Bergen is surrounded by islands and mountains.
The mountains vary in height with the highest being Ulriken, at 643m (or approximately two and a bit Mt Edens, or 2/3 of a Te Aroha). Consequently, mountain hiking is popular here wind, rain, or sunshine, with numerous mountain running competitions occurring throughout the year. Perhaps the most famous is the 7 fjellsturen. This is a 35 km race around the Bergen CBD, summiting the 7 most prominent peaks. Norwegians will do this in a day. Or even twice a day, as is the case of the run’s record holder.
Today, we finally completed the seven mountain trail, summiting the last peak. It only took us three months.
The track can be done in either direction.
We started from the Bryggen side of town.
First up was Sandviksfjellet (417 moh*), this one we climbed on our first week of arrival.
Next is Rundemannen (568 moh). This mountain is one of my favorites. It has a well maintained cycle track up to the top and offers awesome views of the geographically complex harbor/fjords. From the town square it’s around a 2 – 2 1/2 hour walk to the top.
Number three is Fløyen (320 moh). Actually, I don’t think this one should count. Just a little higher than Mt Eden, it can be accessed via a cable car, and is the primary attraction for tourists and boat people who have a day to spend in town. Even on rainy days there is a busy bustle of American, German, and English tourists scrambling to get their photo, and token troll, before taking the car back down. For the less tubby locals, it makes for an invigorating morning run to the top, and with a complex network of paths guiding you there, it will take a long time before you have to take the same route twice.
Number four is Ulriken (643 moh). This is the highest peak, and situated just behind my work place. Next to Fløyen, this is the #2 mountain on visitor’s to do lists. It’s a steep scramble to the top, regardless of which route taken, but the view is worth it. For the less fit, or ski bunnies, there is also a cable car to the top. Rumor has it, that on a clear day it is possible to see the Troll A oil platform from the summit. So far, we have been unable to verify this myth.
Number five is Løvstakken (477 moh). Despite being situated just behind our apartment, I have been unable to bond with this raggedy mountain. The track to the top is rougher, and also longer. The mountain top is rugged and exposed. The view is great, but having six siblings, and dozens of cousins also offering similar outlooks, view alone no longer cuts it.
Number six is Damsgårdsfjellet (350 moh). This one is the closest from our apartment, and a relatively easy, short, and uneventful climb.
Last, but not least, is Lyderhorn (396 moh). Situated on the other side of the harbor, it’s around a 5km walk to get to from town, which is the main reason we had avoided it until now. Greeted with sunny blue skies, we decided to summit the last of the seven.
The track offered everything I could ask for.
We decided to take the direct steep route up, and the gentle service road down. We scrambled through forest and river beds. There are views along most of the way. We climbed up the eastern side, with an awesome view of Bergen city behind us, but what we would find on the other side remained a mystery.
Finally, we reached the summit. As we made the last steep ascent to the top, we had our first view over the top, out to the west. I was overwhelmed. Being close to the water, this mountain offers a spectacular view of the thousands of islands carved out by icy glaciers some millennia earlier. Norway has some amazing and unique geography. With over 80,000 islands gracing the coast, I’m unsure as to how many we saw today, but more than we will ever be able to visit.
Accompanied by a beautifully crisp autumn day, we marveled at the view, before then taking the gentler route down.
I thought the excitement was over. I was wrong.
Along the way we crossed a mountain dam, several ancient ruins, numerous now long abandoned gun emplacements, sealed off tunnels, a secret military installation, and an oil platform training station.
That was about it, I think.
Lyderhorn. A++++++++. Highly recommended. Would climb again.
So, after three months and two weeks of living in Bergen we finally completed the seven mountain challenge. How Norwegians manage to climb all seven in a day, or even twice a day, is beyond me.
*moh = meter over havet, and translates to meters above the harbour, or sea lavel
All photos follow below.