Snøfjelltinden ranks – with a primary factor of 902m – as the 135th most prominent top in Norway (mainland). It is located at the innermost end of the Visten fjord, and the top is shared between Brønnøy and Vevelstad.
This top is not a top you just “go and hike”, as it requires some planning and logistics. It is not possible to do this trip as a day-hike even if you take the express boat to Aursletta – the natural starting point for this hike.
There are exceptions of course: a) you can get someone to give you a boat ride, b) rent a boat and c) take the evening boat to Aursletta (when it runs in the evening), do the hike at night, and get picked up by the morning express boat. Or – if you are a mountain runner, easily doing 30km+ (starting from Andalsvågen) – and heaps of vertical meters. Then everything is possible…
My hike “began” at least 20 years ago, when I started collecting mountain tops in Brønnøy. Remote as it was, I gave focus to other tops instead. But this summer, Anne suggested that we should give this top a go.
The biggest challenge was to figure out which boat route on the internet that we should trust. Once we had a certain trust in that we would get to Aursletta in the evening and get out the following afternoon, the trip was on!
The express boat into the Visten fjord runs (for our part) from Forvika. To get there from Brønnøysund, we had to take the Horn – Andalsvågen ferry. The question was – should we add any margin? The ferries on the Helgeland coastline can be full in the summertime.
We decided to take the 17:05 ferry from Horn. If we didn’t get onboard, we could still reach the 19:40 boat from Forvik via the next ferry – 18:35. The boat would then pick us up at Aursletta 15:30 the following day. This was the transport planning.
As for the route planning, we didn’t spend a lot of time on it. Through peakbook.org (excellent site for Norwegian peakbaggers!), we could see where other hikers had gone before us, and we decided to follow the same route.
As for logistics, we had to spend the night at Aursletta and so we had to pack for a night in tent. That’s not rocket science, but we had to go into town to get gas for the JetBoil, dinner (Real Turmat) and now was the time to get the new hiking boots I had planned to buy.
Wednesday, 19/8: We arrived in Brønnøysund the evening before, and established “base-camp” at mom’s place. Normally, we stay there for a few days before moving on, but given the weather forecast, we decided to do the Snøfjelltinden trip before the rain came in.
We left Brønnøysund 16:00, just to make sure we got onboard the 17:05 ferry from Horn. It felt like a waste of time, as there was only 1 lane of cars when the ferry left. But you’ve got to wait somewhere…
Then we had 2 hours of waiting at Forvik. We could have killed a lot of that time at the local restaurant, but we had planned a dinner later in the evening and it was money saved.
The weather was gorgeous, and it wasn’t a huge pain to relax by the pier.
The boat (Snøfjell – named after the mountain we were to hike) came and left on time.
We stood on deck and enjoyed every second of the trip into the Visten fjord.
At Ausen, an ATV and a load of paving stones had to be off-loaded. The crane took care of the ATV while I helped the crew off-load the stones. They appreciated that.
Ausen was our only stop before arriving at Aursletta, some 1 hour after leaving Forvik.
We discussed where we should put up the tent. It was natural to think that we should stay at close to the fjord as possible, given the mosquitos. So, we decided to camp by the pier.
But before putting up the tent, we decided to say hello to the only residents here – Kaja and Bjørnar Aarstand. We met them outside their house and had a nice chat. I asked what they did for a living and Bjørnar said he was the Lomsdal – Visten National Park Manager. As Anne is a Park Ranger, they had friends, ex- and present colleagues in common. As we were eager to get to bed, we said goodbye and returned to the pier.
After a little while, the tent was up, and we were finally in shelter of the midges – coming out in swarms in the evening.
It took a while before we fell to sleep, but when we did – we slept hard.
Thursday, 20/8: When Anne woke me up just after 6am, I was nowhere ready to get up. I needed another 10-15 minutes just to remember a) my name, b) her name and c) why we were here. But eventually, I was back to normal, and we had breakfast and rigged down the campsite.
We left the camping gear by the pier and had normal backpacks for our hike. We headed out at 7:15am.
We followed a tractor road for 1,5km and found water alongside the road.
