The young American traveller Addie Minnis was overly confident before tackling Norwegian nature. That could have ended really, really badly.
“I was the most unprepared person to ever set foot in the Hardangerfjord region of Norway. I did the exact opposite of everything that someone is supposed to do when they make the 23 kilometre hike of super rad awesomeness.”
That’s how 23 year old Addie Minnis begun her blog post about her trip to the iconic Trolltunga last year.
Trolltunga is one of the most spectacular natural viewpoints in Norway, a cliff formation situated about 1100 metres above sea level. However, getting there requires a demanding hike, and every year there are search and rescue operations for hikers in serious trouble.
Addie didn’t know that. She set out without doing proper research, after discovering a beautiful image of Trolltunga on the photo sharing website Pinterest.
After all, she was young, well trained, and going with two young men who were also experienced travellers. What could go wrong – right?
“I should have learned more about it. We would have been able to anticipate weather changes and different difficulties throughout the hike”, Addie says to Visit Norway.
One of the major mistakes the three travellers made was wearing clothes suited only to weather conditions at the start of the hike. They didn’t think about how fast the weather can turn, or how the climate will change higher up in the mountain.
Another mistake was wearing the wrong kind of footwear. Addie was wearing rain boots, that constantly felt like they were going to fall off. The guys wore running shoes. No one went for hiking boots.
“I expected it to be an easy two hour hike. Consequently, it ended up being a very rushed and dangerous journey that could have potentially ended with hypothermia or death”, writes Addie.
Despite being warned that rain and fog would make the trip difficult, Addie and her friends wanted to prove that they could make it to the cliff and back before sundown, even though they were warned that they started too late.
If the conditions are hard, the trip can take up to 10 hours to complete, a lot more than the two hours they had envisioned.
Slippery shoes, exhaustion and a shortage of food made the trip uncomfortable. But that was nothing compared to the freezing conditions.
“I got really scared. I’ve never been close to getting hypothermia, so I thought I was surely going to die. When it gets to the point where you can’t feel any of your fingers or toes it makes you realize that you certainly are not invincible. I thought for a little bit that I was surely going to have permanent damage, but luckily I escaped with none”, Addie says.
Yet, she hopes to be able to visit Trolltunga again. Now, however, she is going to prepare properly.
“I’m absolutely going to visit Norway again in the future. I always tell all my friends and family that it’s my number one favourite spot in the world, and encourage them to go visit”.
In total, local rescue crews have completed 28 operations so far in 2016. Among the more dramatic ones was the rescue of a mother who had tried to carry her one-year-old son in a child carrier. Both of them had symptoms of frostbites when they were found.
Over 100.000 people will visit Trolltunga in 2016, more than five times the number of people who visited the site just three years ago.
Read more about the hike, and the preparations you need to do. Please be advised that you can normally hike to Trolltunga until mid-September, but not during winter.
Also, let the Norwegian Mountain Code teach you about safety in the mountains.
From the fjord itself to Folgefonna glacier and the iconic Trolltunga, the Hardangerfjord region offers Norwegian nature at its most scenic. The area is also known for its impressive blooming fruit trees.
There is much to enjoy among the peaks, valleys and plateaus, but the beauty and serenity can quickly turn dangerous. Make sure your training, your knowledge of the area, and your equipment, are all equally well suited for the trip.
Norway is an incredible place to explore, with untamed mythical landscapes, mountains, valleys and fjords. Before you enter the outdoors, get familiar with the nine simple rules of the Norwegian mountain code to help you stay safe.
BeSafie is a new project that aims to teach common sense and safety precautions to those who travel in the wild and wonderful Norwegian mountains.