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!


Mountain No. 5 — Mount Sandviken

I like to call Sandviksfjellet an efficient mountain.

The way up is not easy, but it doesn’t mess around. Called the Stoltzekleiven, the most famous path ascends 313 meters vertically over the course of 910 meters — which means the average slope is a nasty 30 percent. It is considered “challenging” and “extremely difficult” — even by Norwegian standards.

Here’s the Google Earth view of the route, followed by a more artistic rendering by Jon Tvedt:

Full disclosure: Now that I’ve mentioned the Stoltzekleiven’s reputation, this may look like it’s going to turn into a bragging, patting-myself-on-the-back blog post. But it’s not. Because I sort of cheated, going up the Stoltzekleiven. I walked.

You’re supposed to run.

Yes, you read that correctly. You’re supposed to run nearly a kilometer over rough-cut stone stairs that charge straight up the side of a mountain.

Once a year, there’s even a race on the Stoltzekleiven — the steepest in the world. The record time, from top to bottom? Eight minutes, thirteen seconds. Even for a Norwegian, that’s insane.

Don’t even ask how long it took me.

On a beautiful sunny day, I met up with Mariia, a friend from Norwegian class, and some others to tackle the mountain for the first time. The going wasn’t easy, but the view was beautiful from the beginning and improved with every step.

And when, a short time later, we reached the summit sweaty and exhausted, we found what has to be the best view over Bergen (and I’ve seen a few.)

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember that this place is real.

When my friend Nadine visited a week later, I knew I wanted to take her up one mountain. The enchanting view of the harbour was fresh in my mind, and the stone steps were tempting after a week of rain had turned all the forest paths around the city to mud. When we finally got a break in the rain — that it was already starting to get dark notwithstanding — we headed out for Sandviksfjellet round two.

We climbed through the blue hour…

And reached the top just as the last gasp of daylight dyed sky and sea indigo.

We were dazzled by the glittering, vibrant cityscape before us.

Bergen Love!


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