Before the road took a right-hand turn and descended to the north, we left it, crossed a small meadow and followed slabs in the direction of the mountain.
Ahead of us were 3 “ridges”, separated by gullies. We aimed for the one in the middle.
After a while, we found that a gully was splitting the ridge we were on, and the crossing wouldn’t be easy.
We decided to proceed a little further and negotiated the problem by following a “bush route” until we were back on the ridge, proper.
From here on and up, the terrain was easy. Being a slab ridge, we had to look left and right for the best route possible, but the solution always presented itself.
It was a nice ascent. We had “all the time in the world” and didn’t expect any rain.
The only question mark was the fog on top of the mountain. That wasn’t supposed to be there?
The other mountains had fog too. Effectively, our only real view was down to Aursletta and the mountains beyond Bønnåa – the farm on the opposite side of the fjord (both farms have been covered in the popular TV program “Der ingen skulle tru at nokon kunne bu“).
I was a bit concerned about the access to water – for Karma, this being a ridge and all. But the water supplies were plentiful, and I could relax.
Approaching point 667m, we got the upper mountain in proper view. The terrain looked easy enough. At this point in time, I started thinking about a descent along the northeast ridge, but this ridge would lead us into forest terrain that could offer surprises and obstacles. As such, we decided to descend the way we came up.
After a while, we got Storfinnkneet (1162m) in view. This is one of the last handful of tops in this region that I *have* to visit. Some other summer. The mountain doesn’t go anywhere…
On the upper part of mountain, there was some snow left. Even though a plod on snow is strenuous, it felt less strenuous than the ups and downs that the rocky ridge had to offer.
And then we reached the top!
Due to the fog, there wasn’t a whole lot to see. Not that it really mattered. The important thing was to stand on top, and it took us 3h:10m to get up here.
I took a look towards the southbound ridge and the string of mountain tops I hope to do some day. The descent from Snøfjelltinden was really steep and not something I felt for exploring.
There was another top – some 150m to the southwest. From the cairn, the other top looked equally high or higher. But when I got there, the cairn top looked WAY taller. The actual difference in height is probably ~5 meters.
We enjoyed our lunch, but there was no reason to linger around and so we began our descent after a little while.
The terrain looked very much different going down, and so I decided to “cheat” by keeping any eye on our GPS track from the ascent. I don’t typically do this, as I enjoy the “tricky part” of descending without assistance. But I made an exception today.
If you do this hike without a GPS – do be mindful about the various sections of the route. Try to sort and memorize them. It will be of big help upon your descent.
When we got to the point where a gully almost cut the ridge in two, it was helpful to see two rocks that I had left in plain sight going up. I removed them while going down. Everyone has to be responsible for their own route on this mountain!
I had played with the idea of hiking the highest top above Langvågvatnan while Anne and Karma returned to Aursletta. But all of a sudden, the supposedly highest top looked like the lowest, I got confused and moreover – I had started to feel wearing brand new hiking boots. So, we all returned to Aursletta.
Back at the pier, we had 2+ hours to kill. It wasn’t only time that had to be killed. The horseflies were terrible! I mean – really terrible. Anne and I would always endure their continuous attacks, but Karma couldn’t just smack them dead with her paws. She tried to kill them by eating them.
As I really, really, really didn’t want Karma to be stung in her mouth, I had to be her protective guard for the 2+ hours.
And my lifelong question got answered! If you kill enough of them, will the number reduce? The answer was NO! There were just as many horseflies when the boat came, as when we came to the pier.
We were happy about having done the hike early in the day, because the fog was really moving in on the mountain now…
It was a sheer delight to get on the 15:30 boat and leave the horseflies behind!
We got to Forvik around 3 minutes too late to reach the 16:40 ferry from Andalsvågen. Fortunately, the next ferry left 17:30 and those 47 minutes were easily killed by thinking back on our “mini expedition”. I really look forward to our next “expedition” in the Sør-Helgeland mountains!
Trip statistics: 15,2km, 1150 vertical meters, 5h:51m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone 13 Pro Max) from the hike: