Stølsheimen Area Mountains Guide

Stølsheimen Area Mountains Guide

Introduction

Stølsheimen is one of many mountain areas in Western-Norway that offer great opportunities to hikers and skiers. Although not very high, the mountains' great difference in altitude make the tours in Stølsheimen exciting. At the northern and southern end, the mountains area terminates with the long valleysides falling down to the fjords of Hardangerfjorden and Sognefjorden. Skitouring is at it best in Stølsheimen. The varied terrain is perfect for the intermediate as well as the expert skier, and the possibilities for tours are endless.

Terrain

Stølsheimen is more or less a plateau of mountains at the altitude of about 1000 - 1400 meters. At all sides deep valleys and fjords cut into this plateu. On the west; the mountains fall slowly towards the coast. On the northern side, valleys cut in from the fjord of Sognefjorden. The southern side is marked by the fjord of Hardangerfjorden. The eastern border of Stølsheimen is marked by the narrow fjords of Aurlandsfjorden and Nerøyfjorden. But the mountains continue eastwards, Skarvheimen and Hardangervidda.

Using the word "plateau" when writing about Stølsheimen is perhaps a mistake. Stølsheimen is not at all flat like Finnmarksvidda or Eastern Hardangervidda. Stølsheimen has many mountains. Some steep, some not. Their summits are not sharp peaks, but rather round, with the mountainsides getting steeper and steeper before it falls into a lake. Lakes - yes - Stølsheimen is full of lakes. Between the mountains are a lot of lakes. Bright, blue and blinking in the summer and long white fields in the winter.

Climate

Climate in Stølsheimen is like the rest of Western-Norway. Due to being very close to the Atlantic, Stølsheimen has relatively mild temperatures, and get enormous amounts of rain and snow. The first snow usually falls in October, and it is normally enough for skiing during November. Most areas in Stølsheimen has 3-4 meters of snow on flat field in March. This means that the snow lasts long. Normally it's still possible to ski in early June, the rest melts in July. May and June is an ideal time to visit Stølsheimen on skis, as this usually is a good-weather period, and the days are long.

Legal status

Stølsheimen has a somewhat special legal status. Until this century most of the area was used by mountain-farmers summertime. (In Norwegian stølsdrift - thereby the name Stølsheimen) During this period it was never a need for protecting this area. After the 50s, when moving the herds summertime became to cumbersome for modern farmers, the hydro power - engineers took over. Due to the great number of lakes at high altitude, and the high altitude-differences down to the bottoms of the valleys, Stølsheimen was extremely attractive for hydro power.

Today, many areas in Stølsheimen are touched by hydropower - activity. This is evident by signs like dams and power transmission lines. The potential for hydro power in Stølsheimen is now more or less used, but Stølsheimen is still attractive for hikers and skiers. The hydro power engineers has (despite what one should think) succeeded in building environmentally friendly installations.

Stølsheimen - Routes

Getting there

Stølsheimen is one of the areas most accessible with public transport. From Bergen you can take the local train to Voss or Myrdal, and get off anywhere between Vaksdal and Myrdal and have good access to starting points. Other options are to take bus from Voss to Vikafjellet, from where you can start in many directions. Note that Vikafjellet is closed from December to early April. You can also use bus from Bergen to starting points in Hardanger or Kvamskogen, or to the valleys west of Stølsheimen. If you want to start from starting points by the Sognefjord, your best option is to use boat on the Sognefjord from Bergen.

As usual, you have more possibilities with your own transport, but remember: You'll have to get back to your car. Most roads in the area are open year-round except for the road across Vikafjellet (Vinje - Vik) which is usually closed in winter.
Routes in central Stølsheimen

Routes

I have chose to define Stølsheimen a bit wider than the usual definition. The usual definition is only the area between Sognefjorden, Voss, Vikafjellet and Romarheimsdalen. We have chosen to include all the area between the fjords of Sognefjorden, Aurlandsfjorden, Hardangerfjorden, Veafjorden and Samnangerfjorden. This will extend the area to a lot of beautiful mountains that are very like central Stølsheimen, but not that much used for longer trips.

Hiking

Stølsheimen offers many opportunities for hikers. Hiking here is best done in the period July - October. For longer trips, you may be best off using the central area, starting off from Vikafjellet or Eksingedalen and ending up at the Sognefjord or at Romarheimsdalen. For daytrips there are many beautiful opportunities, like summit-trips from the valley Raundalen to one of the beautiful summits on its southern side. A nice daytrip is to go from the valley Jordalen to Bakka by the Nærøyfjord. The path down the valleyside to the fjord is very steep and goes in many curves.

Skiing

Stølsheimen really excels at skiing. The varied terrain is perfect for skitours on telemark-skis. Bring your skins, the terrain is certainly not flat. After ascending one of the endless valleysides you will probably be exhausted, but the mountains are there, waiting for you. And remember: eventually you are going back down, and will enjoy the slopes on the way.

Skiing from lodge to lodge in Stølsheimen is possible from December to June. But remember, the conditions are much tougher in the midwinter. You will find nice skitrips from lodge to lodge in central Stølsheimen. The hut Grindaflethytta on Undredalshalvøya is a nice place to stay for a few days. So is Høgabu, south of Bergsdalen. Where you go pretty much depends on your experience and needs.

