I was checking the map to see if Jonstein came in on the top-3 list of highest mountains in Jondal kommune. I had always associated Jonstein with Jondal, and was surprised when I noticed that Jonstein belongs to Ullensvang kommune. The Ullensvang/Jondal kommune border passes 495m north of the summit.
As with Gygrastolen, Samlen, Melderskin and Ulvanosa, Jonstein is one of the Folgefonnhalvøya (Folgefonna peninjonstein) distinct landmarks when viewed from the east side from Hardangerfjorden. Perhaps because of this characteristic shape, the mountain is very popular. A number of cairn paths (class 1) takes you safely up to the summit, and the mountain can be quite crowded on a warm summer's day. In winter, the situation is different, and in addition to a long ski-trip, be prepared to use crampons and axe in order to ascend the summit block.
The eastern views from the summit are obscured by the higher Solnuten and Torsnuten, and Saksaklepp blocks most of the southern views. There is however more than enough great views towards the west and the north to justify the hike. In addition, you can admire the fine west side of Solnuten, which you have to be high on the mountain to admire. Saksaklepp, Oksli and Jonstein blocks the view towards Solnuten when you look from the high Kvamskogen mountains.
Jonstein's primary factor towards the higher Oksli is 214m. The saddle is found approx. 1Km SE of the summit, between lakes 1123m and 1092m. The trail from Botnen to Sørfjorden follows this saddle, which is defined by the 1140m contours. The saddle height is interpolated to 1130m.
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.
Botnen - Jonstein - Kringlehaugen round-trip (summer)
From Bergen, follow highway E16 (Oslo). At the Trengereid roundabout, turn right onto highway 7 and follow it all the way to Norheimsund by Hardangerfjorden. In the highway 7/49 junction in Norheimsund, turn right. Drive approx. 12,3Km and exit left down to the ferry in Tørvikebygd (signed "Jondal"). Take the Tørvikebygd-Jondal ferry (NOK 60,- for passenger cars per July 2004).
From the road junction in Jondal, go straight ahead when you get onto highway 550 just after the ferry. This happens very sudden, so be prepared. Follow the road towards Folgefonna ski-centre for approx. 7,9Km, where you arrive by a self served fee booth. The fee per July 2004 was NOK 60,- for passenger cars. Write your car's registration number, your name, the date and the amount on the main envelope and the copy (which you tear off). Keep the copy in your car and drop the main envelope in the mailbox. In summer, lots of cars can quickly pile up here (hint: bring your own pencil). After approx. 9,8Km, turn left onto an unsigned gravel road. This is the road to Botnen. Follow this road for 3,8Km. This is not quite the end of the public road, but this is where people park. Park here.
Follow the gravel road. The road soon turns into a mountain road - 4WD quality higher up. The road switchbacks up towards Skarvabotnen and ends at approx. 920m elevation. Follow a "T" route that runs all the way to Sørfjorden up to approx. 1000m, where a cairn trail forks off to the left (at this point, you still don't see lake 1014m - Skarvabottsvatnet). The start of this cairn trail is marked with rocks forming an arrow. The route upwards is quite natural. First a 240m pitch heading northwest, then a 440m pitch towards the east before it continues northbound towards the summit. A distinct grassy pitch takes you up the summit block. This is the steepest part of the route, but unless you mean to, you will not be falling down here. The summit is marked by a proper cairn and a trail register.
Descend your ascent route, or read on for a description of an off-trail round-trip. From the summit, head northwest along the summit block. You will arrive a serious cliffband system, but pay attention to the visible path and cairns, and they will guide you down to the level below. The route runs to your left, coming from the summit.
The ridge towards Skoltane curves around lake Bottsvatnet, and it is wise that you stay in center of this ridge to avoid losing your vertical gain. You may see cairns and paths that run down towards the lake. Yes, people go down here, but these routes are not described here. Having passed Kringlehaugen, it is up to you when you want to start the descent. The route on the map runs in partly steep terrain, but unless you run into fog, it is quite clear where you should go. When you enter the forest, then follow the terrain wherever it feels natural. Either way, you need to descend to the west end of lake Bottsvatnet. Continue across Søthaugane and just before the stream from the lake, you should run into a trail. Turn right and follow the trail down to a bridge. Cross the river here and follow the trail back to the parking.
