Sandfloegga, Nupsfonn and Store Nup
Nupsfonn is the second highest point on Hardangervidda, 1m higher than the undisputed king of the plateau - Håteigen. Only Sandfloegga (1721m) rises higher on this great mountain plateau. The actual high point is unnamed on the M711 map, and I have taken the liberty to name this point as Nupsfonn. Nupsfonn is also the name of the glacier that is found on the massif, and Nupsfonn is most likely Telemark Fylke's one and only glacier, as the Telemark/ Hordaland Fylke border runs across this plateau.
Further east on the massif, you will find Nupsegga, 1673m. Nupsegga is a ranked mountain on my pages, as the primary factor is barely above 100m. It is however difficult to identify this point, when viewed from the higher Sandfloegga.
Common for this massif, is the number of humps and steep cliffs that define the massif, and is not typical for the Hardangervidda plateau in general. It may also be unclear whether this area should be referred to as Haukelifjell instead of Hardangervidda. For practical reasons, I define the Hardangervidda as everything between highway 7 in the north and highway E134 in the south. Note that Hardangervidda as a National Park is well defined, and covers a smaller area than my personal definition. The southern National Park border runs through the Nupsfonn 1691m summit, so I find it reasonable to describe the mountain as part of Hardangervidda in any circumstance. The terrain gives me associations to the mountains near Alvdal. The distinct humps that rise above the Østerdalen plains often end with "Kletten", a descriptive word of a mountain. Near Nupsfonn, you will find the word "Nup" used extensively, like in "Store Nup", "Vesle Nup", "Nupsfonn", "Trollnup", etc. "Klett" and "Nup" is for me quite similar. The only difference is that "Klett" is a more rounded mountain, while a "Nup" has one steep and dramatic side.
Store Nup and Verjesteinsnuten define the gate to the Nupsdalen valley, and are admired by everyone driving along highway E134 across Haukelifjell. It is the lower parts of these mountains that show the steep southern faces. The summits are hard to see from the highway. A "T" marked trail runs through Nupsdalen, and via Slettedalen, hikers can reach the Middalsbu DNT (Norwegian Mountain Touring Association) hut. Many hikers have walked through Nupsdalen and admired the steep vertical cliffs above, but few take the time to visit these peaks on their way to Middalsbu. Those who don't will never experience the unprecedented view towards lake Ståvatn and the nearby Sveigen, Kistenuten and Vassdalseggi mountains.
Those who take the off-trail approach across this massif can reach Sandfloegga through passages in Trolldalene valley. Sandfloegga is the highest point on Hardangervidda, stretching to 1721m above sea level. In any circumstance, when hiking off-trail in these parts, be prepared to find numerous cliffs blocking your way, forcing you to look for ways around any obstacles. This is high and serious mountain terrain.
Nupsfonn has a primary factor of 201m towards the higher Sandfloegga (1721m). The 1500m contour lines meet in several places near Trolldalane valley, and I have interpolated these points to 1490m.
Store Nup has a primary factor of 111m towards the higher Nupsfonn (1691m). The last 20m adjacent contour lines in the pass are 1560m, and I have interpolated the saddle to 1650m.
Verjesteinsnuten has a primary factor of 300m towards the higher Nupsfonn (1691m). The saddle is found on the top of Nupsdalen valley, and the last 20m contour lines are 1360m, and I have interpolated the saddle to 1350m.
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.
Nupshallene - Nupsfonn - Store Nup - Verjesteinsnuten (summer/autumn)
Locate Lake Ullevåvatnet on Haukelifjell (highway E134). Approx. 4,9Km (not measured by odometer) west of Haukeliseter, turn north onto a small road which crosses the lake. Follow this road for 880m towards Nupshallane and find parking alongside the road.
From the cabin at Nupshallane, follow the "T" marked trail upwards to Nupsdalen valley. The trail climbs to lake Nupstjørna, and passes the lake on the east side. While passing the lake, look up to your right towards streams coming down from the mountain. To the right of these streams, on grass, you can find a steep, but doable shortcut up to Store Nup. I have not hiked this route, but I met an adult couple who did. Continue on the trail which crosses the river, coming from the upper lake. The river crossing is not necessarily trivial when amounts of water are in motion. Seek upwards until you find a place to cross, and then gain the "T" trail higher up. The trail then takes you to lake 1248m, which you pass on the west side. The terrain turns into boulder. Climb up to the upper ridge at the end of the valley. You may encounter snow on this climb, but it is not steep enough to be dangerous. Don't be discouraged by the remote view. Many have passed here before you.
From the top of Nupsdalen, start heading eastbound towards Nupsfonn. You will soon encounter a small cliffband that you pass on the lefthand side. And soon, you will reach point 1519m, and you get a clear view towards the route ahead. You have a significant drop below you. Seek left and follow a ridge that minimizes the loss of vertical gain, and head upwards. Hike between humps until you are below the cliffbands below the summit area. Choose an ascent that you are comfortable with. There are several to choose from. Once above these cliffs, you are heading straight towards Nupsfonn high point, 1691m. The summit cairn is modest, and you will see a small marker, probably defining the Hardangervidda National Park boundary.
