The picturesque port of Geiranger, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Geiranger, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The spectacular Trolltunga via ferrata!

Trolltunga is a famous granite rock cliff hovering over a fjord in Norway. It's one of the most popular hikes in Norway, despite the fact that it's also one of the most gruelling and difficult, even for experienced hikers. But there are several ways to get up there.

The most common way is to simply hike up from the lower parking lot. It's a 28 km (17.4 mile) hike round trip!

It now costs 500 kr ($65 CAD, $50.50 USD) to park at the lower parking lot. Campers and cars are allowed as far as this parking lot, but you can't stay overnight.

Or you can cut 8 kms (5 miles) off the hiking trip by driving to the upper parking lot and paying 800 kr ($104 CAD, $80.80 USD) to park. Only cars allowed up here, and you have to book your spot in advance.

Or, you can take the via ferrata.

The via ferrata route starts with a 6 km (3.7 mile) bike ride. Followed by a very steep 1 km (.62 mile) hike up boulders scrambling to the sheer granite rock face wall. Followed by a 350 meter (1,150') climb  up that granite wall. Followed by a 2.5 km (1.5 mile) hike to the Troll's Tongue. You spend a half hour or so at the tongue, followed by a 10 km (6 mile) hike back to a shuttle bus that takes you back to your car.

It's a long, difficult day and most people complete it somewhere in between 8 to 12 hours.

The via ferrata route is also the most expensive. It cost us 1,800 kr ($235 CAD, $182 USD) per person, and that doesn't include the parking or possible gear rental. It's a bit of a splurge for us, but Norway is an expensive country and this was an expensive excursion. But it's something we've wanted to do for a long time, and it was fun to do it with Marti and Ryan.

The scenery at 7:10am!

We met up with our guides and the rest of the group at 7:30am at the Trolltunga Active adventure center where we all got suited up with the right gear and bicycles and climbing harnesses. Our head guide was Esther, a girl from Germany, and she was training our assistant guide Mailo, a girl from Denmark.

Ruth and I needed to rent one backpack and each a pair of rain pants. 150 kr ($19.50 CAD, $15.10 USD) per item rental fee. Helmets, bikes, and climbing gear are included in the excursion price.

Esther, giving us the run down on the route we're taking.

Ruth, on the bike route.

Marti, heading through the water!

And Ryan following behind.

Scenery along the way.

Jørn, Marti, Ryan, Kevin, Ruth, Mailo, Pär.

Heading out on the bikes.

There were eight customers and our two guides. Ruth and I, Marti and Ryan, Max and Liliana from California, Jørn from Norway and his friend Pär from Sweden.

Once again... more waterfalls.

It was a nice biking route!

But we are used to our own nice bikes. These bikes were really not in very good shape, and to be honest they were a little beat up. The rear tire or Ruth's bike was totally bald. Marti's bike was almost impossible to change the gears. The seats were absolutely terrible, but then it wasn't that long of a bike ride. However if we had one complaint about the trip, it was the condition of the bicycles.

But the scenery at Ringedalsvatnet Lake is gorgeous.

We finished the 6 km (3.7 mile) bike ride and it was time to do some hiking. It was pretty steep, but it was only for about 1 km (.6 miles). Still I think it took almost an hour. 

Getting some more instruction from Esther.

Esther and Mailo were great the whole trip. Can't say enough good things about them both. Really good guides, and they know their stuff! And, they were fun to have around and always cheerful.

Scenery along the way.

Hike almost done, and time to put on our climbing gear.

Marti and Ryan took a few short videos along the way.

Here is video number 1... turn up your volume!


Marti and Ryan, ready to climb!

And us!

Me, with my brain bucket on!

Esther giving us some important instructions.

Showing us what to do and what not to do.

Because Ruth was probably the most nervous about the whole experience, she got to go first!

Actually, it was because this way Esther would be right in front to guide her or help if she ran into trouble.

Via ferrata routes can be dangerous. In fact, people die every year... but it's very rare to have problems on a guided route when you follow the instructions of the guide. Problems normally occur when more experienced climbers go out on their own and feel that they are too good for the rules.

Ruth and I climbing higher.
Esther took a lot of photos and shared them with the group afterwards.

Here we come!

Marti and Ryan coming up behind us.

Gotta remember to stop and enjoy the views along the way!

Marti took this shot of me above her!

Marti.

Esther giving Ruth a hand on the more difficult sections.

Ryan.

Esther, Ruth, and I.

Ruth and Esther.

Marti and Ryan coming up behind us.

Me, and Marti.

Ruth hanging onto the wall!

Marti and Ryan.

Ryan and Marti testing out the quality of the equipment!

Heading higher.

Ruth, doing far better than she thought she would!



Ruth and I.

Ruth, Kevin, Marti, Ryan.

There is still a lot to go!

Don't forget to enjoy the views!

Stopped for a snack on a narrow ledge.

Marti.



Ruth.
We are getting quite high up now!

Looking down at the group of us coming up.

Me, having fun!

Ruth having fun!

Esther, Ruth, Kevin, Marti.

Almost at the top!

After two hours and twenty minutes of climbing, we reached the top of the first rock wall and Esther was up there to take a photo of each of us.

Ruth was the first!

Marti.

A nice shot of our assistant guide Mailo.

We then had two much smaller walls to climb before making it to the very top. We had climbed up 350 meters (just over 1,150') almost straight up. Something like a 100 story building!

Ruth, at the top!

And me at the top!

We were all pretty happy to have made it. Marti took another short video...


We needed a hug at the end of the line where it was safe to disconnect!

But this adventure was far from over. At this point it was about 2pm and we had set out on the bikes at just after 8am. We still had an hour and a half trek through the snow to get t the famous Trolltunga rock!

It was pretty wet and chilly up there. But we were dressed for the conditions.

The middle of June in Norway!

As I said, this is a tough hike. Many people hike in these conditions for 14 kms (8.7 miles) to get to the rock. And there are often so many people there that you have to wait in line for up to an hour to get on the rock. But we happened to pick a bad weather day, so there was hardly anybody up there!

Marti and Ryan, wondering where the clear blue sky is.

It started to clear up a little bit when Ruth and I were up there.

Another shot of Ruth and I.

And this is what it looks like on a nice day!

We hung around for half an hour or so waiting to see if the fog would clear, but it never got much better. We had to get going... because we had a 10 km (6.2 mile) hike ahead of us to get back to the shuttle that would take us to the car.

We didn't take many more photos... or rest breaks. We were pretty much done, but you still have to put one foot in front of the other. Fortunately there were only two short uphill sections and the rest was down.






It was just after 7pm by the time we were done. We had been gone 11 hours! 

Marti took one more video in the car during the drive back...


It was a lot of fun and I'd like to do some more via ferratas. There are over 1,000 via ferrata routes of all different difficulty ratings spread mostly over Austria and Italy. But that's enough for now! I think we need a day of rest!

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20 comments:

  1. I think you guys are nuts. My stomach turned over just looking at a couple of those pictures. But those views!! WOW. I'm so glad you made the hike, climb, whatever so you could share it with those who would never in a million years do it.

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    1. Lol, sometimes I think we are nuts too but it is also nice to be able to challenge ourselves! Having said all that, there is still no way that I would have attempted to go out onto that boulder on the hike we did last week!

      We are glad that we did the hike as well and that we could share the details and the pictures for all of you that read the blog. :-)

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    2. Sandie you expressed my feelings perfectly haha!! What an amazing experience! (that I could never ever make myself do lol) Ruth that was awesome that you could get over your fears because I love hiking and have had some spots that scared me and I was able to conquer that fear but I know that one is beyond what I could make myself do.

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    3. Thank you Jessica! It definitely was an amazing experience and one that I warmed up to and was proud to have completed.The climb up the via ferrata wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be. I was actually able to look down and not freak out which totally surprised me. You might surprise yourself because the heights feel totally different when you are wearing a harness and have all the safety equipment and proper instruction, trust me on this, I have now had firsthand experience, lol!

