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Safety tips for summer hiking to Besseggen
Hiking the Besseggen ridge in Norway in summer
Safety tips for summer hiking to Besseggen.
Photo: Kristian Paulsen (selvestepaulsen.no) / Espen Kristiansen / Field Productions / Bleed / visitnorway.com
Hiking the Besseggen ridge.
Photo: Espen Kristiansen / Field Productions / Visitnorway.com

Hiking the Besseggen ridge

Besseggen is one of Norway’s most famous mountain hikes, and each year around 30,000 hikers enjoy the breathtaking view from the top of the ridge.

Emergency telephone numbers

The Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) has the overall operational responsibility during mountain search and rescue operations.

51 51 70 00 – JRCC Southern Norway
75 55 90 00 – JRCC Northern Norway

For other emergencies:

110 – Fire
112 – Police
113 – Ambulance
120 – Emergency at sea
22 59 13 00 – Poisons Information Center
1412 TDD (textphone for the deaf or hearing impaired)

Season

In the winter, the ridge is filled with snow and ice, and it is often snow on the ridge until the middle of June. A normal season for hiking Besseggen is when the boats are running on Lake Gjende – from mid-June to mid-October.

6–8 hour hike

The hike over Besseggen takes six to eight hours including breaks and is recommended for experienced hikers. The ridge is both windy and steep, so if this is the first time you are hiking in the mountains, it might be a good idea to choose an easier alternative. To ensure that your mountain hike will be a good experience, it is important to prepare yourself before you start. We recommend that you have at least two days at your disposal to increase the chances of nice weather.

Guided hikes

If you are inexperienced or feel unsure about doing the trip, we recommend that you join a guided hike. A good guide can turn a bad day into a fantastic experience.

Safety measures

Rescue operations are triggered by hikers every year. To make sure you won’t be one of them, prepare yourself properly for the hike, and join a guided hike if you’re not an experienced hiker.

Also, read up on mountain safety before you go.

Do this

Research the length, duration, and recommended physical conditioning for the hike you want to do.

Check the weather conditions and always listen to local mountain residents.

Buy or rent the right equipment for your trip.

Always bring enough food, drinks, and an extra change of clothes in your backpack.

Check out the possibility of joining a guided tour or use a local guide in order to minimize risks.

Avoid this

Do not wear jeans, trainers, or other everyday clothing.

Do not start your trip too late in the day, as you might risk having to hike in the dark.

Never start your mountain hike without being in good enough physical shape.

Do not depend on a map on your mobile device, as there is not always coverage in the mountains.

Don’t leave anything, including trash, behind.

Be prepared and pack your backpack like a pro with our hiking tips.

Tourists hiking in the Norwegian mountains with umbrellas
Top mistakes tourists make.
Photo: Film production: Kristian Paulsen (selvestepaulsen.no) / Bleed / Visitnorway.com
Top mistakes – Experiences from hikes during summer in Norway
PLAY VIDEO

Weather conditions in the mountains

Even if sunshine and fair weather are predicted, the weather conditions can change quickly. Always check the weather forecast before you start your trip, and make sure that you are prepared for changing weather. Do not hike if the forecast predicts strong winds, heavy rain, or fog. Get the latest weather forecast on yr.no.

Proper hiking equipment

Pack a 30-litre backpack to be sure that you have enough room for everything you need in the Norwegian mountains. A map and compass, first-aid equipment, a fully charged mobile phone, and a headlamp are just some of the things we recommend you keep in your backpack. Scroll down the page for a complete packing list video.

Warm, suitable clothing

With an elevation gain of nearly 1,000 metres, it is crucial to wear suitable shoes. Use hiking boots and leave your trainers at your base. There may be occasional strong gusts at Besseggen, so please wear wind and waterproof outerwear. Always pack an extra set of clothes, including a cap, a scarf, and gloves or mittens.

Food and drink

Always bring enough food and drink when you set out on a trip. It is important to have enough refills to make sure your energy reserves last all the way, not just to the top of the ridge.

A man in proper mountain hiking gear is standing above Lysefjorden in Fjord Norway
Summer hiking packing list.
Photo: Kristian Paulsen (selvestepaulsen.no) / Bleed / Visitnorway.com
Summer packing list – What to prepare for your hike
PLAY VIDEO

Toilets

There are no toilets along the trails, so do your business before you start your hike. If you have to go along the way, keep downhill from the trails and well away from streams and lakes. Bring your rubbish back to a bin.

How to get there

There are two options for getting to Besseggen. You can either start hiking from the Gjendesheim tourist lodge or take the boat from Gjendesheim to Memurubu and start your hike from there. The latter is the easiest route, as you’re going uphill. To ensure you’ll get on the boat, you should reserve tickets in advance. You can stay overnight at both Gjendesheim and Memurubu and start the day fresh and fit the next morning.

Other hiking routes in the area

There are many other hikes around Besseggen and in the nearby areas, including easier options. Check out other hiking alternatives in Jotunheimen.

Mountain safety tips

Every year, Norwegian volunteer rescue crews go into the mountains to retrieve travellers who have lost their way, are tired or injured, or have encountered problems after dark. These travellers are often dressed in everyday clothes and lack suitable equipment.

Do this:
Research the length, duration, and recommended physical conditioning for the hike you want to do.

Check the weather conditions and always listen to local mountain residents.

Buy or rent the right equipment for your trip.

Always bring enough food, drinks, and an extra change of clothes in your backpack.

Check out the possibility of joining a guided tour or use a local guide in order to minimize risks.

Avoid this:
Do not wear jeans, trainers, or other everyday clothing.

Do not start your trip too late in the day, as you might risk having to hike in the dark.

Never start your mountain hike without being in good enough physical shape.

Do not depend on a map on your mobile device, as there is not always coverage in the mountains.

Don’t leave anything, including trash, behind.

Be prepared and pack your backpack like a pro with our hiking tips and packing lists.

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