Kjeleidet. The 5m contour (Norgesglasset detail map) passes through with considerable margin. The saddle height is interpolated to 3m.
Source: Petter's list of the most prominent mountains in Norway.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Highway 17 - Heilhornet (all seasons)
From Trondheim, follow highway E6 northbound. At Gartland, north of Grong and south of Harran, exit onto highway 775 towards Brønnøysund. At Høylandet, follow highway 17 northbound. Cross the Nordland/ Sør-Trøndelag border north of Foldereid and locate Heilhornet Gjestgiveri on the left-hand side of the road after passing Årsand. Approx. 1,5Km after Heilhornet Gjestgiveri, locate parking on the left-hand side of the road. A red arrow is pointing towards the trail, next to a stream on the right-hand side of the road. If you arrive from the north via ferry, the trailhead is approx. 17,3Km from Holm.
Follow the "T" marked (red paint) trail left of a small stream opposite the parking. The trail climbs steep up to a birch forest. The trail is visible and easy to follow. Parts of this route can be wet and muddy. The trail then climbs towards a crossing ridge that connects Kula and Heilhornet. The trail divides on this ridge, and the trail towards "Lesshornet" forks off to the left. It is natural to assume that the sharp ridge to your left is "Lesshornet", but infact this ridge is "Kula". "Lesshornet". is located further north.
The "T" trail leads you into the valley between Kula and Heilhornet before it turns south-west and climbs onto a ridge west of Heilhornet. The trail then continues around Heilhornet and climbs the summit ridge directly from the south. The terrain below 800m is easy to hike. The terrain above is mostly boulder.
On the summit ridge, you will have to pass a small saddle which is secured by ropes functioning as a handrail. The passage is narrow, but the ropes allow for a safe passage. Just before the summit, you pass another saddle, where there are no ropes. In dry summer conditions, this passage is a light scramble. In winter conditions, watch your step. If you slip, you will have an unpleasant slide down one of gullies. Sliding down the southern gully will be very bad. Follow the red paint to the summit and the summit cairn. If you aim to return on a different route, then the north-east ridge might be your best bet (the grade is unknown to me). The west ridge is for certain a serious undertaking, where ropes seem to be mandatory. There is also a north-west ridge that connects to the west ridge that seem to offer a challenge to mountaineers.
I was going to Brønnøysund to pick up the dog after the summer, and asked my friend Petter if he wanted to come along. I knew that there were at least two peaks located not too far from Brønnøysund that he would like to see on his list of climbs. Heilhornet was one of them. He fancied the concept, and we agreed to attempt a traverse across Syv Søstre near Sandnessjøen and a hike up to Blåfjellet in Svenningdal. All peaks were among the top 100 Norwegian peaks, measured on primary factor.
Sep. 26, We flew from Bergen to Trondheim, rented a car and drove to the Heilhornet trailhead via Høylandet. Syv Søstre was on the agenda for the following day, thus we were in some hurry to climb Heilhornet, drive to Brønnøysund and reach two ferries before checking in to the hotel in Sandnessjøen. But the weather forecast for the next day was bad, and we decided to spend the night in Brønnøysund and climb Blåfjellet near Svenningdal instead. Then we would complete the project by hiking Syv Søstre the day after the next. Hopefully in OK weather.
This was the plan when we left the Heilhornet trailhead 12:40PM. It had taken us less than 4 hours to drive from Værnes to Heilhornet. The weather was OK, but the clouds swept the summit off and on. The initial climb up the forest was steep and strenuous, but we kept a good pace. We reached snow at approx. 600m, but it was surprisingly easy to hike in the boulderfield. The red paint on rocks was visible, and the route (although obvious) was easy to follow.
The first "feature" was a very narrow saddle passage on the main ridge towards the summit. This passage was secured by ropes for handhold, but there was no reason to use the rope. Walking upright across the saddle was easy. Shortly after, we ran into another narrow saddle crossing. This was a bit more tricky and called for some caution due to the snow covering normal good handholds. Above this saddle we scrambled up among large rocks, realizing we probably were slightly off route. A seemingly easier route was seen down on the right hand side.
Just as we reached the summit 14:40PM, the clouds left the mountain, and sunshine made this summit a wonderful place to be. After the usual photo and GPS rituals, I took a short westbound walk to look at the west ridge. This ridge looked evil. Sharp and icy. Surely a dream for crazy mountaineers. We were not in this category and returned the same route 14:55PM. On our way down, the clouds yet again covered the summit, and we felt a bit blessed. We reached the car 15:25PM, 1.5 hours after we left the summit. Then we headed for Brønnøysund before continuing to Blåfjellet and Svenningdal the next day.
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Pictures are presented in the order they were taken.
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