At Gjefsjøen mountain farm in Snåsa you will find a historical building by the name of “Gammelstua”, the old living room. During WW2 the house was used as a base for the military operation RYPE which had the goal of sabotaging the railway to slow the retreat of the German troops.
The house was set up for the first time in 1873 as a classical living room with three other rooms with half a 2nd floor. In 1907, the house had additions built into it and it was moved. In this house the ones who ran the farm lived there and hunted a variety of animals as well as grouse prominently and fish. Today you can visit Gammelstua and learn more about the history about Operation RYPE.
It happened on a spring day on March 24th in 1945 when Gammelstua was transformed into the headquarters and base for Operation RYPE. Rype was the code name of the American parachute troops, the Norwegian Operations Group (NORSO). The group went with eight B-24 planes from Harrington airport in England and jumped out with parachutes over the Snåsa mountains. The farm therefore became a central place during the last months of the war in 1945 with its ties to Operation RYPE. The troops in the Snåsa mountains were mainly Norwegian-Americans and Norwegians who happened to end up in the USA during the war. The operation’s goal was to sabotage the railway that was headed towards the north to make it more difficult to mobilize German troops towards the end of the war.
The owners of the house were eventually sent to Stockholm in Sweden, a neutral country under WW2 as it was too dangerous to stay in Norway. Those who initially lived in that house have unfortunately passed, and there are no traces of what life was like living in that house. The youngest daughter is the only remaining, alive person of that household and she was nine months old when they had to escape. She says that it must have been a traumatic experience since her parents did not want to talk about it as she grew up.
The CIA started at Gjefsjøen
You can say that CIA got its start at Gjefsjøen. The troops belonged to the organization ‘The Office of Strategic Services (OSS)’, the precursor to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was led by the later CIA chief William Colby. The soldiers were recruited from the 99th Battalion Separate from the US Army, a battalion that was created in 1942 to perform guerilla operations behind enemy lines. The troops in the Snåsa mountains were mainly Norwegian-Americans and Norwegians who happened to end up in the USA during the war. Operation RYPE was the US Army’s first and only combined ski- and parachute operation.
OSS Gjefsjøen is founded
Gammelstua has been collecting dust for many years, but in 2017 work was started to preserve the house. An interested, strong and initiative taking man by the name of Ebbe Arnstein Deraas decided to save the historical building. Together with company and his wisdom, the organization OSS Gjefsjøen was established with Ebbe as a chairman and former defense chief Harald Sunde in the board. A decision was made to move the house further up the hill from its original placement. A leakage from the roof left its marks and the walls were damaged by all the water, making the wood completely rotten. After a formidable crowd volunteering effort, the house was restored to its former glory and appears just the way it was back in 1945.
The headquarter house was officially opened to the public on September 3rd in 2021. Homeland security celebrated its 75th year anniversary, and this was celebrated by the press, media, NRK, Homeland security themselves, the people of Gjefsjøen and the voluntary workers who made it all possible.
A historical centre
The former headquarters and Gjefsjøen mountain farm offers a lot of history that will leave a strong impression on you. Today, the place is used as a center to tell the stories of the farm, resistance effort and Blåfjella – Skjækerfjella national park. OSS Gjefsjøen has a great connection to the OSS Society in USA and especially its veteran organizations to the special forces. If you wish to learn more about the history of Operation RYPE and be shown around Gammelstua, get in touch with Nils Christian Gjefsjø at Gjefsjøen Fjellgård.
Inderøy Brenneri has made an aquavit dedicated to the heroes from Operation RYPE 1945. The aquavit is based on local herbs, plants and growths from Gjefsjøen, including the plant tunbalderbrå which is Norway’s answer to the pineapple. The aquavit can be bought at Vinmonopolet.
Gjefsjøen mountain farm
If you take your trip east towards the border of Sweden, then deep into the Snåsa mountains you can find the wonderful Gjefsjøen mountain farm and Gammelstua in the majestic Blåfjella and Skjækerfjella national park. There you will meet Nils Christian Gjefsjø who lives there and runs the farm with plenty of insight about the mountain farm. Gjefsjøen offers an intimate experience with nature with great opportunities for hunting and fishing. Reservations for accommodations and taste testing of the Gjefsjø aquavit can be made if you wish.
Gjefsjøen mountain farm is one of four mountain farms in Snåsa that lack a road connection. It takes 6-7 hours by ski or foot to get to Gjefsjøen. We strongly recommend taking the war history trail by going to Minnestenen at Plukkutjønnfjellet where a plane on its way to Gjefsjøen mountain farm with gear and reinforcements crashed on the night between the 6th and 7th of April. All 12 American soldiers on board passed away.
Follow Gjefsjøstien (The gjefsjø trail) that goes from Ismenningen in Snåsa. Read more about the hike here: War history trail to the Plukkutjønn mountain.
Alternatively, you can get to Gjefsjøen by a boat ride across Bjørkedet on the Swedish side of Gjefsjøen, while a snowmobile is the best alternative at winter time.
How to get there:
To get there you can drive about Sweden from the E6 in Verdal, then drive on riksvei 72 (Highway 72) to Sandvika/the national border, further towards Järpen on road 336. Take off to the left before (for? Usikker hva det er på engelsk) Kallsedet, follow the road Övereng to Björkedet. You will come to a toll road. The road is in total approximately 15 miles away from Verdal. Contact Nils Christian Gjefsjø to get the code to pass the toll road and get escorted by boat to Gjefsjøen mountain farm. Tel: +47 416 08 522 https://gjefsjo.no/