Mountain Hiking in Norway

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Fannaråken is one of the most well-known mountains in Norway. One reason is that the mountain is very visible, either you drive across the Sognefjell (highway 55), or the Turtagrø-Årdal road.

The mountain is also easily accessible for those who find the strength to hike this mountain, and the mountain is probably one of the most visited 2000m peaks in Norway. In addition, the mountain is known from Norwegian literature, as many of the famous Norwegian poets had a “warm heart” for this part of Norway, among them Henrik Wergeland.

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Access
Locate the Turtagrø hotel on the west side of Sognefjellsvegen (highway 55). Drive north-east 1km and exit right onto a gravel road that takes you into Helgedalen valley. After a few hundred meters, the road ends by a gate, and you will find parking.

If the parking is full, go back to Turtagrø and find parking there. A “T” trail will take you into the Helgedalen valley.

Turtagrø hotel
Turtagrø hotel

The Trail
A trail sign is found by the parking. Follow the “T” trail which will take you back onto the gravel road that continues into Helgedalen. The bypass is probably there for cabin privacy reasons.

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After approx. 2,7Km, at the juncture of two streams, the road starts ascending. Follow the road for another 500m, and exit left when you see another trailsign to Fannaråken.

Ekrehytta cabin
Ekrehytta cabin

Follow the trail up to Ekrehytta hut. The trail then forks. The right trail takes you towards Skogadalsbøen, while the left trail takes you directly up to Fannaråken. The climb up to 1500-1600m is the most strenuous part of the hike, but reasonable switchbacks in the terrain helps. Although the hillside might look steep, there are no exposed points on the trail.

Fannaråken
Fannaråken

Once on the ridge, you see the “humps” that takes you towards the summit. A lot of effort has been made to make the trail easy to hike. Close to 2000m, you might run into snowfields leading towards the summit. The summit is a large, flat plateau with two buildings on top. The primary building – Fannaråkshytta, offers opportunities for food and shelter. The hut is operated by DNT (The Norwegian Mountain Touring Association).

Fannaråken cabin, Jotunheimen National Park
Fannaråken cabin, Jotunheimen National Park

Upon return, you may choose to hike the trail down to Keisarpasset. Be aware of that the weather can change in an instant. Bring warm clothes even if the weather forecast is good. Fannaråken is known for its shift in weather.

A Trip Report
On a summer day in 2002, I suddenly got the urge to hike Fannaråken. The weather was shifting between sunshine and rain. Fannaråken summit was hidden in clouds, but of the lighter kind. I expected that the clouds might disappear in the afternoon.

I parked the car in Helgedalen and was on my way 15:50 pm. My dog Troll was kind enough to walk by himself all the way to the foot of the mountain, but then he requested the “back-seat service”. After hiking the first 100m, I remembered I hadn’t eaten all day. Here I was, running out of strength at the start of the hike, 1000m vertical to go. The rest of the hike was very strenuous. I can’t remember last time I was this tired. Then it started to rain. The rain was followed by hail. Higher up it began to snow, and on the summit it was freezing cold

Helgedalen valley, Jotunheimen
Helgedalen valley, Jotunheimen

A small group heading down, informed me that it was “Mountain’s Day”, and that dinner was served at 18:00 at the summit hut. I hadn’t even thought about the DNT hut on top, and carried no money. As I reached the hut at 18:35PM, in a mixture of wind, snow, rain and fog, I heard the sounds of laughter and cutlery. That was too much. I went in the hallway, gave Troll his lunchbox and took a minute to worship misery. I never took a look inside; Anti-social behavior at its finest.

Rondane national park
Rondane National park

I decided that Troll could walk all the way down, which he did. The trail is almost too good to be true. We were back at the car 20:00pm, and continued the trip towards Otta. I can still remember the taste of the hot dogs at the gas station in Lom…

Mountain Hiking in Norway, source: http://www.westcoastpeaks.com

Related article:
Norwegian Mountain Sunrise