Vestrefjellet seen from Snjonipa
Vestrefjellet is located in the northern part of Osterøy. The Vaksdal/Osterøy kommune border divides the mountain evenly (NE-SW direction), but the high point belongs to Vaksdal kommune. The mountain is low compared to the higher mountains in the west, north and the east, but Vestrefjellet offers a great view towards all these mountains.
Vestrefjellet can be a challenging experience if you don't know the local trails (I didn't find any, but I assume they're there). On this page, I have described one way of getting to the top. An easier approach would be to walk up the Norafjellet northern forest ridge. See the Raunelifjellet page for description of the trailhead.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
The below route runs completely outside any trail system. The terrain suggests class 2, but due to a cumbersome pass, I have classifed the overall route as 2+.
North of Tysso - Vestrefjellet (all seasons)
From Bergen, follow highway E16 (Voss,Oslo) and exit right towards Osterøy (about 25 minutes from Bergen). Drive over the Osterøy bridge (toll fee is currently 40,- for passenger cars) and continue on highway 566 towards Valestrand (new road). In a roundabout before Valestrand, follow highway 567 towards Lonevåg and then to Tysse (Tysso) (Tysse is approx. 35,7km from the tollbooth at the bridge).
From the bridge by the powerstation at Tysse, follow the road for approx. 2,5km. This is at the highest point of the road, and there is parking for one or two cars on the right hand side of the road. Notice a trailsign (Tysso - Gammersvik) behind the parking.
Follow the Tysso-Gammersvik trail for a few minutes, until the trail descends. Turn left into the forest, and aim for a high and steep pass further away, that runs between Kvernhusfjellet and Vestrefjellet. This route will lead you down to the north end of lake Svartatjørni. From the lake, head into the pass. Find a route around the worst pine forest, as the branches are too dense to challenge.
Show care up the pass, as it could be slippery. In the winter season, avoid the left-hand side of the pass (best for hiking), as ice falls down the mountain side. The pass is most awkward in the upper section. Once above the pass, you have a small meadow in front of you. If you want to explore, head into the pass in front of you, slightly to the right. If you want to follow my route, turn 90 deg. right and climb up the steep forest. Once up at the next level, you will see the cliffband that runs across the entire south side of the mountain. In winter, there are fewer places to ascend, but you will find one point on the SE side. It is easy to miss, so keep watching the cliffband.
Once above the cliffband, you have less than. 100m of forest to walk through. It is quite obvious that you would like to find the narrow pass through the cliffband, so take the appropriate measures to find your way back. I suggest you bring ribbons and mark the trees. Soon, you're above the forest, and if you keep heading straight on, you will eventually reach point 550m. Head slightly down and enter another high point. From this point, you will see the point 559 (no cairn) further away. When you get to this point, you will see a cairn further down in the northern direction. This cairn might denote a descend route, but for you, that will be the wrong direction. Return your ascent route.
It was the day for those hidden, unknown and semi-difficult mountains again. I decided to drive to Osterøy and do Vestrefjellet, located on the far north side of the island. I got a late start and left the car 11:45AM. There were absolutely no visible trails, and Troll cried for taxi service after 15 minutes. I was more than happy to give him a lift, as he was slowing me down in the awkward terrain. Soon, we reached the pass that I had decided to use as the gateway to the mountain. The pass called for all sorts of caution, even if it wasn't all that difficult. But it was slippery. I didn't notice all the ice hanging as bats down the mountain sides before a collection of icicles slammed into the ground next to me. The terrain was far easier close to the left wall, but I quickly moved into the boulder section in the middle, as it was a much safer place to be.
Above the pass, the route further seemed to be up yet another pass. I had grown tired of boulder sections, and decided to make a sharp right turn, steep up into the forest. As I was looking for a way up to the mountain, I had read the map over and over again. What did I misunderstand? According to the map, there was supposed to be no steep sides leading up to the mountains. But after having traversing almost the entire south side, I still hadn't found a way up. A 5-10m high icy cliffband were blocking any access. I concluded that these cliffbands were those kind of features that fits well within 20m contours. At the far SE end, I got my break. A section allowed for light scrambling up to the next plateau. I didn't want to get stuck here on the way down, so I marked my entire route up through the remaining forest with rotten timber.
Finally, I came above the forest, and made a mental note of a small cairn where I came up. I reached point 550 at 13:45PM. The high point (559m) was still far away, and I wondered how I was doing regarding time. I increased the pace over the plateau and reached the high point 14:05PM. It would start to get dark in the forest within two hours. Troll was happy to get out, and gave me the "Thank's for the ride. I'll walk back to the car" attitude. I felt bad when I had to put him in the backpack. But there was neither time or terrain for this little fellow to walk by himself.
I felt the pulse as I reached the forest, and nothing looked familiar. I found the small cairn, and started looking for familiar signs. There was no snow that left any footprint, so I had to rely on the timber I had put up as trail signs. From above, I didn't recognize any of them, and wondered if I had gone the wrong way. I stopped by a tree and grabbed a branch for support. The branch was not attached to the tree, and it took me a few seconds to realize that this was one of my "clever" pointers. I promised myself I would develop a better method on a future forest hike. The rest of the pointers weren't equally silly, and soon I found the narrow path down the cliff. Going down the boulder section in the pass was easier than going up, and I reached the car 15:50PM. 15 minutes later, it was almost totally dark in the forest. When I returned to Bergen, I spoiled the dog rotten, as an apology for a rather short hike on his account.
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