Setnesfjellet (Varden)

  • Setnesfjellet (Varden)
  • 1238 m.
  • Primary factor 710 m.
  • Åndalsnes
  • Location: North 62.53390, East 007.65555 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: (YDS) class 2+.
  • Climbed August 13. 2017.


How to get there:
This mountain is located directly south of Åndalsnes. From the center of town, drive south on Hwy. E-136 (towards Molde), cross the bridge, then turn left onto what looks like a parking area about 500 meter after the bridge. Drive the small road that heads uphill, first south, make a right onto Nukengata and park along the side of this road on the right hand side. It is likely that there are some other cars parked there as well. This location is N62.55167, E007.67242, elevation about 15 meter.
Route description:
Walk up the small road named Tuenvegen, this road turns 90 degrees right. Continue to the very end of the road. You will find a fence and a careful look will even spot a small sign for a hiking trail attached to the fence. Cross this fence (easy since it is low), then turn left and walk uphill, a trail will become visible in the process.
This trail becomes much more distinct as you enter between the trees, there will also be a few marks of red paint here and there. Follow this trail. A bit higher up there is a single wooden pole with two small arrows ingraved and the word Nuken. There is a trail fork here and the sign tells that both alternatives will lead you to Nuken, a local viewpoint higher up. The bigger trail seems to go right (I followed this one).
The trail arrives onto the Nuken ridge after about 300 meter of ascent. This is a nice viewpoint equipped with a bench, a small detour (left) if you want to visit the viewpoint itself.
The trail (slightly smaller) continues uphill, first along the top of Nuken in order to connect with the main hillside. The trail is steep, quite muddy if wet and correspondingly slippery. There is at least one spot where you may have to use your hands as the trail presents a pretty big step onto a piece of rock. There are no routefinding issues, if the trail seemingly vanishes, then just look carefully around and pick up its continuation. The next point of reference is the arrival at an antenna at elevation 745 meter. This is another fine viewpoint from where to look directly back down at Åndalsnes.
The trail completely disappears at this location. In fact, it is far from obvious how to continue. Proceeding directly uphill or perhaps a bit towards the right hand side is likely to get you into terrain where climbing is required. Thus, ascend about 5 vertical meter from the antenna, then contour left. Traverse across a gully then uphill, but go left where this is natural. This route will lead you to easier terrain, a big grassy gully that extends a long way uphill. Higher up, you may have to cross a bit more left before the route will take you back onto more rocky terrain. There is one more pretty distinct gully that finally will top out on the main summit ridge. From here, it is an easy walk to a local top with a big cairn. The highest point on this mountain is still a few hundred meter ahead, marked with a small cairn as well as a summit register (in a green mailbox).
I needed to drive the long way to Bergen, thus looked for what I thought would be a rather short morning climb. Starting at 0550, my hope was to be back in 4 hours. After rain last night, the trail was very slippery - steepish I guess it is regardless of weather. I was surprised to discover that the trail stopped at the antenna. Investigating how to proceed quickly got me into steep terrain - still slippery.
I made up my mind to avoid all this and completed a big traverse left to gain more hospitable terrain. The rest was pretty straightforward, but I had lost time and it was already 0900 when I sat down at the top of the mountain. Very good views despite of many clouds. A clear line of sight to the Trollstigen area with the king and the bishop (characteristic mountains). Also into the main Romsdalen valley guarded by the Romsdalshorn and Kalskråtinden with the big Venjetinden on its side.
I left at 0915, but with steepish and slippery conditions sufficient care was needed also when descending. I made it back to my car at 1130. Overall a nice morning trip, slightly longer than anticipated. I subsequently had a good drive back to Bergen.