• Varden
  • 600 m
  • Primary factor 600 m
  • Varaldsøya HP
  • Location: North 60:07.747, East 006:02.375 (GPS at the summit)
  • Climbed August 16, 2006.
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1.


How to get there: From Bergen, drive to Gjermundshavn and take a ferry to Varaldsøy. Do consult the ferry shedule of HSD as many ferries will skip the island and just connect Gjermundshavn with Løfallstrand.
Drive from the ferry about 1.2 kilomter, make a right following a sign for Gjuvsland. After another 2.7 kilometer, go straight, that is, do not make a right turn towards Gjuvsland. You are now on a dirt road. Follow this road another 2.7 kilometer, then at a distinct hilltop, make a left turn and drive up to the highest buildings, a place called Øvsthus. Ask in one of the two houses there for permission to park. This is the trailhead, location N60:06.474, E006:00.809, elevation 255 meter.
Route description: There is a nice trail all the way. In a few places you will also see some small wooden signs saying Varden. In particular, just before the last section of significant uphill, you arrive on a meadow and there is a sign just ahead of you pointing right. In this place, there is an alternative trail that goes right about 5-10 meter before you arrive at the sign. This trail is possibly the preferred route today. Up along this section of the route, there is a pretty characteristic cliff that runs parallel with the trail on your left side, this cliff is higher than the route and helps form what look like a pretty narrow, gently sloping gully. The final section to the cairn is pretty flat and you do indeed get above the treeline and most vegetation.
Comments: I did this hike with Geir Åke Dahlen, a very accomplished mountaineer that has traveled absolutely all over Norway. He runs and maintains a nice web site with lots of information as well as well written reports from many mountains. His main purpose visiting Bergen was to climb Fuglafjellet which he did in a 9 hour hike the day before. A short hike to a prominent point was therefore in order and we agreed to visit Varden, the highest point on the island Varaldsøy.
We took the 1420 ferry from Gjermundshamn, had no trouble finding the trailhead and headed uphill around 1500. It took us a bit less than one hour to reach the summit where we rested and tried to get a view of the surroundings. Unfortunately, there were rather many clouds. The visibility improved slightly, but not enough to see the mountains across the Hardanger fjord. We headed down around 1615 and where back waiting for the ferry at 1700. A nice drive to Bergen and a well deserved dinner completed the day as Geir Åke was dropped at the train station for a night train back to Oslo, then further on to Rendalen where he currently lives.
The M711 map gives an elevation of 600 meter. The finer, 5 meter contour map states an elevation of 599.46 meter for the cairn, that is 4 cm shy of getting rounded to 600 meter. However, we located at least 3 more local points near the cairn that could be candidates for a highest point. Indeed, there was no easy way to determine this. My GPS seemed to indicate that one of the other spots might be (a fraction of) a meter higher. Also, the 5 meter contour map does indeed show a small 600 meter contour circle a few meter west of the cairn. Given this information, it seems appropriate to maintain that Varden is 600 meter above sea level.