Snjonipa seen from Toskedalen
These mountains are located north on Osterøy, Northern Europe's largest inland island. Characteristic for this mountain area is wild and steep mountain sides, large cliffs and small lakes. You may go where the terrain lets you, and your options are limited. The views are excellent, as Osterøy is located central between Stølsheimen, Nordhordaland, Dale and Vaksdal mountains. Høgafjellet (868m) obscures however some of the views.
Pina, Kallvikanipa and Snjonipa are located in Vaksdal Kommune. Kvamsfjellet summit may lie on the border between Vaksdal and Osterøy Kommune. The M711 map is not clear about this.
There are several ways to get to these mountains. Toskedalen is an excellent trailhead, and the below route will describe how to hike over all the 4 summits, using Toskedalen as the start point. Also note that Kvamsfjellet can be reached via the standard route from Tysse to Høgafjellet.
Snjonipa has a primary factor of 171m towards the higher Høgafjellet. The saddle is in the Strupedalen pass. Last adjacent 5m contours (Norgesglasset) are 500m, and the saddle is interpolated to 498m.
Kvamsfjellet has a primary factor of 104m towards the higher Høgafjellet. The saddle is in a pass, just east of the summit. Last adjacent 20m contours (Norgesglasset) are 600m, and the saddle is interpolated to 590m.
Pina has a primary factor of 164m towards the higher Vardafjellet. The saddle is in the pass between lakes 286m and 270m. Last adjacent 5m contours (Norgesglasset) are 325m, and the saddle is interpolated to 323m.
Kallvikanipa has a primary factor of 116m towards the higher Pina. The saddle is W of lake Nipetjørn, and the last adjacent 5m contours (Norgesglasset) are 370m. The saddle is interpolated to 368m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Toskedalen - all summits (summer/autumn)
Follow the forest road from Toskedalen towards Snjonipa. At the first forest road junction, go right. In the forest road junction at the valley "Dalen", go left. Follow the road to the road end. By Apr 2003, road end was when the road reached the stream coming down the valley. Cross the stream and look up the hillside. You should notice a route going up the mountain ridge that appears to be a natural route up. You will have dense forest and cliffs up to your left, and a stream to your right. If you don't hear this stream (no water running), then just stay close to the cliffs on your left. There is no trail, but the terrain isn't difficult to follow.
Higher up, move to the left, and the cliffs change from east-west to north-south direction. Don't follow the cliffs all the way to the pass, but find a route up to the right soon (a couple of minutes) after you turned southbound. If you follow the same route as I did, you are following a route that gets more narrow towards the mountain ridge. The last move requires holding on to a tree while moving up to the ridge. The move neither difficult or exposed. In any circumstance, you are very near the summit ridge, so look around for a route you are comfortable with, if you can't find the route described here.
Once on the ridge, you will have the summit plateau in front of you. Climb up in the middle, and move over to the summit cairn, located on the very north side of the summit plateau. There is no guestbook, but a large cairn.
Descend to lake Fjellbotnvatnet by moving over to the south side of the summit plateau. A long cliffband separates the summit plateau from your descent route towards the lake. Stay on the plateau that runs to your left. At the end of this plateau, you should find a good route down to the slopes towards the lake. It is also possible to descend from the summit plateau on the right hand side, near the steep drop towards Moen. This route requires finding a route down a large cliff, and will take you to a plateau below. Once down from the cliffs, head SW, in the direction of the lake. On your route down towards the lake, and closer to the lake, you will have to bypass a couple of steeper sections. Study this picture, and it should be clear where your route should go. So when coming from Snjonipa, curve gradually left until you reach the lake. The route up and down Snjonipa is class 1 or 2, depending on your route. The terrain is too complex to provide a uniform description.
