• Hestafjellet
  • 839 m
  • Primary factor 171 m
  • Near Dale, Hordaland, Norway
  • Location: North 60.59540, East 005.77070 (GPS on the summit)
  • Climbed October 29. 2017
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2


How to get there:
From Bergen, take E-16 towards Voss. The first village after Vaksdal is Stanghelle. Drive through the first tunnel after you have arrived in Stanghelle, then exit left (sign may read Helle), before the next tunnel. The narrow road will lead towards the fjord, then cross it on a very narrow suspension bridge. Just before you arrive at a railroad crossing, pull over and park on the left hand side of the road. This is the trailhead/parking, location N60.56590, E005.75335, elevation about 3-4 meter.

Continue along the road in order to cross the railroad. Next, turn left uphill, this road serves some private houses. Cross the creek and turn uphill along a small, short tractor road. Locate a small trail that climbs out on your left. This trail will soon cross the creek, this time left to right (facing uphill), then continue along the trail uphill. The trail is marked with some red paint.
A bit higher up at a fairly flat area, the trail forks. There are wooden signs. The trail to Hestafjellet follows the right fork. The trail continues its ascent up the valley located between Storafjellet (west) left, and Hestafjellet (east) right. The main trail, however, serves Storafjellet, there is no marked trail onwards to Hestafjellet.
There is, however, clear signs of a small trail that leads to a good way up the steep cliffs that block easy access to the higher parts of Hestafjellet. Leave the main trail and continue up along meadows that gradually bring you closer to the cliffs. There is a pretty distinct drainage (running south-west) above you, the access is marked with a rock on top of a larger rock. You should see traces from previous people if you are at the right spot. Follow ledges as they zig-zag uphill while conecting to each other. This route stays at (YDS) class 2, but one may easily run into class 3 terrain in this area.'
Higher up, the terrain is more friendly as one continues to a small (false) summit that exceeds 800 meter. This summit (loc. N60.58725, E005.7613) has a large cairn, but it is located about one kilometer before you reach the proper summit.
I had looked at this mountain many times, while driving through Dale. It was about time to climb it. My plans called for doing a few smaller hills near Norheimsund, due to an injury in my left leg. However, as I reached Trengereid, I made a quick new decision and drove to Stanghelle. The only problem was no map or GPS data, I largely ignored this as the ascent looked straightforward.
Ready to leave around 1120, I headed up the forest trail and soon arrived at a (signed) trailfork. I headed left and quite far uphill, I ran into a new sign for Hestafjellet, this one pointed back down or at best directly right out into what looked like a cumbersome hillside.
I was now below the cliffs of Storafjellet, but without any map, my only idea was to somehow ascend higher. I headed off into rather complex terrain, gradually making my way back to the upper end of the distinct valley that separates Storafjellet from Hestafjellet. This took considerable time and I was quite happy when finally connecting back up with my former trail.
No trail seemed to fork right to Hestafjellet, I thus continued past the highest col wanting to explore if the cliffs above could be turned. This was not successful, I therefore decided to ascent right uphill if at all oossible. This strategy got me to the first cairn, then onwards to the true summit, arriving there 1400.
The view was pretty good. I could see the small hill Beitelen near Dale as well as the general area of Dale, very rugged terrain around here. The view onwards to Høgenipa was also good. The weather was ok, but windy and I turned back around 1415. A better route back was a given, the first question where to descend more directly back. I followed the main drainage, first on the right hand side and the way down presented itself quite easily. There were clear signs of other people having used this route, below the cliffs even some modest markers, a rock having been placed on top of another in a few key locations.
I next followed the trail back down to the fork where I had gone wrong while ascending. I was quite determined to try to get the offending sign somehow corrected. However, to my surprise and embarassment, the signs looked perfectly ok upon closer inspection. Thus, my navigational error earlier in the day had absolutely no excuse. I continued down the last section, arriving at my car at 1600. The sun was striking the cliffs a last farewell as I drove home where a warm sauna and a delicious dinner were waiting.