Vardafjellet (Orretuva)

  • Vardafjellet (Orretuva)
  • 338 m
  • Primary factor 115 m
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Location: North 60:17.407, East 005:25.029 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed: December 12, 2010


How to get there:
This nice area is about to be significantly reduced by aggressive building of forest roads. It is hard to understand that it can make sense to build such roads in this area as there is very little forest that can be used commercially. Most likely, it is the state subsidy that makes this happen.
Alternative 1 From Nesttun, drive towards Arna and make a right in the first traffic circle at Midtun. This road, Ulsmågvegen, bends south and descends to the north end (meadow) of Birkelandsvatnet. Fork left here and follow Totlandsvegen. Follow this road until you are north of lake Stignavatnet (201m). Make a right here and locate a new road that heads south towards the north slope of Orrtuva. In fact, there may be new developments here (2010) and things may look different in a few years. Currently, there is a forest road that climbs this hill, almost to 300 meter of elavation. Currently, the end of the road is located at N60:17.676, E005:25.456, elevation about 295 meter.
Alternative 2 Drive from Nesttun towards Stavanger, ie. E-39. You cross Vallaheiane and descend to the lake Kalandsvatnet. Just as you are getting close to the lake, pay attention and turn left up a very small road with a wooden rack of mail boxes. This is about 300 meter after you pass the turnoff to Fana kirke (on your right). Drive up and by the first house, a bit further, the road forks, take a right, then immediately a left and park on the small turnout on your left side. This is a good trailhead, location N60:17.168, E005:24.216, elevation about 84 meter. The forest road continues uphill and there is a red and white gate immediately next to where you parked.
Route description:
Alternative 1 From here, there is a small, but clear trail that takes you directly uphill to the Orretuva summit. From this summit, one can proceed fairly steeply downhill and across a meadow before a gentle climb to the very flatish ridge that make up the Vardafjellet highest section.
Alternative 2 Continue up the forest road and walk by a white house further uphill. Higher up, you will see the road on the right. Cross over as soon as it is practical. Follow this road uphill, currently it ends at location N60:17.243, E005:24.681, elevation near 280 meter.
From here, a trail runs more north to the red and white pole marking a known elevation at Vardafjellet. It turns out that the terrain is a few meter higher north of the marked point.
First trip, December 11. This was a late exploration trip. However, since I discovered that one could drive quite far, I decided to visit Orretuva just before it got dark. I left the car around 1540 and arrived at the Orretuva summit at 1550. There is a cairn and a red/white pole connected by a short trail. The map indicates that Orretuva is 335.83 meter while Vardafjellet nearby is 336.78 meter. Thus, it seems that Vardafjellet has the highest point. There was no more time as it was quickly getting dark. I hurried back down to the car at 1610.
Second trip, December 12. The weather was colder, but much nicer the next day and I decided to go straight back and sort out the relative situation between Orretuva and Vardafjellet. I decided to start from the lake Kalandsvatnet and get some more vertical gain. I set out approximately at 1145. The forest road brought me up to 280 meter. I met the local farmer along the way. He told me that the forest roads would be extended across the entire area and connect with the road I was on yesterday. This is really unfortunate, as much of the terrain will be badly affected by such roads. In fact, it is very hard to see what purpose they may serve.
The trail took me to the summit in about 10 minutes. It was immediately clear that the highest point of Vardafjellet is north of the pole marker. I measured around carefully, and based on this, it seems that 339 meter is a very likely highest elevation.
I hiked across to Orretuva and measured it again, confirming that my GPS consistenly shows it to be lower than Vardafjellet.
I then returned to Vardafjellet before descending back down to my car, reaching it at 1345.