Cross lake Fjellbotnvatnet over the dam concrete at the NW end of the lake. From this point, there seem to be no obvious routes to the top. But as you look towards Kvamsfjellet, you should see a distinct route that looks far easier than the rest. On this picture, look to the right of the Kvamsfjellet/Veafjellet pass. You see a route that is much less steep than the terrain further right. Head towards the beginning of this route. You will find natural "steps" up the hillside. Higher up, you will need to hold on to bushes to secure your ascent. It is not technically particular difficult (class 2+), but there is some exposure the higher you go. Once above the tricky part, head up towards the ridge, and then over to the summit, approx. 1,2Km from the 600m contour. The summit cairn is modest, and there is no guestbook.
Descend from Kvamsfjellet by moving a few meters SE to the high cliff that prevents descent this way. Then follow the cliffs NE (parallel to your ascent route to the summit) for a short section until you reach a very distinct gully that cuts the cliff. Now you have two options: a) Cross the gully, and come around on the other side. Climb down parallel to the gully until you can climb into the gully, almost at the bottom. There is no obvious route down next to the gully, but it isn't difficult to understand where you need to go. Here is the gully seen from below. The descent route just to the right of the gully. The route down the gully is also class 2+. b) From the gully, continue along the cliff for a short distance, and you should see a grassy slope that allows for a safe and easy descent. I only saw this route from below, but it is my assumption that this is a easy route all the way from above.
Once down in the valley, head south towards lake Fjellbotnvatnet and down the pass between points 694m (Kvamsfjellet) and 639m. Pick any route that suits you, and go down to the lake. Head along the shoreline until you reach a point where a shortcut towards the dam appears natural.
From the lake Fjellbotnvatnet dam, locate a trail that runs towards lake Strupedalsvatnet. The trail shortcuts (doesn't follow the shoreline). Pass lake Strupedalsvatnet (which is on your right) and head up the pass on the left-hand side, with the boulder down to your right. It should be rather obvious how you should walk to avoid climbing the boulderfield. From the top of the pass, stay on the right hand side of the valley. At a point where you think it is time to leave the ridge next to the boulder, stay on it. Even if this terrain climbs, you have a gentle descent on the other side.
Once you arrive the forest, with views towards Pina and Kallvikanipa, then take course towards the NW end of lake Bukksteinvatnet. You will see a cabin there. If you want to return now, head down "Dalen" valley and join the trail to Toskedalen. If you want to climb Pina and Kallvikanipa, read on.
This route is a little hard to describe, due to very complex terrain. From the cabin at lake Bukksteinvatnet, follow the northern shore (a trail runs from the cabin and climbs above the shoreline) and set route towards Kallvikastølen. Before you reach the high pass on this route, leave the trail, cross a ridge and a meadow and head towards the cliffs to your far right. At first sight, the cliffs look steep and uninviting. But seek towards these cliffs, and search for a natural path up the cliff. A few technical moves is required in order to advance up the cliffs, but the moves are not difficult. Class 2+ at most.
Make sure you mark the point above the cliffs, before moving on. Next, you will arrive a grassy "channel" that you follow until you see a distinct gully up to the right. Climb the gully on the right and you will top out on the ridge between Pina and Kallvikanipa. Mark this point.
Follow the ridge above the cliffs towards Pina high point. On this route you will need to descend slightly before you enter the summit plateau. There is no cairn that marks the Pina summit.
Return to point where you came up and continue NE through the forest. Stay high above lake Sjuskardtjørni, and set course for lake Nipetjørni. On this route, you will have to cross two passes. When you reach lake Nipetjørni, go around the lake. A trail will take you across a ridge, as you cannot walk around all the way, down by the shoreline. Cross the stream at the east end of the lake and follow a narrow path that runs NW, then turns N, traverses the east side of the mountains, and climbs west to the summit. The summit is not marked by any cairn. Then descend your ascent route.
From the cabin at lake Bukkstenvatnet, follow a trail back to the trail you walked from Toskedalen.
This was the last day of Easter, and I was geared up for a proper hike in a snow-free landscape. The weather was still exceptionally good. Northern Osterøy was an excellent destination, as I saw the opportunity for 4 ranked mountains in one hike. I left the trailhead at Toskedalen at 09:30AM and wondered hard about the route up Snjonipa. It looked mighty steep from distance. I considered approaching the mountain from the south side. However, as I got closer, it was apparent that an easy route up could be found. I reached Snjonipa summit 10:30PM, and spent a few minutes with the great views from the summit. A chain of snowy-white mountains marked the start of the large Stølsheimen mountain range in the north-east.Then I started descending the summit.