Trip Report July 11 2004
The weather this Sunday wasn't meant to be all bad. However, the low clouds in Bergen didn't tell me anything, and I called my friend Ketil down by Samnangerfjorden. I asked about the weather, and he told me that Burlifjellet was not seen due to clouds. I decided I would take my chances and invited him along for a trip to Jondal. Unfortunately, he had a full schedule and had to pass. I had been thinking about Jonstein for weeks, and now was just the time to do it.
When I reached Samnangerfjorden, Ketil's weather report still was valid, but on Kvamskogen, Tveitakvitingen was cloud-free. My hopes for a sunny day were rising, but I couldn't get a clear picture before I reached Hardangerfjorden. By the time I reached Norheimsund, the day had turned into a bright and sunny day, with only a few clouds covering the Jondal mountains. Jonstein was proudly towering above it all, cloud-free. The advices I had got so far, suggested I should approach Jonstein from the west. These advices were related to skiing, and I wondered if I could approach the summit from the other side, making a round-trip of it. I asked a crew member onboard the ferry if he knew Jonstein. As it turned out, he did. He had been up there several times, and gave me all the details I needed.
In Jondal, life was hectic as it always is on a warm summer's day in July. Hundreds of tourists were pouring out of tourist buses, summer workers from eastern Europe were selling strawberries and cherries, the ferry crew were in need of relaxing drugs, and a long queue of cars were heading up the one-lane road towards Folgefonna ski-centre, running into one tourist bus after the other. I was thrilled when I could exit onto the quiet road towards Botnen. On this road I actually ran into a lady who I frequently meet on Ulriken. We were both outside the familiar turf, so to speak. Troll cried out in joy when he recognized her. She always pays him special attention when they meet on Ulriken.
I arrived the Botnen parking area and was ready to go by 13:00PM. The road was easy to follow, but I saw Troll's tongue grew longer by the minute. It was tremendously hot, and I fed him water every 5 minutes. After 20 minutes of walking, he was barely moving. When we passed a stream coming down from the mountain, he laid himself in it, and had no intention of leaving it. After putting the dripping wet dog into the backpack, I continued up the mountain. The trail that I didn't know about started exactly where the ferryman had told me, and the cairn trail was easy to follow. At 14:20PM, we arrived the summit, and to my surprise, there were 6 people on top. And 2 more came jogging up from the other side shortly after. For some reason I can't explain, I only sign the trail register if I am alone on a mountain. A lady tried to get me to sign the register. I told her I would do it later, which I never did. I wondered if I had brought the term "weird" to a new dimension, and promised myself I would ponder about this later on. Troll, on the other hand, doesn't know the meaning of being anti-social, and checked out each and every individual on top. Looking for goodies, of course, but they all thought he came around to say hello.
Just as I was ready to leave the summit, the mountain was wrapped in a steam of clouds, removing any view towards my further route. I decided to wait around for a while and see what happened. At 14:45PM, my further route was cloud-free, and we continued down the ridge. I ran into the couple who had been jogging up to the mountain, and we had a small chat before I started to descend down to Botnen. I tried to follow a sheep track down a ridge, but lost it when I reached the forest. Instead of wasting time looking for tracks down a perfectly easy forest, I headed straight down to the lake. When I returned to the trailhead, I met three of the people that were on the summit. It was tempting to stay around and chat, as I had 45 minutes before the ferry left. But I was tempted to arrive the ferry early, and left for Jondal. This decision was not a bad one, because three tourist buses arrived the ferry just after I arrived, and the ferry was packed full when it left Jondal. On the ferry, I ran into my neighbours. It's a small world indeed.
Pictures from the July 10 2004 hike
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