Back on Aurlandsfjellet!
Saturday: Today, Anne and I decided to take the trip from Sogndal to Aurlandsfjellet. It’s a relatively short drive (incl. a ferry) but the problem would of course be the busy summer tourist traffic across this mountain, between Aurland and Lærdal. But we would surely endure…
The goal was Jernhetta and – optionally – Erterhaug. These were two tops that we passed on our 2015 ski-trip to Bleia (1717m) and I hadn’t quite forgotten about them. Hopefully, today we would visit both.
We parked just north of lake Flotvatnet and the plan was to bike the mountain road for 2,4km (to above lake Soleibakkvotni) and possibly all the way to the west end of lake 1276. But Anne’s bike had a technical problem that we couldn’t resolve, and so we headed out with one bike only.
Being the gentleman that I am, I offered my bike to Anne. But when we got to the end of the mountain road, we agreed that the terrain wasn’t suitable for a normal bike and left it at approx. 1370m. Then we proceeded on the mountain path on foot, past Soleibakkvotni and to the west end of lake 1276.
At the far end of the lake, we had to cross the drain in order to get to Jernhetta. The crossing went just fine, and we were happy there wasn’t more water in the river.
After a little while, we left the path that will (eventually) take hikers all the way to Frønningen – down by Sognefjorden. The terrain offered easy off-trail hiking.
We passed some old ruins that puzzled us at first, but soon realized that they must have been support buildings for the old telephone line running across the plateau.
We continued towards Jernhetta and found a fairly easy ascent route up the mountain.
On top, we had an excellent view towards Aurlandsfjorden…
We had now agreed that we would visit Erterhaug on our way back. Grånosi (1566m) was only 3,3km northwest of Erterhaug, but that top would have to be visited at some other point. This hike would be long enough.
The map indicated that we should not attempt a descent to the north, and so it was too tempting to resist. It was indeed steep terrain in general, but we easily found an unproblematic route that took us down to lake Erterhaugvatnet.
Crossing the drain from the lake posed no problems whatsoever.
We now had to pick a route to the top and settled for the most challenging route that we could scramble without risking any major injuries.
It was quite fun going up this otherwise quite easy top.
And soon after, we had our 2nd top for the day “in the bag”.
This is a rocky area, and excellent terrain for skiing. But, it’s quite nice to go hiking here as well.
From Erterhaug, we descended to the southeast and eventually reached the river from lake 1276m. Anne thought it would make sense to aim for the drain (where we crossed earlier), but I was curious to see if we found another place. Initially, that didn’t seem possible. The river was quite big. But all of a sudden, the entire river went “underground” and we could easily cross it on rocks. A few meters higher up, the river was once again big and difficult to cross. Quite weird indeed!
Once back at the bike, I said to Anne that she could bike down while Karma and I would run down. We got a couple of minutes head start, and thanks to some short-cuts, Karma and I beat Anne back to the car – with a minute to spare.
It was a really nice hike, and I look forward to go back up there. There are 13 tops with a prominence of at least 100 meters on the west side of the road, and so far, we’ve got 6 of them – Bleia, Erterhaug, Jernhetta, Store Grånosi, Glipsfjellet and Blåskavlen.
Back in Sogndal, we enjoyed ourselves with grilled burgers and very nice beer from my good neighbor Hans…
Trip statistics: 17,3km, 640 vertical meters, 5h:45m
Pictures (Canon 80D) from the trip: