Have you ever been afraid of not being capable of doing something ?
Hiking to the Trolltunga had been my fear ever since I looked for hikes in Norway. The only certainty I had was that the view was totally worth it. To explain that fear, I am going to make a quick summary of what I read on the internet before going.
What to expect:
— 10 hours round trip.
— Leave before 7AM
— Snow on the way
— Difficult / Harder than the Kjeragbolten
OK when I read that, I hadn’t done the Kjerag hike so I didn’t know if I had to be really scared or not. What scared me the most was the ten hours hike. When I read on multiple travel blogs how long it took, I first thought that it was ten hours when you were in good shape, which I was not. I thought I was going to take myself a lot more than that. After a few days panicking, I read on another blog that a couple with two kids succeed in doing the hike in eight hours (excluding the time on top). I put things into perspective and told me I would have to train a bit any ways if I wanted to make it to the top. I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to keep up the pace with my boyfriend and our friend. They are a bit (a lot) sportive and I am not. You know, I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere in the mountain alone (and in the dark in that case)! It almost happened to me two years ago for a small hike so this time I wanted to be prepared a bit more.
I trained, quite a lot (when you know that for twenty four years I never ran more than 10 or 15 times…!) so I won’t be left behind. You can find at the end of the article the training plan I followed (more or less).
I did a quick summary of our hike (timing, tips and advices) in another post that I will put online Tuesday! I’ll update the link here. Now I can tell you more about our experience.
EDIT: You can find the tips and quick facts here
I will insist on the fact that you HAVE to wake up very early if you want to enjoy this hike at it peak. In facts, everywhere where you look for advices on the hike, they will tell you to start between 7AM and 9AM to be confortable and go back before the night fall. Well, that means that EVERYBODY basically starts at 7AM! If you start earlier, like us, you will have less people on the way and let’s be honest, it is more enjoyable this way. That is why we decided to wake up at 5AM and start the hike at 5:15AM. Of course we were late so we were at the starting spot at 5:45 AM. Motivated as hell compared to our dear Swedish friend that had a hard time waking up, we started going up with a good pace. I wanted to keep the advantage we had of waking up early. More over, I love the colors you get with the sunrise and I didn’t want to miss that even if the sun was already going up a bit.
The first kilometer and a half was really hard. It reminded me of the Preikestolen hike: big steps that never ends for more than a kilometer. I didn’t want to stop though. It took us nearly one hour to do the first kilometer and reach a flat land.
The most remarkable thing was that they were houses on this land and there is no road going up there. Before there was a cable car but it is not working anymore. I wonder how people do to get their food or imagine they want to go to a movie! They have to do a 1h hike down and then 1h hike up to reach their houses!! They must be in a really good shape. (We came to the conclusion that they might have a helicopter helping them but even though, what if they have an emergency?!)
After this long flat land, we started going up again. A few minutes after, we met two guys and a girl that came out of nowhere. They were Spanish and lost. They told us they started the hike around 3 or 4 AM and they took a wrong path and lost the “T”‘s markers until they saw us and went back on the right path. They were half running / half walking with huge backpacks, in a good mood. We met them several times along the way as they had to stop often to take breaks (Going too fast I think!).
Anyhow, this slope was unfinishable. We had the sun in front of us so we barely see anything and we often thought the end was near when it wasn’t.
We were looking for the next board that will tell us how far we were in the hike. Each kilometer, there was a board with a Troll and the kilometers behind and those left.
When we reached the 4th kilometer, we started again on a flat land. When you reach this point, you won’t have big hills again (not like the two you just did). You “just” have two hours left to hike… sometimes on snow.
I loved that we got up early because we had a beautiful light all the way (and back). We could see the sun rise over the lake in the valley.
We didn’t know (and we saw it on the way back) but you can see the Trolltunga rock on the way to there. You have to look closely to the edges of the cliffs. It was easier to see it on the way back because we could see people line up.
We couldn’t see the rock until we come very close to the edge. Then we saw it. The tongue that came out of the rock above powerful blue of the lake below. They say the rock was formed during the ace age (which was around 10,000 years ago, yeah quite a long time!). The water from the glacier froze and broke off large angular blocks. The name comes from the Troll’s tongue.
