Per Magne has been saving lives in the mountains
for 30 years
It’s been a busy year for the rescuers at Trolltunga. Per Magne has even had to rescue children.
In 2016, nearly 100.000 people have made the beautiful and challenging hike to Trolltunga.
When you reach the “Troll’s tongue” itself, you can appreciate the spectacular view over Ringedalsvatnet, surrounded by the Folgefonna glacier and the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.
The Norwegian nature is stunning, but it can also be brutal. You should estimate up to 12 hours to get to Trolltunga and back. The hike can be challenging for many – especially if the weather conditions are unwelcoming.
This year there has been twice as many rescue operations compared to last year at the popular mountain attraction. That means the rescuers have had a busy schedule.
Trolltuga. Photo: Private
Per Magne Eikeland is volunteering in the local Red Cross rescue team in Odda. He has been involved in 20 of the 40 rescue missions at Trolltunga this year, and has 30 years of experience in helping tourists in the mountains of Western Norway.
In all his years wearing the red cross on his chest, he has seen a lot. One of the missions this year involved a family of three who had to ble rescued in pitch black darkness. A four year old girl had to be carried in a rucksack. Her mother was unable to walk by herself and was carried on a stretcher during the descent.
Per Magne is despairing when he sees tourists taking the hike to Trolltunga without a headlight, without proper equipment and in poor footwear. He says there’s little that separates success and failure if don’t know how challenging the hike is.
“The missions lately have been frustrating. Tourists have started the hike without doing enough preparation and research”, he says to Visit Norway.
The Norwegian Mountain code clearly states what precautions you have to take when travelling in the Norwegian mountains. In both winter and summer you need to be prepared, have the right equipment and take considerations for shifting weather.
Per Magnes best advice is to thoroughly plan the hike in advance, even before arriving in Western Norway.
“When you travel from afar to visit Trolltunga, it is too late to buy equipment like hiking boots, a raincoat or wool then you arrive in Norway. This needs to be in your luggage when you board the plane."
The american girl Addie is one of those who ignored the warnings about Trolltunga. She and her friends did not do any research before starting the climb, and believed that the fact that they were young and fit was sufficient. They ended up fearing for their life, according to Addie.
Even though the rescue missions can be demanding and tough, the Red Cross veteran is not thinking about stepping down.
“My motivation lies in helping others getting home safely, saving lives, the camaraderie, and teaching youth how to experience the great outdoors. I would appreciate if someone did the same for the people I care about”, he says.
If you are going to hike in the Norwegian mountains, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Norwegian mountain code. The code applies all year round and helps you stay safe if something unexpected happens on an excursion.