Illestigfjellet seen from NW
I think "Illestigfjellet" is a very cool Norwegian name for a mountain. The name comes from "Illestigen" (" the scary trail"), a route you follow when you ascend from the Lake Meisdalsvatnet side. This page describes a route from the west that most people would find OK, although the upper part of the route runs off-trail.
The mountain is the northern end to a mountain massif that also includes the tops Blådalsnipa, Storevasseggene and Klefjellnipa. Only Storevasseggene and Blådalsnipa are considered independent mountains on this web-site, but Illestigfjellet is close enough (only 5m from the required primary factor. Besides, it is a very distinct mountain, with limited options for access.
As mentioned, you can ascend from Lake Meisdalsvatnet up to the pass between Blådalsnipa and Illestigfjellet. The starting point for this route is Meisdalen valley. See the Ådneburen page for trailhead information. I have also heard of a route from Blådalsnipa that descends along the stream to Lake Blådalsvatnet, to - I would guess 400m elevation, before you turn north and hike up to the Blådalsnipa - Illestigfjellet pass.
You will enjoy the views here, like from most of the Masfjorden mountains. Although Storevasseggene, Horgi, Torhaugen and Ådneburen block most of the views, these mountains - are still fine views by themselves.
Illestigfjellet (1116-I: 663m, Ø.K.: 662,78m) has a primary factor of 95m towards the higher Blådalsnipa (679m). The saddle is found between the two tops. Ref. Økonomisk Kartver (5m contours), you cross the 570m contours on the high route, but not 565m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 568m.
Notes: Class ratings are in reference to YDS. Click here for more information.
The trails described below are not necessarily the *easiest* trails to this mountain.
Kvingedal - Illestigfjellet (summer/autumn)
From Bergen, follow highway E39 northbound towards Førde. Cross Nordhordlandsbrua bridge and pay toll on the north side of the bridge (NOK 45,- per March 2005). Continue 26,3Km on E39 and turn left onto the road towards Masfjordnes just before Eikefettunnelen.
Follow the Masfjordnes road approx. 13Km. Turn right towards "Kvingedal" and follow this road 2,1Km, to the first house in Kvingedal. Find parking alongside the road.
Head up towards the first house, then turn right towards an old barn. You will see the visible trail here. Follow it up the valley. In case you don't find it - it is locate approx. 200m east of the river in the lower part of the valley.
At 300m elevation, the trail turns eastbound and crosses a stream from Bergdropen twice. Continue towards a pass between Bergdropen and Torskardhaugen and follow the 400m contour SE towards the cabins at øvre Kvingedalssætret. When there is no snow on the ground, you should have no problems following the trail up to here.
Turn left by the cabins and head eastbound in the direction of Illestigfjellet. Descend to a small lake and then turn SE to get to the bottom of the boulder gully that takes you up the mountain. On top of the gully, turn right and head up to the summit cairn. Descend your ascent route.
I had just returned from vacation in northern Norway and would be heading to Hornindalsrokken the next day. I had driven more than 2000Km in the past week and wanted to go to a place that didn't involve too much driving. Illestigfjellet was an easy choice. The mountain had been on my wish-list for a long time, but in case I would find a scrambling route up to Blådalsnipa, I wanted to do the hike without the dog. Now the dog was living a leisure life in northern Norway, and I was on my way to Illestigfjellet.
I drove to Kvingedal and asked for permission to park up by the house. I did the same thing back in March 2003 when I hiked Bergdropen - or Storfjellet as they say in Kvingedal. The old man in the house told me that he had hiked Blådalsnipa from Illestigfjellet. I found that interesting, as I knew it was pretty steep up there. I looked forward to get up there.
I left the trailhead 13:15PM and reached øvre Kvingedalssætret 14:00PM. I had walked this trail before and kept an efficient pace. I wasn't quite sure where to go next, but figured that eastbound would be a good direction. I ended up above the unnamed lake between Blåfjellet and Illestigfjellet (it drains to Lake Timbrebotstjørna) and it was steep down to the lake. I had the choice between downclimbing or seek towards the denser birch forest further left. I chose to downclimb and passed the lake on the south side.
My friend David C. Pugh had reached Illestigfjellet via the distinct gully I had in front of me. This was also the reason why I hiked from Kvingedal. My original plan was to hike from Lake Meisdalsvatnet. I couldn't see the gully details from my position, but from the overall perspective, it was clear that this would be a good route to the mountain.
Instead of seeking to the bottom of the gully (E-SE), I headed north and scrambled up in terrain that had more solid rock. This route took me up to a large "balcony" between Illestigfjellet and the unnamed lake. I had hoped that I would be able to scramble directly up from here, but I couldn't. Too steep and no route for scrambling. I headed towards the gully and followed it to the top. The rocks in the upper part of the gully were loose and if there is more than person in the gully, don't cause rockfall. In the most narrow parts of the gully, I used my hands for support. Nothing airy, though.
I was standing next to the summit cairn 15:00PM and had a fine moment before I moved on towards Blådalsnipa. When I had Blådalsnipa's northwest face in clear view, I couldn't understand how anyone could have ascended here. I went all the way down to the base of Blådalsnipa and found a potential route where the pass drops down to Lake Blådalsvatnet. It was clearly a very doable scrambling route, but I found it intimidating. I was alone and had no wish to descend all the way to Lake Meisdalsvatnet only to get back onto Illestigfjellet. If I had company, I might have been bolder. I climbed up the bottom cliffrocks but turned around when I reached the slippery grass. I figured that the old man must have been a brave soul in his younger days, if this was the route he followed.
I turned back around and began the descent. Down in Kvingedal, I met a couple who was doing trail maintenance work. They told me that from where I turned around, it was possible to descend towards Lake Blådalsvatnet, hike below Blådalsnipa's east face and then ascend a gully up to the pass between Blådalsnipa and Storevasseggene. Oh well, next time. I was back at the car 17:30PM after chatting with the couple for a while.
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