HIKING THE ROMSDALSEGGEN RIDGE: OUR HONEST EXPERIENCE
Updated: Feb 4, 2019
During our research about experiences we should not miss in Norway, we quickly came to realize that nature was Norway’s strongest point and that obviously one of the best ways to enjoy it was to go hiking. After a quick research on google we came across the super famous hike trails of Trolltunga and Priekestolen and some other less popular yet equally impressive ones, like the Romsdalseggen ridge and Keipane. Since we could fit at least one hike into our stay in Norway, we found the Romsdalseggen and the Trolltunga hikes to be our favorite ones in terms of views and nature and decided to do one of those two hikes or maybe even both of them (is “naivety” the right word?).
First, we were planning to do the Trolltunga hike, given that we had already booked accommodation to nearby Voss. This is a 24km long hike and it normally takes hikers a good 10-12 hours to complete it. (Un)fortunately though, the day we were supposed to do the hike was a rainy one. We had already read about how unpredictable the weather could be during the hike and since it was already raining in the morning we decided not to go hiking under the pouring rain. We stayed home instead, explored a bit of Voss and mostly enjoyed the views from our cute Airbnb, sipping coffee and playing board games.
A few days later, it was time for the Romsdalseggen Ridge hike. We were excited and determined not to let anything ruin another hike! We drove to Andalsnes Railway Station, where we parked our car and bought our tickets for the bus which would take us to the starting point of the hike. The system is simple: the bus takes you to the starting point and then you have to hike all the way back, through the mountain of course – following the red marked path, to your car.
The normal route of the hike is around 10km long and can be completed within 5-8 hours depending on your physical condition and previous hiking experience. Getting dressed in layers, wearing good hiking shoes and taking lots of water and some snacks with you, are the keys. And yes we did all of the above. The bus left us to the starting point and so we started hiking. At first, we were walking through uphill fields surrounded by mountains (we even saw a few cows!) jumping over water streams and crossing river bridges. Everything seemed nice and peaceful and we were two happy hikers.
Fast forward a few moments later and here we see a “pile” of rocks and boulders of all sizes, which were leading all the way up to the ridge itself. Yes, the pile was smiling at us and was waiting to be climbed. After a few inhales and exhales, we started scrambling our way up to the ridge. Was it easy? Obviously yes for the rest of the hikers, but not for us since we were doing this with zero climbing/scrambling experience. However Nick quickly found a good pace and would have made his way up much faster than he did, if he didn’t have to deal with Elen’s break downs and physical condition equal to an amoeba’s.
Anyway, we somehow managed to reach the top of the pile and oh boy were we rewarded by the beautiful, panoramic views. Thinking that the worst part of the hike was over (key word: thinking), we took a break and ate our snacks over watching the Rauma river winding its way through the valleys. In two words: pure bliss. All we could think about was that scrambling those rocks to get there, was totally worth it!
It was at that point that it started to drizzle and got a bit foggy, so we decided to continue the hike before the weather got worse.
So we did. And that’s exactly where things got really funny! The “hike” turned out to include several parts of quite demanding climbing, walking on the super narrow ridge of the mountain and having to scramble across super exposed areas, which were scary to say the very least! At some of the steepest parts, chains have been bolted, for a better grip. The good news is that Nick managed to overcome his fear of heights. The bad news is that Elen got a fear of heights after that experience.
The next few kilometers that followed the hardest part of the hike were rather smooth and despite the cloudy weather, we kind of enjoyed the rest of the hike, even though we were always anxious not knowing what we'll find ahead. The highest point we reached was Halsaskaret at 1100m above sea level. We also found a couple of mailboxes, with a notebook in them, where we could write our names and country of origin, so that the rescue team would know we'd been there. Jk. Thankfully the whole path was clearly marked and getting lost was not an option. What adds some sense of mystery to the hike though, is the music you can hear while hiking, which comes out of well hidden speakers and makes you feel like you're inside a Norse mythology book's pages.
Almost a couple of kilometres before the final descent, we reached the viewing platform, where we stop and took a pleasant break soaking in the views and taking photos. Once again nature was paying us off for the sweat we had poured in her name...
The viewing platform was followed by a demanding downhill part, where our aching knees came to remind us how difficult we had found the whole path to be. At that point, reaching sea level seemed to be simply utopic and the way down was never ending! Fun fact: while we were walking our way down, we met a young mum who was also descending the path along with a toddler AND an even younger baby in a child carrier backpack! Mind-blowing right? Hopefully they hadn’t hiked the whole path and they were just taking a walk…
All in all, it took us approximately ten hours to complete the hike and get back to our car. Two giant burgers were everything we needed, to reward our aching bodies for what we had put them through. That night, when we reached our Airbnb we took the most perfect (and needed) shower ever and slept like babies…
So, do we recommend the Romsdalseggen Ridge Hike? We can’t answer simply yes or simply not. It really depends on your health and fitness level, on how much you’d like to struggle for a breathtaking view and of how an (un)experienced hiker you are. Go read some more information about the hike here, go watch some videos on YouTube and remember that safety ALWAYS comes first.
Do we regret doing it? Well, we don’t because we’re now proud of what we achieved and because the views were really amazing. BUT, would we do it again? Hmmm….Nick would. Elen probably wouldn't. What matters the most though, is that the Romsdalseggen hike has taught us precious lessons about ourselves. It taught us that we're stronger that we think and that fears can be conquered for the sake of love. It also taught us to never say "I can't make it", because that's simply a lie! For every "I can't go on" that came out of our mouths that day, there were dozens of steep parts of the path BEHIND us to prove that we did go on and that we would keep going on until the end.