The only thing in Hyllestad you can’t miss – is the mountain of Lihesten. It is the highest mountain in the municipality and can be seen from a far ranging radius and is visible in several neighbouring municipalities. Literally translated the name means the hillside horse. Seems obvious once you see it from a certain angle, such as the one shown in the feature image. Do you see it too?
While Lihesten has many peaks, perhaps the most impressive one is Gygrekjeften. This translates as the Mouth of the Giant Woman, alternatively female Troll or female Jotun. Unlike the other famous norwegian overhangs, Prekestolen and Trolltunga, this one can’t be selfied without climbers equipment and professional securing.
A norwegian TV-reality show called “71 grader Nord” featured Gygrekjeften in one of their programs. They mounted cables to the overhang and secured hammocks and dared the contestants to spend the night. One of the contestants promply quit the show as she couldn’t stomach the thought of being suspended 700 m in the air for several hours. Not even with such a magnificent view. You can watch the crazy preparations for the show underneath (norwegian only):
Another famous peak on the mountain is Risnesnipa which is where Norway’s first flight disaster happened back in 1936. Named after the airplane it’s called The Havørn Accident. This was early in the days of commercial flights and the incident met with a lot of national and international attention. Some even feared that this would be the end of commercial airplane business. There are several stories regarding this so I might cover this more in-depth in another blogpost.
How to get up
The mountain has several hiking paths and routes that interconnect. The most natural starting point being Lekva and up. From there you can do the “I’m a daredevil goat”-route with ropes and disclaimers to reach Gygrekjeften directly, or proceed more cautiously up to Fløfjellet peak. While on that side of the mountain you can decide on several other routes and take your time to enjoy the view over Lifjorden, Sognefjorden, the lower summits Kolgrov, Sågnes and many others far beyond.
Approach from the west can only be done by boat. The path starts from Porten (the Gate) and splits into two gently sloping, but long routes that cover forests and lakes and rivers until you arrive in the rocky and barren part that features the tallest summits.
The unique geography of Lihesten suggests that you take several trips and explore different approaches and plan for differing time schedules. You can even camp overnight at the top and go fishing for trout in the many lakes.
The top of Lihesten is quite a lot more exposed to the weather and any hiking should be planned properly. If you are not accustomed to hiking in the mountains it is strongly advised that you bring a guide on this one. We norwegians sometimes forget that not everyone was raised as mountain goats and might overestimate foreigners ability for it. Whichever way you choose to do it, stay safe!
As a last note I will say that on the 16th of June 2019, the annual Lihestklyvet will take place. This is an open-for-all gathering where people hike the mountain together. https://www.facebook.com/events/1074407246093329/
I hope this post inspired you to go hiking in the mountains or even plan a visit to Lihesten and Hyllestad. Let me know what you think in the comments 🙂