❝ It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ❞ — Edmund Hillary
The second big hike we did was to hike up to the Kjeragbolten. The Kjeragbolten is a rock stuck between two mountains. In order to get to it, you must hike 5km up and 5km down. It took us 2:40 up and the same down + the time on top. This hike is a bit dangerous (very slippery) if the weather is not good, that is why we couldn’t do it the day before. We had to hike the Preikestolen instead.
The night after the Preikestolen, we went back to Lysbotn in order to sleep and be close to the Kjerag hike. Though, it was still raining and very windy (right after the picture below, yes I know that’s mountain weather…). We decided that it would be better for us if we didn’t have to put up the tent and to sleep under the rain and the wind (which means no sleeping). We didn’t know if the weather was going to get better the next day but we really hoped we could do the hike. If the weather was bad, we would have to continue the trip and maybe at the end come back to do the last hike… But time was short.
We decided to take the Hi Hostel that was next to the camping. I bought the card last year when we went to the Rockies with a friend of mine (because most hostels there are Hi Hostel) and the card worked in Norway too! The hotel was really ok, we had a kitchen and a quite big room. It was a bit expensive (100€ for three people) but at least we could rest.
On the morning, we woke up at six, checking the weather that was still bad. Though, on the weather channel it was saying that the sky was going to clear up. We packed everything in the car and went up to the Kjerag parking at 7:30AM. The information center told us that the weather was getting better until 3PM so if we wanted to hike now, we could.
We started the hike with two girls that were there and that we didn’t know. And right after the beginning, trouble arrived. We almost had to climb the rock. The rocks are pretty steep and there are some chains to help you go up.
Though, it was slippery because of the bad weather of the night. It didn’t have time to dry yet.
After the hard climb — for me because my friends do a lot of climbing so they were in their element —, we arrived had to go down into a small valley where a river was running and sheep were eating next to the path. “Funny” thing was that one of them was baaa-ing because it was stuck on a small space on somewhere in the mountain. It couldn’t climb back up (dah, does sheep know how to climb?) and if it tried to go down, it was probably gonna die (the jump down was quite high).
Later, on the way back to the parking, the sheep was still stuck. I decided to tell the guy that was at the information center. He laugh and told me that I was the 50th person to tell him that today. In facts, the sheep has been stuck for three days already and the shepherd knew it. It seems that it occurs quite often so they wait ten days to see if the sheep can go down on its own (or die trying to jump) and if it can’t, then, the shepherd do something to get it. I was quite shocked but ok, maybe that’s how they roll in Norway (or in the mountain generally).
After the valley, we had to climb again a bit with chains. I wanted to hurry a bit in order to not be caught up. There was quite a lot of people following us. When we arrived on top, we had the most beautiful view. The land was flat so we could see everything around. On the left was the top of the mountain with some snow, and on the right, was the rest of Norway. Valleys, Water of the fjords, Mountains. It truly was beautiful.
The sky was between dark and sunny. We could see parts of the Fjord where it was raining, while it was shinny where we were. Though, there was a LOT of wind. When I say a LOT, it was worse than the day before at the Preikestolen. On the way back we even had trouble walking because of it.
During the hike, you have to follow some markers, represented by red Ts all the way to the Kjeragbolten and back. On the Preikestolen hike, I wasn’t worried about getting lost, but in this hike, there was less people in front of us and the path was larger.
At some point, we arrived next to an edge and we had to turn left. This is when we saw to rock, there, between the mountain we were in and the mountain in front of us. We were at the separation spot. There was a problem though… And we were not the only one having trouble to find the path to the rock. The markers were indicating to follow a way that was over some snow…
When I saw the snow I was so terrified. I had to walk a bit on it because we took the wrong way and I fell. I was afraid to slide down all the way to the fjord (and die) but it was just in my imagination. And if my boyfriend wasn’t there, I would have been petrified and maybe I still would be there now! (I’m joking — well, maybe just a bit!). The thing that was terrifying for me was to not know what was under the snow. Was it a hole? Was it rocks? The snow looked like summer snow, half melted, half ok, very dark because of people walking on it. I was also scared it was gonna fell as I was scared to fall.
We decided to not take the snow path and we tried going down by the rocks. In facts, we succeeded to find another way but we had few steps on the snow at the end, though I knew there was rocks under it so it was ok.
I discovered that I liked adventure but I think too much about the risks to try things that can end in a bad way. Like here with the snow. Some people went on the snow just like that, without thinking twice about it. They seemed eager to be the first ones on the rock. I prefer be safe and be second than risk something bad. I have to work on that though. Trying more things that scares me because clearly, if the markers were indicating the path was on the snow, it was meaning that when there were no snow, the path was under it. But I though about that only when we got back.
When I got back to France, and as I am writing this article, I found a quote that defined exactly that feeling. Maybe I am not the only one to have this feeling after all.
❝ Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end. ❞ — Edward Whymper,
Once we finally arrived on the platform next to the rock, it was impressive. The wind was still very strong and I didn’t know if I could go on the rock. But I didn’t do the hike for nothing right? So I braved the wind and my fear and I put my knees on the rock. I couldn’t go further to stand on it, I am not that sure about my balance but I went on the rock. I am proud of myself. That’s a start right? I could feel the strength of nature against my hands and my knees. If was terrifying but beautiful. I stood on top of 800m with nothing under it. Maybe one day the rock will fall but for now it is very well stuck between the two mountains. It is an experience I wish everybody could live once in its life. I want to go back someday, on a clear and not windy day and that day, I want to stand up on the middle of the rock.
I think the scariest part was to watch the others do it too. I don’t know why but I was scared for them. They wanted to go close to the edge and watch down. It drove me crazy. I was afraid that they would loose balance and fall. You don’t know what can happen with the wind right? I need to work on that and I can only do it by doing more hike like that.
On the platform we had a view over the Lysbotn fjord. There also was a water fall on the top left of the mountain but it couldn’t fall straight because of the wind and we could see the water “fly” in front of us, like an upside down waterfall.
The way back was less painful than the way up. The sun was clearing the sky and the rocks were almost dry. When we went down, we could even not use the chains because our shoes didn’t slip anymore.
I think the Kjerag hike was my favorite hike of the three we did (Preikestolen, Kjerag and Trolltunga). Even if the weather was not perfect, it was fun to half climb the mountain.
The view was impressive, you could see almost half of the Norway fjords from up there and realize how large it is (and learn that you will not have enough time to visit all of it!). More over, standing on this rock between two mountains with nothing but void under my feet made me realize how small I was to the world and it make you think about what is important in life.
The hike is more technical than the two other hikes that are very hard on the cardio. Though it is totally worth doing even if you are not a climber (chains help a lot).
❝ There’s a world out there, and you’ve got to look at both sides of the mountain in your lifetime. ❞ — Bill Janklow