Suggestion

Intermediate

Try the ski-tour Vikafjell - Selhamar - Åsedalen - Nordalshytta - Torvedalen - Romarheim. It's best done in March - June, and can be a fantastic trip if good conditions.

Advanced

The summits on the southern side of Raundalen - "Raundalseggen" can be climbed on skis in two or three days with overnight in tent. I did this in the Christmas of 1992. Unforgettable!

Stølsheimen Area Tourist Information Centers

Stølsheimen lies south of the Sogne Fjord, north of Voss, east of the Mas Fjord and west of the Vikafjell road. It's a vast and varied mountainscape with deep fjords and valleys and blue-grey peaks above treeline, up to 1200 - 1300 meters elevation. The Stølsheimen landscape preservation area is a mountain area with many summer pasture farms in hilly terrain bordering on a spectacular fjord landscape. Within the protected area you will also find the roadless and exotic Finnafjord in the municipality of Vik. The Jotunheimen National Park, the Jostedalsbreen National Park and the Breheimen and Stølsheimen mountains are the most popular areas for mountain walking around the Sognefjord, although every village along the fjord also has great walks to choose from.

The Stølsheimen landscape preservation area

Mountain hiking / walking / skiing in the Stølsheimen

From Vik you can take mountain walks in mighty Vikafjell and the beautiful Stølsheimen. Stordalen in Masfjorden is the starting point of a well-developed network of tracks and cabins in the Stølsheimen mountains. take walks straight from the road across Vikafjell. Vikafjell and Stølsheimen can offer many walking routes, including: Storehaug – Storesvingen, Hestavollen - HolaBungane. You can spend several days walking or skiing from cabin to cabin. Most cabins have groceries for sale. A walking/skiing map of the whole Stølsheimen is available at bookshops or the Tourist Information Office in Knarvik.
Contact
Bergen Turlag
Tverrgt. 4-6 5017 Bergen
Postal Adress: Tverrgt. 4-6 5017 Bergen
Tlf: 55335810
Fax: 55335829
www.bergen-turlag.no

Kinsarvik Tourist Information Center

Kinsarvik sentrum/ Kinsarvik Brygge
5782 Kinsarvik
Phone53 66 31 12
Telefax53 66 32 03
E-mail: turistinfo@kinsarvik.net
http://www.visitullensvang.no/

Nordhordland Tourist Board & Tourist information office in Knarvik

Nordhordland mountain area called Stølsheimen. It is possible to rent hunting grounds in Nordhordland. Contact Nordhordland Tourist Office.
Office adress: Kvernhushaugane 1, Knarvik Senter
Postal adress: Boks 108, N - 5903 Isdalstø
Tel.: (+47) 56 35 16 01
Fax: (+47) 56 35 21 60
info@visitNordhordland.no
http://www.visitnordhordland.no/

Vikafjellsvegen between Vik and Vinje/Voss (route 13)

The road through the mountain area between Vik and Vinje/Voss [(Vikafjellsvegen (Rv 13)] provides an ideal base for hikes in both the Vikafjellet and the Stølsheimen mountains, where there are many old summer pasture farms set in hilly terrain. All of the old mountain pasture farms are characteristic for Stølsheimen
Contact information
Vikafjellsvegen (Rv 13)
NO-6891 Vik i Sogn

The mountain lodge in Stordalen - the natural surroundings of Stølsheimen

Stordalen Fjellstove in Masfjorden is situated amidst fantastic walking/skiing terrain, just one and a half hours' drive from Bergen. Here, you can stay overnight, eat to your heart's content and go walking or skiing on prepared tracks in summer and winter respectively. Stordalen is the perfect starting point for both long and short walks/skiing trips in the majestic natural surroundings of Stølsheimen. Large area for small game hunting and fishing. You can, for instance, walk north-east to Skavlabu. Stordalen Fjellstove hunting lodge also offers smallgame shooting,
Stordalen Fjellstove
NO-5984 Matredal -
Tel.: (+47) 56 36 62 05
Fax: (+47) 56 36 70 26
post@stordalenfjellstove.no
www.stordalenfjellstove.no

Vik Tourist Office

Vik Tourist Office is situated at Kristianhus, in the same building as the Boat & Motor Museum, by the road Rv 13 in Vikøyri.
6893 Vik i Sogn
Phone+47 57 69 56 86
E-mail: vik@sognefjord.no

Voss Tourist Office

Voss Tourist Information is centrally located in Uttrågata 9 in the town centre of Voss, in Voss Tinghus by Voss Kino and not far from Voss Church.
Uttrågata 9
5700 Voss
Postadresse: Postboks 57, 5701 Voss
Phone56 52 08 00
Telefax56 52 08 01
E-mailinfo@visitvoss.no
http://www.visitvoss.no/

Modalen of Osterfjord

Modalen of Osterfjord has great possibilities for outdoor activities, such as walks in the mountain area of Stølsheimen and fishing in the fjord,the lakes and the rivers. More info: http://www.norwaves.com/municipality-modalen.html
Stolsheimen Area Mountains



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