Where else in the world can you be surrounded by such majesty as Norway? A hike to the incredible Trolltunga would have to be pretty high on the list of the most spectacular things to see in the world.
When planning my trip to Scandinavia I wanted to add in something challenging and something amazingly beautiful. I looked at the constraints with my itinerary and narrowed it down to 3 incredible hikes in Norway – Preikestolen / the Pulpit Rock near Stavangar; Trolltunga in the Hardangar region which promised one of the most spectacular hikes in Norway; and Kjeragbolten – which is a boulder suspended between 2 cliffs. Knowing I would only have time for one hike I used Visit Norway to plan my trip and settled on Trolltunga.
We were going to be there around the 10th October and that hike was closed from 15th October, due to the onset of winter.
I decided that rather than just walking the 20km+ path to the flat rock at the top that I would take the hardest way to get there – a 12km mountain bike ride, a 3km scramble along a dry river bed and then a climb up a sheer cliff face! The website listed it as a guided bike, hike and via ferrata climb to Trolltunga. To be honest, I didn’t know what a via ferrata climb was, but saw some pictures and thought it could be fun.
The day I booked the tour I found out that a young girl from Melbourne had died after falling near the summit. But my thoughts were that people die driving in their car in their home suburb, and a one off hike was probably less risky than driving a car.
We stayed in an AirBnB place – there was 2 bunk beds, a small table, a shared bathroom and no kitchen. We had to bring in all our own food. I’m not an experienced camper of hiker by any means and really had no idea about what to take, which is why we booked a tour with an experienced guide.
Our tour started early with a briefing and safety check. There were certain points that if we thought we couldn’t make it we were able to turn back, but then there was also the point at which there was no turning back. We were a group of 4 plus the guide. The other couple were much more experienced, but I was happy that I was fairly fit. Ha! Being fit for a marathon doesn’t equate to being fit for scaling cliff faces.
There are plenty of Youtube videos of people on Trolltunga doing yoga and acrobatics and after hearing about the death of the Melbourne girl I must say I was hesitant about going to the edge.
But obviously I overcame that hesitation. When you’re on the rock it is nowhere near as scary as looking at it from the side.
We had so much muscle pain, not just the next day, but for 4 or 5 days after. Who knew that there were so many muscles in the body! Two mornings after the hike we were at our next accommodation and needed to write our names on our food to put it in the shared fridge, when I dropped my pen. I stood staring at it for at least a minute wondering how I would get down on the ground to pick it up. Everything was so stiff.
Muscles recover, but memories last a lifetime.
All I was really worried about at the time was being able to run a marathon the week after the hike. Luckily I wasn’t planning on a fast time.