That time we hiked up Trolltunga to tick of Adam’s top bucket list moment, living up to all of his expectations (I hope).
Where? Trolltunga, Norway
When? August 2017
With whom? Theo, Adam and Hazel.
Theo and I are university friends and spent some time during the summer of 2017 camping and hiking around Norway’s prettiest fjords (I’ve already written two posts about it, read them here and here and be sure to check out the photos of the epic views we had!).
We met Adam and his friend Hazel in Bergen after an overnight ferry from Stavanger and explored the town. If you end up here then I’d recommend the market on the coast for all its freebies and delicious meal deals, more specifically, pick yourself up a whale sausage chorizo.
The best way to get to the iconic hike to Trolltunga is a bus to Odda, and then to start walking. The road up to the start of the hike feels steep and long, especially when everyone else is driving past you as you’re stuck lugging your tent up on your back, knowing you haven’t even properly started the trek yet.
We stopped for the waterfall (any excuse for a break), dropped our bags and tried to cross as far as we could on the steep and slippery waterfall face.
After the road, the hike was a lot less steep and came in three stages. The first stage was mostly uphill on a beige and rocky terrain so we had to be careful with our foot placements to stop us from rolling an ankle.
The second stage was flatter with short bursts of downhill; this section overlooks valleys with rolling hills and sparkling blue lakes. It was nice to take our time to check out the award winning views (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reference) until we got to the next boulder section, this time made of granite.
This made for some scrambling and at one point, detaching the bags, chucking them over the rocks and then hurling our selves over them.
Then came the rain. In my experience, Norway has a daily downpour, sometimes two or three time in a day. That made for some miserable hiking and we knew we were fairly close to the top so we decided to pitch our tents to escape the weather.
In Norway, you are legally allowed to wildcamp somewhere for a night, and when everything there is as expensive as it is, we pitched our two tents is a sensible looking place and cracked open the duty free 50% vodka and waited undercover for the rain to stop. Norway is the rainiest place I have ever been.
We offered sanctuary to two wet passersby, who were carrying very tiny rucksacks for people to be hiking this close to sunset. They told us they were going to sleep in one of the safe houses but that they had no sleeping bags or warm clothes. We told them they would probably die and offered them what we could spare in the way of warm items.
Once the rain stopped, we carried the vodka with us round the corner to Trolltunga, where it was completely empty save a couple of Germans who happily took photos with us in exchange for swigs of vodka. The lighting was ideal because the sun was much lower in the sky making for great snaps.
What also made for great snaps was us being utter knobs by swinging our legs over the edge of a very narrow ledge. Hazel took a sharp intake of breath when I did this and I thought back to a conversation I had with my dad before leaving the UK, him telling me that people die from falling off fjords and here I am recklessly dangling my legs off of a flimsy-looking slab of rock.
We chatted away to our newly slipsy (slightly tipsy) German friends and took all the time we wanted for photos and absorbing the beaut view, and then some because there was nobody else around! It is named troll’s tongue because the rocks juts out over the canyon with crystal clear glacier water flowing beneath. It reminded me of pride rock (Lion King reference).
We went back to the tents and crammed the four of us into the larger of the two-man tents to finish off the vodka and play cards. The vodka helped very much as the temperature dropped.
The next morning, we headed back to Trolltunga to see whether the lighting was better. It wasn’t. Moreover, it was absolute rammed with tourists who told us they had had to wait for more than 45 minutes for a very quick and pressured stint on the rock, so we were very satisfied that we had decided to camp up here overnight rather than get up and down in a day, which is possible.
Info: buses run regularly from Bergen to Odda, and from Odda onwards to Voss, where we went next. If you can get a ride up the road to the top of the hike then I would recommend it, as this was by far the most strenuous part of the hike. If you have a car yourself the spaces are limited so make sure you arrive early.
Wild camping is legal in Norway and I think the best way to see Trolltunga is to hike up with your tent, which obviously means carrying a heavier backpack. The hike itself was not strenuous but it would be a tight turnaround to do it in one day.
Product of the week: Argos two man tent. Cheap, durable, light and compact.
Tip of the week: duty free! In Norway everything is soooooooooo expensive so stock up in duty free so save some money!
Disclaimer: we didn’t see our crazy tentless friends again, but we hope they survived the night. Please don’t risk this yourselves because even in the summer, night time temperatures drop significantly.