Folarskardnuten – Buskerud county high point
Anne and I had checked into Hakkesetstølen, just south of Geilo. The day before, I visited Prestholtskarvet, and today, the time had come for the highlight of the hiking segment of “tour de southern Norway” – Folarskardnuten – the high point in Buskerud county.
To my delight, Anne decided to come along, despite her bad knee. She’s had a number of bad days, but also good days where she didn’t feel any pain. Today was a good day. The only showstopper would be the weather, and the forecast was unclear.
It was a bit of a drive from Hakkesetstølen to Nordrestølen by lake Strandavatnet (toll road). We had already discussed the route. Either hike via Lordehytta and risk snow below Lordehytta and in a steep section above Lordehytta. A safer alternative was the route up Raggsteindalen and Veslebotn. But we ended up with the route past Lordehytta and take our chances.
We were on the trail just before 10am. The first 4km involved a gentle climb along a good path up to lake 1432m. The mountain was covered in fog, and I thought to myself that the routefinding part would be tedious in the fog. And then it started to rain. But we had high hopes that the weather would clear up, and after a while it stopped raining and the fog was definitely lifting!
We stayed on the west side of the lake and continued to lake Folarskardtjørnan. Here, we caught up with a small group who was heading to a tourist hut (don’t remember which) on the south side of the Hallingskarvet plateau.
Next followed a steep ascent up to Lordehytta. We avoided the snow altogether, which was good since we didn’t have crampons.
We arrived at Lordehytta (approx. 1620m) at 12:20pm.
“Lordehytta cabin at Folarskardet (1620m above sea level) was built around 1880 by Lord Garvagh. There were two generations of Garvagh lords from Scotland. The eldest son visited Aurland in the 1860’s and found his way up into the mountains, hunting reindeer and building cabins. It was his son who would later build Lordehytta cabin in Folarskardet. Lordehytta is today the oldest cabin on Hallingskarvet, and is used as both a trip destination and emergency shelter. Lord Garvagh published a book in London in 1875 entitled: The Pilgrim Of Scandinavia, which illustrates his love of the mountains and natural beauty in Hol. He died in England in 1915.”
The next task was to get on the mountain proper. We spent some time looking for doable routes, but couldn’t see any that didn’t involve snow. Anne had hiking poles. I found two sharp rocks. In case we lost the grip, then upon impact with rock – the result could be quite bad…
Once the snow section was passed, it was just a matter of finding the easiest route up to the summit. We arrived on the top of Folarskardnuten 13:28pm – 3,5 hours after heading out.
After all these years of thinking about this mountain … finally here… big joy!
As none of us wanted to descend the steep section above Lordehytta, the descent route was obvious – Veslebotn and Raggsteindalen. New terrain. Double value for the effort!
The 3,2km descent from Folarskardnuten to the pass east of point 1731 is – NOT EXCITING! A lot of boulder. The marking of the route was not very good, and we were SO happy that we didn’t have to find our way down here in fog!
The route into Veslebotn wasn’t good either, and this section would have been very awkward in fog!
While descending into Raggsteindalen, we had to cross a river and my timing of a jump was quite bad. I ended up with a nasty cut in my leg. But finally I could utilize something I had been keeping in my medicine bag for quite some time – cling film! Recommended!
We had seen horses grassing in Veslebotn, and in Raggsteindalen we met two women on their horses, on their way up to check on the horses.
It had been a long hike, and we looked forward to get back to the car. We reached the road only 0,3km west of the car and by 4:32pm the hike was over. 6,5 hours, 20,8km and 1000 vertical meters. This was our second last day of our 14-day tour in the south of Norway. We would be heading home the next day, but tonight we would celebrate a mighty fine hike on Hakkesetstølen!
Pictures from the hike: