Rødsfjell seen from highway
Rødsfjell can be seen by anyone driving highway 48 between Tysse and Mundheim. When you pass Kilen, you see Rødsfjell on your right, in the direction of Sævareid. Rødsfjell becomes rather anonymous between the higher Fusa mountains. In return, Rødsfjellet is an execllent vista point towards the same mountains.
Despite my lack of knowledge about all trails, I claim that the hike to the summit is not necessarily trivial. But although not difficult, Rødsfjell is perhaps better suited for hikers customed to cumbersome terrain. The mountain can be accessed from the north (Eikelandsosen area) and the south (Sævareid). Due to many steep cliffs, the good access points are few.
Rødsfjell (M711: 589m, Ø.K: 591m) has a primary factor of 348m towards the higher Storehorga/Fusafjellet (665m) The saddle is found N of Storemyra. Ref. Økonomisk Kartverk (5m contours), you cross the 245m contours on the high route, but not 240m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 243m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
The trail from Solheim to lake Sævareidvatnet is class 1 hiking on good trail. The trail through Langedalen valley is rougher class 1, but has an incredible cumbersome boulder section (large rocks) in the beginning. I am grading this boulder section to class 2+. The hike from Langedalen to the summit is in general class 2, but with some class 2+ sections, dependent on how hard you want to look for an easier alternative.
Sævareid - Rødsfjell (all seasons)
From Bergen, follow E16/RV7 towards Oslo. At the Trengereid roundabout, exit right onto RV7. Drive down to the Samnangerfjord and pass Bjørkheim. Drive through two tunnels after Bjørkheim and exit right onto RV48 (Rosendal/Tysse).
Follow RV48 49Km and exit right onto RV549. Continue on RV549 5,8Km and exit right towards Sævareid Sentrum. Follow this road for 200m and exit right towards Solheim. Drive the Solheim road for 300m and find parking next to a transformer box. Notice a gravel road going up by the box.
Follow the gravel road upwards. Soon, the gravel road turns into a narrow forest road. The forest road runs through Sævareiddalen valley, all the way to lake Sævareidvatnet.
At lake Sævareidvatnet, follow a narrow bridge to the right. Pass a boat shed by the lake, and determine a route across the large boulderfield ahead of you. Head eastbound into Langedalen valley, but stay close to the steep cliffs. After approx. 15 minutes, you will get a break from the steep cliffs that prevent all access up the mountain. The small pass leading up is difficult to see, but you should be able to "sense" that the terrain allows for access here. If you are following the vague track that runs up, the track will take you away from the pass before it changes direction, and takes you to the top of the pass. Make a mental note of the terrain, as you will probably return the same way.
When the track takes you down to the small stream near the top of the pass, you have a cliff right ahead of you. Pass this cliff on the right hand side. You will immediately run into another cliff. Go up to the left when you are in front of this cliff. Within a minute or two, you are close to a small lake on your left. Ahead of you is open terrain, with a long cliffband behind. Notice a ledge that diagonally traverses the cliffband's left-hand side. Find a way across and go up this ledge.
After ascending this ledge, you have a clear view to the summit, which is on the other side of the valley in front of you. Notice the lake below you and a narrow gully that runs straight up towards the summit. This is your ascent route. Go down to your left and find a small pass that takes you down to the lake. From the lake, go to the bottom of the long gully. The lower part of the gully is a small boulder section, which you climb up. Above the boulder section, continue up towards the high end of the gully, which is a dead end. Before the high end, seek right and find a way up nearby.
When above the gully, you're nearly there. You have the summit cairn right in front of you. Cross a small pass without loosing too much of your vertical gain. Just below the summit, climb up a steep rock section, or seek left to bypass it. From the main summit, you also see a cairn on the north side of the plateau. From the northern cairn, you have better views towards Ottanosi and Gjønakvitingen. Descend your ascent route.
The day before was such a waste. One failed attempt near Bergsdalen, and one failed attempt on Lønahorgi in Voss. The two Ulriken hikes later in the evening didn't mend the misery. Today, I wouldn't gamble with the snow, and headed south. I decided to go to Sævareid and hike Rødsfjellet. Not very high, but at least I finally would get to know that particular area.
It's not always hilarious fun to get up early week-end mornings in the winter, when the house is freezing cold. In these mornings, I spoil myself with newspapers, coffee and fresh bakeries at the local gas station before I get going. I also make sure Troll gets some calories to have in store for later on.
At Sævareid, I found the trailhead right away, and we were on our way 11:15AM. Troll seemed eager and willing, there was some blue sky, and there was a trail all the way to the lake we were heading for. Life couldn't get better. And right then, in my finest moment, Troll refused to continue. These moments are actually excellent training in self-control. I put the dog into the backpack with a smile. While boiling inside. We arrived the lake after 35 minutes, and I was confused about the large boulder section which we apparently had to cross. I considered going around on the frozen lake, but wanted to see if there was a natural route across the boulder. There didn't seem to be. After the labyrint games, I started to focus on how to get up the cliffs. The cliffs by the lake seemed like something that could be attempted in summer. Right now there was way too much ice.
I continued into the Langedalen valley, and was convinced that an opening would present itself. After 15 minutes, I got my opening, and shortly after, I was "on the mountain". I was now by a small lake, looking at a cliffband that had to be climbed. I noticed a diagonal ledge that turned out to be a really nice access route to the next level. Above the ledge, I watched another valley in front of me, with the main summit towering behind. The cliffs under the summit looked cumbersome and steep, but I focused on a narrow gully that was heading towards the summit. I decided to stick to it, and play the rest by the ear.
The route up from the valley to the summit required some routefinding and thinking. Trivial routes became difficult in the icy landscape. But we eventually reached the summit at 13:15PM, two hours after leaving the car. I gave the dog his far-from-earned lunchbox, traded for a promise that he would hike down. The views were much better than I had imagined. I quickly spotted landmarks, such as Gjønakvitingen, Folgefonna glacier, Tysnes, Sveningen, and much more.
We left the summit 13:30PM. Troll kept his promise and walked - full of fear - down the steep mountain sides. There was no mistake about his whining as he on many occasions attempted near-vertical sections. Due to the characteristic landscape, it was very easy to find my way back. At lake Sævareidvatnet, I decided to skip the bouldersection, and hiked on the lake back to the forest trail. We reached the car at 15:15PM.
Driving home was good. A new mountain was done. A new area had been visited. The feeling of having worked the body.... The sounds from a tired dog lying next to me. The chocolate and the Coca Cola that I had in the car. The dry and clean sweater I had brought along. The warm car. The sunset behind me, and the crisp clear moon ahead of me. The grand white mountains everywhere. I had done them all. I knew these mountains. Days like this makes me tick...
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