I was so proud of myself when we arrived. If you would I told me I could do it, I won’t have believed you. There already was people there, like twenty or something. They were all sitting and enjoying the view. Two of them were down to take pictures on the rock.
We decided to go on the rock as soon as we arrived to avoid all the people that were arriving after us. One guy that we met the day before at the campground told us that they waited two hours in line!!! Two hours! We went on the rock around five times each and took memories pictures and never waited.
The view is really stunning, colors are indescribable. The rock is quite large so I was more confident than on the Kjeragbolten but as soon as I reached the edge, I remembered that there was 700 meters under. At that moment, you feel great, you feel strong, you feel alive. It is the moment to remember all the obstacles you face in life and tell you that you can overcome them. It is not easy, it takes time, but in the end, it is worth it.
After our photo session, we eat sat on a rock near the edge, looking at the water and the rock. From behind, the Trolltunga is a bit less impressive. You can see the foundations of the rock and it looks pretty reliable. Looking at other people go on the Trolltunga, I was more scared for them than I was scared for myself. I knew I was careful but I couldn’t help thinking others will be reckless. I don’t know if I am the only one with this feeling but I couldn’t watch when my friend and my boyfriend went on the rock. I was so scared they would fall. They did a handstand on the rock and I was about to break down when my boyfriend seemed to loose stability and walked two hands toward the edge. But it is not only because I knew them that I was scared. I was also scared for those I didn’t know.
Another anecdote was that we sat eating on a small piece of rock few meters away from the cliff. There, my boyfriend took his shoes off (with the snow they were wet so he wanted to dry them a bit) and then… One shoe started to roll down and he jumped, head first to stop it before it fell. I almost had a heart attack at this point and I grabbed him, scared he would fell. Hopefully he didn’t fell and his shoe didn’t fell either but still. I was scared to death.
So I will say it one last time but be careful. Yes it is a beautiful view, you want to take a picture, a video or whatever. You want to have THE BEST picture of all time but please, be careful. You are on mother nature’s ground.
We left the Trolltunga around midday and as we walked back, we could see there was A LOT of people coming the other side. They were all those who started at 7AM. Most of them were in groups. I was really glad we started at 6AM! The way back was much more painful than the way up. On the way up, you are only thinking about the “carrot”, what awaits for you at the end of the hike. When you are on your way down… You are only thinking about when you will be able to rest in your bed! And you remember what I told you about the first kilometer? Well, we had to do it on the other way. And going down huge stairs after 9 hours of hike… Your knees will hurt and you will wish that you had a sledge to take you down faster (I did wish it).
This hike was truly beautiful and is totally worth the pain and its duration. If I could have slept on top, I would have. Maybe one day I will.
❝ WE LIVE IN A WONDERFUL WORLD THAT IS FULL OF BEAUTY, CHARM AND ADVENTURE. THERE IS NO END TO THE ADVENTURES WE CAN HAVE IF ONLY WE SEEK THEM WITH OUR EYES OPEN.❞ – JAWAHARIAL NEHRU
What you could do (and what I did) to train if, like me, you don’t have a lot of cardio and you don’t do much sports:
— Start three months earlier
— Run 30 minutes every three days. If it’s on a treadmill you can also play with the slope every five to ten minutes
— Do squats. Starts small: series of 10 squats and repeat it five times. Each two (or three) days, add five squats to the series. You can stop adding at 20 if you feel that is enough. (Yes, your legs will kill you after the first one).
— Do a bit of everything: abs, total body workout, squats,… Actually I followed a plan I found on a website. It’s a Californian girl that tries to make you enjoy your training sessions. She makes a planning each month where you have your daily sessions. Her videos are nice, she talks a lot to make you forget your pain and motivates you. She sometimes gives advice, make you think about a quote… I’ll leave you be the judge Blogilates
So cool, I love your photos! Being a norwegian nature lover myself, Trolltunga is a definitive must. Unfortunately I’m from the north, and Trolltunga is quite far south, so it’s kind of a hassle getting there. I didn’t know it was THAT popular either! Did you visit in spring? Is it possible to stay in a cabin or something nearby, or perhaps bringing a tent? Although it would rather suck to have to carry the tent all the way up there… :p