|Ranastongi from Vavatn
|Estimated net time||5-6 hours|
|Difficulty||You're likely to find snow on the plateau also in mid-summer, but this area is so flat that the snow will not cause any problems. The route has in general no difficulties.|
|Drinking water||The route runs parallel to rivers all the way to the summit plateau, and offers excellent drinking water. But there is no access to water during the long hike across the plateau.|
|Parking||Room for several cars at car par at trail head.|
|Start height||1150 metres|
|Vertical metres||805 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||13.5 km|
|Route photo||Trail head for Ranastongi.|
Drive road 7 to Gol and exit onto road 52 towards Hemsedal. Stay on road 52 and drive through Hemsedal village centre. A little north of Hemsedal exit right where signed for "Grøndalen". Drive 5.0 km along this road and turn right where signed for "Harahorn". Follow this gravel road uphill, and pay toll (NOK 40 per 2009) after 3.4 km. Drive another 900 metres and you get to a road fork. Follow the right leg and drive 3.7 km on the right (east) side of lake Vavatn. Turn right and find parking on the left hand side of the road after another 150 metres.
From the trail head follow the signed path to Ranastongi. The path runs on the left (west) side of the river coming down from north for approximately 2.4 km. After you have passed the second major river coming down from your right (north-east), cross the river you have walking on the left hand side of, and stay on the left hand side of the river running north-east. The path up here is vague, but there are small cairns here and there, and also blue paint on some rocks. When you get into the steeper section before entering the plateau you should follow the small cairns that marks the route through the boulder on the left hand side of the gully.
Once you're on the plateau follow the sparse cairns towards the summit, which is located left (north) of the small saddle between the summit and top 1888. The summit is marked by a proper cairn, and has a registration book.
The descent is best done by reversing the ascent route.
24. July 2009
After a fairly miserable day in the Nesbyen mountains on the Thursday it was my intention to drive back home this Friday, and possibly do Knutshøe, which I didn't complete a couple of weeks earlier thanks to the fact that I thought I was at the summit when in fact I was a few hundred metres short of the summit. But weather forecast for Friday was quite promising for the morning, so Håvard and I agree to get up early and have another go at a Hemsedal mountain.
Despite a longer and wetter Thursday night than planned (surprise!) we managed to be in the cars by 06:15 on Friday morning, and were ready to start our hike to Ranastongi by 07:45, in perfect sun shine. Finding trail head and the path was easy, but soon after trail head we were a bit uncertain about which of the many paths to follow. As it turned out it didn't really matter, as long as we made sure we were staying relatively close to the river.
When we got up to the point where we were due to cross the river Håvard wasn't terribly impressed with the crossing I had found so he decided to walk another few tens of metres up along the river. I was quite happy with the crossing I had found but could see that the first couple of small jumps from stone to stone would require some concentration. When I only had the final, and easiest crossing left, I probably relaxed too much and before I really realised what happened I was on my back in the river. Instinct told me to get my camera into safety, but I soon realised that it had been under water so I wasn't looking forward to the moment of truth. I got myself onto dry land, physically with only a few bruises, but my pride had got a terrible beating. I started to undress down to my boxer shorts, and after having wringed all my clothes and put them on a large stone to dry a little more in the sun shine, I started to inspect the camera. I usually carry my camera inside the water proof camera bag, but outside my rucksack, so things could have been fine if it wasn't for the fact that my 18-200 lens makes the camera too big for me to zip the camera bag. You didn't need to be Sherlock Holmes to see that the camera had been in contact with water, but the camera bag was probably closed well enough to keep the camera from being totally submersed. I decided to just let the camera sit in the sun for a while, and hope that by the time I wanted to take photos the water would have evaporated. Håvard and me shared some laughs, and after me having put my wet clothes on we decided to proceed.
As we progressed towards the steeper section before the summit plateau some clouds started to come drifting in, and we realised that it might not be that sunny by the time we got to the summit. And by the time we got to the plateau it was getting pretty grey, but no danger of any rain, and the wind was very modest.
Crossing the plateau was as close to boring as you can get a hike, but with a 1900 metres summit ahead of you spirit tends to remain high. We got to the summit in fine style, and after a longish pause at the summit, with taking photos (but a lot of clouds) and enjoying lunch, we started an uneventful descent. During our descent we met a few other hikers with Ranastongi as the target of the day. A though that crossed us after having descended was that this mountain is probably well suited for skiing, and could possibly even be very nice for skiing during spring.
Back at the cars we thanked each other for a few great days in the mountains, and at Håvard's cabin, and I started the boring drive back to Sunnmøre. Back home I did the compulsory hike to Heimste Synnalandsheia before packing the car for ten days at our cabin at Fjellsetra.