In front of Vassdalseggi
Just south of Haukeliseter on E134 over Haukelifjell, you'll find the highest mountain in Rogaland. The fylke (county) border between Rogaland and Telemark runs through the summit, but Gaustatoppen (1833m) stands as the highest peak in Telemark.
It is debatable if Haukelifjell is merely an extension to the southern Hardangervidda plateau, as you won't go below 900m between Store Nup and Vassdalseggi. In any case, Vassdalseggi is easily accessable from highway E134. No technical diffulties. Just a longer hike. If in good shape, a variation to the hike should include Kistenuten on the Telemark/Rogaland/Hordaland border.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
This is an easy hike if you are comfortable with off-trail hiking in boulder terrain. A "T" trail takes you quite a stretch, but after a short hike to the mountain base over grassy terrain, the ridge walk runs completely over rocks. The route below will vary from 2 to 2+ depending on your line up the pass which gains access to the ridge. As the best route require no handholds, the route has been graded 2.
The best starting point is Haukeliseter, a mountain cabin complex managed by the Stavanger Mountain Touring Association (Stavanger Turlag) since 1963.
Haukeliseter - Vassdalseggi (summer/autumn)
Locate Haukeliseter alongside E134 over Haukelifjell. Follow the road eastbound for 700m and exit onto a narrow, unsigned gravel road. At the first fork (approx. 300m) go right and follow the road to the end (approx. 900m). Find parking in front of a bridge with a gate.
The first part of the trail is a "T" marked trail that you will follow near to the SW end of lake Kjelavatn. In order to get on this "T" trail, pass the cabin on the right hand side, and find a narrow trail that runs along the ridge and joins the "T" trail by a gate.
Near the SW end of lake Kjelavatn, you have Vassdalseggi to your left and Kistenuten to your right. The view is obscured by point 1036. Leave the "T" trail and head upwards. When reaching the river coming from lake 1151, find a suitable place to cross. At least one place should provide a safe crossing even when the river is at its peak.
Head for a wide pass that will take you up on the Vassdalseggi ridge. Notice a narrow, steeper pass further to your left. Don't go up there. Heading up the pass, the route gets easier closer to the mountain, on your left hand side. Once up on the ridge, the remaining hike is fairly obvious. You will have to advance a series of levels to reach the high ridge, and some switcing back and forth is required. Nevertheless, you should expect few problems in finding your way up the wide ridge.
Enjoy small glaciers and crevasses down to your left. Once high on the ridge, you see the summit on the far side of the ridge. Near the summit, you will descend slightly before starting the final yards up to the summit.
Return the same way, or find an optional route down to lake Lisledalstjønn.
My friend Arne Narud, living in Sandnes, and I had for quite some time (a couple of years) been talking about doing a good hike together. Preferrably in a area halfway between Bergen and Stavanger. Haukelifjell fits this criterion, and I suggested that the highest mountain in Rogaland fylke would be something to go after. Arne agreed, and we reserved a room at the Haukeliseter lodge on Haukelifjell for the week-end.
Arne had claimed that his shape was good, but I had some concerns about him not used to off-trail hiking. The target - Vassdalseggi was 1658m and I couldn't see a big problem with the approx. 700m vertical gain. After all, a lower mountain would probably be downright boring. I was also intrigued by some other the other mountains in the area, like Kistenuten and Store Nup. But since Arne lived in Rogaland, it had to be Vassdalseggi. Come what may.
After leaving the "T" trail and crossing the river, we agreed to enter the Vassdalseggi ridge through a rocky, wide pass. Arne seemed to do well and hadn't any problems with the pass, which might appear as steep to some. We made steady progress across the ridge and reached the summit after 4 hours. Arne rung a large "YES" as he reached the summit. The yell had apparently been kept inside for some time. He was also considering if this was a new height record for him. A well-deserved lunch was consumed. Troll had been doing exceptionally good. I carried him for the last 20 minutes, but that was my call. The summit terrain was way too rocky. Troll had been following Arne like a bodyguard all the way. One can only wonder what was going on in the dog's mind.
The clouds hung thick over the mountains further west. Later I learned that this area is considered the "weather line" between east and west (weather is normally better on the eastern side of the mountains). I was expecting everything from snow to rain, but the weather actually turned better as we started to head down. Very quickly on the descent I noticed that Arne had run into some problems. His feet were aching and he was growing more tired by the minute. As the ridge started to drop down to the pass, Arne had some balance problems due to fatigue. I learned that he had been skipping most of his lunch at the summit, as he wasn't hungry. I found this an extremely stupid move (well knowing I always do the same), and called for a bisquit break. His feet were aching badly. I know the feeling and knew that getting quickly back to the lodge was the only sensible thing to do.
At the rocky pass, we took the wrong line and ended up in a much more complex area than we had while going up. Arne's balance turned worse and I was afraid he would fall and break a leg. Troll ran in circles, apparently trying to cheer him up. Haukeliseter was in view, a long, long distance away. I felt truly sorry for the guy. We had been out of water since the summit, but could refill in the pass. The water did Arne good, and he found new inspiration to continue.
We made it down to the trail, safe and sound, but it was still a long way to go. We reached the car 4,5 hours after leaving the summit. Arne confirmed what I had known for quite some time: tomorrow's hike was off. After a heavenly shower and dinner, Arne fell asleep with the clothes on at 20:30PM. He had done an excellent job, given the foundation. The highest mountain in Rogaland and a 8,5 hour long hike, mostly in cumbersome terrain. Something to feel proud about. I was also very impressed with Troll. It had been years since he did a hike that long without asking for a backpack ride. The next morning, Arne headed back to Sandnes while I was looking around for today's mountain. Strong winds and unpredictable weather made me change location, and I ended up on Malmangersnuten in Rosendal.
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Towards the summit:
On the way down:
The next morning, and going home
Pictures from other hikes:
Other hordaland mountains westcoastpeaks.com