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  2. All I could think of was the poor guy who installed all those steel steps!! Great pics and congrats on an a physical achievement many people have your age couldn't complete!!

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    1. Kevin had also mentioned that the other day! Just imagine what stuff they have to carry up with them in order to install them. And how long would it have taken?

      So glad that you enjoyed the pictures! And, yes we are very proud of ourselves for being able to have achieved this "grueling" ordeal. :-)

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  3. Of your top 10 adventures of all time, that has got to be number ONE!!! :cD

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    1. We would have to put it at the top for the most exciting adventure but we both agree that Mount Kilimanjaro was number one for the toughest hike/adventure that we have ever done!

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  4. Absolutely fantastic ! Beautiful pictures that tell the story of the adventure and more ! You two are amazing ! Congratulations on this accomplishment !

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    1. Thank you so much Armande! We are so happy that you enjoyed our pictures and the story behind them.

      We are both very proud of ourselves for accomplishing this adventure, it was something new for the two of us, so we weren't sure whether we were in good enough physical shape for the climbing but obviously we were. The rest of it we knew we could do but that by the end of it all we knew we would be very tired and we were!

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  5. Wow! What an amazing adventure you had. I was going to ask what the temperature was, since you were wearing lots of layers and jackets even with all the climbing. I am sure it got cooler as you went up. Congratulations especially to Ruth for doing it! I think I would have done this one too, but it does look daunting, seeing the photos -- eek! But what a life experience!

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    1. Yep, it was definitely an amazing adventure for sure and one that we are glad that we did.

      Doing the biking and the hike to the bottom of the via ferrata was actually not bad and there was no wind. We all wore our rain/wind jackets going up the via ferrata because we knew that it would get cooler as we reached the top and that the wind would start to pick up as well and it wouldn't be easy to put the coats on while on the via ferrata. Our legs were pretty warm though and we had gloves on our hands. At the top, it go windy and wet but with all the movement we had no problem staying warm, it was only when you took time out to eat that it started feeling chilly. At a guess we would say that the temperature was around 5 to 8 C. (41 to 46 F.) with a wind and it was rainy. but that was at the top, it was warmer down below.

      Thanks for the congratulations, it is much appreciated. I think you could have done it as well, it did look daunting at times but you are resting a lot because you have to stand still every time you clip in and out of the cables and there is a lot of that happening.

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  6. Amazing guys! What a climb and hike. And especially Ruth for tackling the Via Ferrata, well done! Bravo!!

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    1. Thank you so much Katja and Yves, it was definitely a challenge and one that we were able to accomplish. We had a very tiring day but it was a good day. :-)

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  7. Bravo Ruth. I was a bit frightened just looking at the beautiful photos. What a fantastic adventure. Congratulations to all of you.

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    1. Thank you Gloria! I had my doubts about doing it when we signed up but once we were at the via ferrata and climbing up it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it was going to be. The big difference is being safely harnessed in with the proper equipment and a very knowledgeable and helpful guide. Kevin of course had no issues and loved the whole experience. The views were incredible from up there. :-)

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  8. Very cool.you accomplished your goal

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    1. Thank you! It was definitely something we were proud of, it certainly wasn't a walk in the park kind of day. :-)

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  9. What a great adventure! Ruth, I entirely agree, when you're harnessed and double-attached to the cables, it is a very different (and safe) feeling. We did a Via Ferrata in West Virginia, at Nelson Rocks nrocks.com. It was one of the most fun and satisfying things I have ever done. Without the biking and snow-hiking, so only about 4 hours total. We want to do it again one day. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'll bet you slept well that night.

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    1. Yep, it was definitely quite the adventure and yes, we did sleep well that night and surprisingly enough we weren't all that stiff and sore the next day but we certainly needed a day of rest.

      It is funny how the brain works, there is no way that I could have climbed very high up before starting to get all panicky about the height but once you are harnessed in and double clipped to the cables, it's a whole different experience. I was even able to turn around, enjoy the view and look down without freaking out! Like you we could easily do another via ferrata in the future, in fact Kevin is already keeping his eyes open for another one. :-)

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