Vardafjellet seen from Kuviki
Vardafjellet is located on the very north-east part of Osterøy, Europe's largest inland island. Vardafjellet offers a wonderful panorama towards the mountains in the west, north and the east. The south view is limited due to Høgafjellet, the highest mountain on the island.
Compared to other mountains in the region, Vardafjellet is very accessible. Mainly because you can drive all the way to Toskedalen, the main trailhead. Then forest roads will take you to a bottom of a pass which you need to hike up. On top of the pass, you're only 5 minutes away from the summit.
Vardafjellet has a primary factor of 259m, towards the higher Høgafjellet. The "saddle" is a valley between Pina and Vardaleitet. The last 5m contour line in the valley is 295m, and the interpolated saddle is set to be 293m. This will put Vardafjellet on the Hordaland top 200 list, when ranked by primary factor.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
I would have rated the below route as 1+, except for the fact that 1+ is not defined by YDS. As such, I would need to classify the route to class 2 due to a pass that is a little rougher than a class 1 route.
Toskedalen - Vardafjellet (all seasons)
From Bergen, follow highway E16 towards Oslo. Drive to Dale, approx. 50Km outside Bergen. 2,7Km after the centre of Dale, leave highway E16 and exit left onto the road towards Romarheim/Mo. Follow this road for approx. 11,7Km until you reach the Gammersvik/Gullbrå junction. Drive straight ahead towards Gammersvik and follow the road until the road end, which is approx. 10,8Km from the junction.
The road from the Gammersvik/Gullbrå to Toskedalen is for the most part narrow, and a long section is gravel road. From Grøssviki, the road switchbacks steep into a valley before it descends down to lake Toskedalsvatnet. The road is probably open during winter, as people live in Toskedalen.
At the road end, locate the forest trail that begin by the farm on the left hand side. The forest trail runs up to a small meadow where you see a small pass up to your right (ignore a trail going to the right just before the meadow). The pass is a shortcut to Vardafjellet. If you're not in for this shortcut, follow the forest trail across the meadow. When you meet a crossing path, turn sharp right and follow this upwards. Cross another small meadow, and stay right on the main forest trail. The trail eventually takes you to the bottom of a very distinct gully that you will hike to the top. Note that the forest trail continues upwards. This trail will take you to to the top of the pass I mentioned earlier. A good descend route.
Going up the wide gully is quite easy, as long as you don't step in any holes. When you reach the top of the pass, the summit is only 5 minutes away, up to your right.
This week-end was initially reserved for a ski-trip with Petter Bjørstad. Troll was going to stay in Bergen, but then something happened to the dog's back, and I didn't find it wise to leave him. Saturday morning came with sunshine. We haven't had a sunny week-end since Jan 4/5, so I was desperate to get away from the local mountains. I assumed the dog could survive an hour or two in the wide backpack, and decided to explore the northern Osterøy region. The initial idea was to hike Snjonipa, but when I arrived Toskedalen after 1,5 hours of driving, I couldn't figure out a route compatible with a dog-on-the-back.
I decided to go for Vardafjellet instead. A quick chat with one of the locals helped me to locate the forest trail. We left the trailhead 12:15PM. I let Troll walk on the flat and easy sections, but picked him up when the trail began to ascend. Vardafjellet has some steep sides, and I decided to go around the mountain. A gully on the map suggested that this should be the place to try. The trail led me straight to the pass. There was snow all the way from the trailhead, but it was hard enough to hold.
13:15PM we reached the summit, and I was a little surprised that the hike went that fast. The views were simply great. I got a good glance of some northern mountains that I have yet to do. After 25 minutes on top, we returned to the car. Back in Bergen, I drove the dog home, and then I went straight to Ulriken. Later the same evening, I hiked Ulriken once more, and collected in total 1150 vertical meters that day.
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Pictures are presented in the order they were taken.
Pictures from the drive back to Bergen
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