• Besshø
  • 2258 m
  • Primary factor 848 m
  • Jotunheimen, Norway
  • Location: North 61:31.074, East 008:41.233 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed August 12. 2006


How to get there: This mountain is north of the well known lake Gjende in Jotunheimen. In summer, Hwy. 51 connects Valdres and the Otta valley across a mountain plateau called Valdresflya. From E-16, drive via Beitostølen, then by the east end of lake Bygdin before crossing Valdresflya to the east end of lake Gjende. Continue a couple of kilometer to the mountain lodge named Bessheim on the west side of the valley (on your left coming from Valdres). From E-6, take the exit at Otta, drive up the Otta valley to Vågå, located Hwy. 51 and drive to Bessheim. If you see signs for Gjendesheim and Besseggen, you have gone too far. One can park in front of Bessheim (their parking lot, it is always nice to ask). This is the trailhead, location N61:30.873, E008:51.216 and elevation approximately 970 meter.
Route description: From Bessheim, head up the clearly marked trail on the left (west) side of the main building. The trail climbs the hillside while traversing left towards the river Bessa. Follow the trail until the slope levels off and you arrive at a trail fork. There are good signs, take the left fork and continue around on the north side of the lake Bessvatnet (1373 m). You walk by a small cabin at the east end of the lake, there is a pretty clear trail that continues a bit above the lake on its north side (not marked on the map). From here, the next part of the route can be easily recognized. There is a creek named Grotåe coming down to lake Bessvatnet, with a pretty distinct ridge just behind it. Follow the trail and cross this creek. On the opposite side, recover the trail near the largest local rock and follow it as it climbs on top of the small moraine ridge. Higher up, the trail stays a bit further left in order to avoid most of the boulders. This trail is marked by cairns as it continues uphill. It pretty much follows the ridge as this climbs on the south side of the small glacier that is located north-east of the summit plateau. Higher up, the terrain is rocky, but more gentle as you approach the cairn located at the broad summit.
Comments: This was a very special day. I set out on Friday from Bergen in order to find a stone in Jotunheimen that could be used in the cemetery as a memorial marker for my father. He had asked me that I identify a typical piece of rock with lichen, possibly from Jotunheimen. I parked near lake Gjende and slept until early Saturday morning. There were lots of possible rocks along the road, which one to pick? Where should I stop the car? The time was just before 0530 in the morning when the radio played the song that has the line: "You raise me up so I can stand on mountains". This (Norwegian) music was played as the final tune in his funeral, I had not heard it since then in Norway. I immediately stopped my car, located a very nice stone and hauled it into my (borrowed) car with a self made winch.
It seemed appropriate to hike one of the nearby mountains and my choice fell on Besshø. It was nice to climb this mountain while looking across to the famous ridge Besseggen. Traversing this ridge was the final day of my first long mountain trip at age 10 together with my father. Later, we repeated this week long trip with my son Tor Erling (less than 10 years old), me and my father. It was a nice and memorable trip with son, father and grandfather hiking together across Jotunheimen.
I reached the summit in fog and sat down. My thoughts wandered from the morning assignment to all the good time I spent in the mountains with DAD. I cried a little and nature stepped in and made rain fall in my hair as tears made my cheek wet. I was the only person on Besshø, the weather was not great, but it was a good time for me.
It had taken me 2:45 from the car to the summit. I spent abot 15 minutes up there in the fog, then returned to the car in 2:30. I continued the day by driving the "Jotunheimen Road" across to Vinstra, then Lillehammer and my cabin where I spent the night. The next day, Sunday, I drove down to Bærum and delivered the stone on Monday morning as had been planned.