From Nupsfonn, you see Store Nup in the south-east. Define a straight line towards Store Nup, and find a way down the cliffbands that you encounter on the way. Especially the cliffbands down to the saddle can be awkward. The hike up to Store Nup is quite gentle, although the summit area consist of smaller cliffbands and ponds that you need to bypass. Return the same route, or make shortcuts on the left hand side.
From the saddle above Nupsdalen valley, start hiking up to Verjesteinsnuten. In the beginning, the terrain is somewhat complex, defined by cliffbands. It is quite obvious how to bypass these cliffbands, although difficult to explain. But once past the lower obstacles, keep a southern route all the way to the summit. The summit has no summit cairn, and you might think that a point further west is higher. In between, further south-west, you see a building with some antennas. I have not verified the purpose of this complex. The other point, on the other side of the summit area, is probably the same height, as it just blocks the western view. However, on the map, the 1650m high point is on the east side of the summit plateau. Descend your ascent route.
I woke up to brilliant weather, and checked out of Haukeliseter after a good breakfast. I had completely recovered from yesterday's hike to Sandfloegga, but Troll seemed to be quite tired this morning. After locating the trailhead by Nupshallane, we left the car 08:50AM. I had brought my sunscreen from the '98 Hawaii trip, and suspected it wouldn't be equally efficient as back then. The hike up through Nupsdalen valley was nice, and Trolled seemed happy with being "back on the job". At 10:20AM, we arrived the top of the valley, and got a beautiful overview of the valley we had hiked. A scenery not easily forgotten.
We then took on Nupsfonn. The route up was a little too rough for the little one, and entered the backpack. There was quite a lot of snowfields still remaining, which provided some variation from the rocky terrain. Especially when going down, the snow was appreciated. It was easy to find a route up to Nupsfonn, although the terrain is dominated by cliffs and boulder. We arrived the summit 11:20AM, and enjoyed the views during a little summit break. Then we headed towards Store Nup. A longer snowfield had to be crossed, and then a rather cumbersome climb down a pile of broken cliffs and large boulder. Despite the obstacles, we reached Store Nup at 12:15PM. Nupsfonn seemed to be much, much higher than Store Nup. The real difference was only 30m, but I perceived it to be closer to 100m. As I enjoyed the great views towards lake Spåvatn, a couple arrived the summit. They had taken a very steep shortcut up from lake Nupstjørna. We chatted for a while, and by 12:45PM, we were on our way back up to Nupsfonn, with Verjesteinsnuten as the next, and final goal for the day.
The descent (including the long hike back up to Nupsfonn) went fairly fast. We were back on top of Nupsdalen already at 14:00PM, and prepared for the final climb of the day. A few cliffbands blocked the way in the very beginning of this ascent, but it was no problem navigating around these cliffs. The 300m hike to Verjesteinsnuten took 45 minutes, and when we got to the top, I couldn't see any cairn. I did see a building with antennas, and further behind, another point that seemed to be higher. I went over to the other point, and concluded it was the same height. This meant that the 1650m summit was the point we visited first. Then it was time to call it a day. A long drive was ahead of us, but first we had to get off the mountain, and hike all of Nupsdalen. We were down from the mountain at 15:30PM (top of Nupsdalen), and hiked quickly through Nupsdalen. On the way down, I paid good attention to the steep shortcut up to Store Nup. It didn't look all too steep, and I wished I could have tried the route. I saw several people in Nupsdalen. Some were only walking around, enjoying the sunshine, while others laid flat on the grass. Tranquility was the theme in the valley. Only broken by this crazy hiker, already planning the ferry from Utne, and had set the pace accordingly.
We reached the car 16:30PM, and was back on the road 10 minutes later. Fortune had given me the last position in a caravan of old buses with exhaust from a different planet. In front was a series of recreation vehicles, and the general speed was about 20Km/h below speed limit. Even in the tunnels. And these tunnels are long. I lost it... But eventually, we reached the ferry at Utne, and I was overwhelmingly disappointed about the line stopped more than 200m away from the ferry. I lost two ferries, but got onboard the third as one of the first cars. On my left was a semi-trailer. And there was only one car in front of me. I prayed that the other car would be fast enough, so we could get onto the Hardangerfjorden road before the trailer. The air was "loaded" when we started up the engines. The car in front of me had all the time in the world, and the semi trailer headed as vehicle #1 out on the road towards Norheimsund. In agony, I turned onto the road towards Granvin. It was a noticeable detour to go via Voss, but at least, there wouldn't be a trailer in front of me. Until I reached Voss, and watched 5 semi-trailers roll out in front of me, while I was waiting for a green light. All these trailers were going all the way to Bergen...
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