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Gaustatoppen by night
Gaustatoppen by night.
Photo: Aleksander Myklebust / Norad

Night hikes up Gaustatoppen Mountain are attracting thousands of visitors.

Published: August 23 2017

Last year was an indisputable success: Fully 5,000 fit folks got decked out in hiking gear, boots and headlamps to hike 4.4 kilometres up Gaustatoppen Mountain in the dark of night and form the world’s longest illuminated human link – and promote a more just world.  

“This year, there are no less than 18,000 people who have expressed their interest in the night hike,” says Norad’s Communications Director, Eva Bratholm, to NRK.

“On Saturday, 26 August, we will be doing the world’s most beautiful night hike to promote UN sustainable development goals, which aim to create a better world and eradicate poverty. We will unite to form an illuminated human link up the mountainside as a symbol of the cooperation that is required to achieve the UN goals,” says Bratholm to NRK.

Norway’s most beautiful mountain view

At an elevation of 1,883 metres above sea level, Gaustatoppen is Telemark’s highest mountain, and the view from the summit encompasses an area of a dizzying 60,000 square kilometres and fully one-sixth of mainland Norway.

But recently, it was also determined that Gaustatoppen also offers visitors a look at Norway’s most beautiful view – based on voting by the people of Norway.

In a recent survey conducted by Norstat on behalf of Norad, 2002 Norwegians were asked to vote for their favourite view from Norwegian peaks. Galdhøpiggen in Jotunheimen and Preikestolen in Rogaland made it into the top three with 8 % and 5 % of the votes respectively, but Gaustatoppen towers effortlessly above them both with 15 %.

“That’s easy to understand. Gaustatoppen is a hiking destination that has been visited by many Norwegians. People have a magnificent view from there on a clear day,” says Mette Øinæs Habberstad of The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) to NRK.

A tribute to sustainability

It is not only breathtakingly beautiful nature and good fitness that make the night hike in Tinn municipality important and special.

The main objective of the event is to promote awareness around UN sustainable development goals, which aim to eradicate poverty, combat inequality and halt climate change by 2030.

Gaustatoppen by night
Gaustatoppen by night.
Photo: Aleksander Myklebust / Norad

There are 17 “points of light” set up along the route where you can enjoy the surroundings and learn about the various goals, including activities for the entire family along the way.  

For those of you who happen to be up north, a similar event will be held on 9 September at Keiservarden mountain plateau near Bodø – on a new trail made of stone stairs laid by Sherpas from Nepal – which will be climbed after bedtime.  

Susanne Sundfør and nature

A treat of the musical variety awaits those who complete the roughly 5-kilometre hike up to the tower at the summit on Gaustatoppen Mountain.

Last year, it was Sivert Høyem’s deep voice that thundered down the mountain – this year, it is the internationally rising pop star, Susanne Sundfør, whose melodies will be soothing sore feet and concerned souls.

Indeed, it was precisely environmental issues and our relationship to nature that reportedly inspired Sundfør’s upcoming album, Music For People In Trouble, which she made during travels to countries such as Nepal, North Korea, China, Guatemala and Iceland.

Photo: Trond Stegarud / Gaustatoppen Booking

“I wanted to visit places that are very different to my home, and see nature that might disappear in a few decades,” she says to the British newspaper The Telegraph.

The idea behind the album apparently jibes well with the illuminating hike up Gaustatoppen in the dark of night.

“What I’m trying to do on this album is to give nature some sort of spirit… there’s comfort in that because you are part of something much bigger.”

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