Løvstakken

Om de ‘Syv’ Fjell — About the ‘Seven’ Mountains

So apparently, Bergen is “the City among Seven Mountains.” The fact that Bergen is actually surrounded by NINE mountains doesn’t seem to deter its residents from claiming all the mythological and historical impact of lucky number seven.

Seven, nine, whatever — mountains are awesome, and having a veritable Smorgåsbord of them at my feet is going to be one of the highlights of this semester for me.

I’m on a quest to climb them all!

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Mountain No. 3 — Mount løVstakken

“I like Løvstakken. It’s wilder than the other mountains.” – Lukas

My third Bergen mountain was Løvstakken, across the town from Ulriken and Fløyen and not far from Fantoft, where most international students live. Although taller than Fløyen, it’s a fair amount shorter than Ulriken, and I have to admit I was underestimating it when I set out with my new friends Lukas and Desirée for a Friday afternoon climb. The weather was cloudy, cold and uncertain, but Lukas said he knew the way well — he runs up the mountain once or twice a week.

Not long after we turned our boots to the slope, snow started falling in big, heavy clumps, transforming the forest into a winder wonderland…

… and completely obscuring the path.

Before we knew it, we were essentially lost. We had warm, waterproof clothes on (a mountain must, regardless of the weather when you set off), so we weren’t overly worried about exposure. We also had the comfort of knowing that, if we headed downhill, eventually we’d run back into the city that it was suddenly hard to believe surrounded us.

Since we weren’t in any real danger, the predicament was more amusing as we tried everything to inch our way further up the mountain. Lukas found animal tracks in places where more twigs were broken, and we followed them, hoping it would take us to some sort of pass through the boulders and cliffs.

The air was so full of mist and snow that we couldn’t see the city below, or the peak above.

And the forest all around us was painted in haunting monochrome.

Finally, we broke above the tree line, and it became easier to move forward, but the landscape felt very exposed away from the embrace of the evergreens. At one point, Desirée discovered that parts of her hair had frozen solid!

A few minutes later, two towers and a small building, marking the peak, broke through the fog so suddenly that we almost ran into them. We’d made it!

The complete lack of view made the moment less climactic, but the place was lovely in its own way. Lukas says normally the view is great and the top is blustery and windswept. Part of the reason the summit took us by surprise this time was the utter, almost eerie silence and calm. We had the mountain to ourselves.

And on the way down, some of the clouds broke just enough to let haunting, unreal glimpses of Bergen break through, all bathed in the same silvery, mirror-like light.

It’s views like these that make you wish winter never had to end…

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