All the complex cliff features doesn't show on the map, and I downclimbed a pretty huge cliff through some natural ledges. Down on the lower plateau, I headed for lake Fjellbotnvatnet. I noticed along the way, that I should have stayed on the summit plateau that was up to my left. The end of this plateau provided easier access to the level below. Down to my right was a hilarious drop towards lake Moavatnet. The hike down to the lake was easy. Some light scrambling down some forest sections provided a shortcut to the lake drain, and I crossed the stream over the dam concrete.
On my way down, I had noticed a potential route up Kvamsfjellet, and I headed directly towards this route. It began quite easy. The route provided grassy steps up the mountain. But as it got higher, the exposure was noticeable. In addition, the final moves before safer ground was reached required full focus. The plan was to return this way, but I sincerly hoped that I could find another route down the mountain, as I knew I would produce amounts of adrenalin, going down this route. On Kvamsfjellet, I had a "Fjellvåk" flying above me (don't know the English name for it, but is in the hawk family). After several close encounters with this kind of bird, I took the ice-axe from my backpack, ready for a self-defence. But this guy was apparently just looking around, and he left shortly after. After hiking across the Kvamsfjellet plateau, I reached the summit 12:10PM.
After a small break at the top, enjoying the great views towards Høgafjellet, Another person was reaching the Høgafjellet at the same time I reached Kvamsfjellet. The person was quite visible, as it is only a short distance to this mountain. The footprints up the slopes from Høgefjellshytta indicated that Høgafjellet is frequently visited. I moved over to the summit plateau facing Høgafjellet. The drop made me skip a few heartbeats. It looked totally impossible to descend this way. But I decided to not give up easily, and walked along the steep drop until I reached a wide and exciting gully. In the gully, it was impossible to descend further, so I climbed to the top of the gully and moved to the other side. A couple of detours were necessary, but I finally got to the other side. The gully was way to steep to enter, but I downclimbed the mountain next to the gully. Pretty proud of finding what I thought was the only way down, I walked towards the pass that would take me back to the lake. On my way, I noticed a friendly slope that cut the high cliffs. That appeared to be a much easier route, and I felt somewhat "cheated" on my efforts.
The descent to the lake and the hike through Strupedalen valley was quite easy, despite rough terrain. On my way down Strupedalen, I looked for a route up the south side of Pina, but I was discouraged when I saw the unforgiving terrain. It looked like a mighty steep scramble, and I decided to look for another route up. I then looked for a route up between Pina and Kallvikanipa, and was about to give up when I decided investigate the cliffs from a closer distance. And wouldn't you know, a nice and convenient path appeared between steep cliffs. The route involved some scrambling, but was well within my capabilities. Once up, I made good sure to mark the descent point with rotten timber that was laying around. From this point, it was easy to find a route up to the high ridge. I then followed the ridge up to Pina high point, which I arrived at 14:30PM. I had good views towards Veafjorden towards this point.
I then went over to Kallvikanipa. The Kallvikanipa west face was relentlessly steep, but it was quite clear that the east side would provide a route to the summit. And from lake Nipetjørni, I found a trail that took me all the way to the top, which I reached 15:15PM. It was hard to understand how these two summits could offer such a dramatic terrain. I was wondering if the regular route was from the north. However, I assume that Pina and Kallvikanipa is hardly visited. No cairns, and vague trails. Moving back to the cliffs where I ascended, I felt the heartbeats, even if I knew I was going the right direction. After some careful moves, I was back in the scrambling route, and descended safely shortly after. I headed back to the lake and followed the "Dalen" valley back to the Toskedalen trail. "Dalen" is an interesting name for a valley. "Dalen" means "valley", and I guess there is no point in overstating the obvious. I reached Toskedalen at 16:30, 7 hours after I departed. Great hike!
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