Looking out over Norway from the 2,469 metre peak of Galdhøpiggen is a unique experience. Although several trails lead to the top, the most accessible route starts at Juvasshytta cabin.
The view from Norway’s highest peak, Galdhøpiggen, is simply breathtaking. The towering giant is the tallest mountain in Norway, as well as the highest in Northern Europe. When the sky is clear, you’ll have panoramic views of the surrounding Jotunheimen mountains.
Mount Galdhøpiggen in Eastern Norway is popular among Norwegian hikers and tourists alike. But the path to the top requires both balance, cooperation and stamina. The shortest route begins at the Juvasshytta cabin. A guide is required since you’ll have to cross the Styggebreen glacier.
The Juvasshytta mountain lodge is situated on the mountain, about a 30-minute drive from the village of Lom. At 1,840 metres above sea level, the popular tourist cabin offers accommodation for tired hikers. Here, way above the treeline, the ground is solid permafrost, covered by rocks in all shapes and sizes.
Both Juvasshytta and Spiterstulen are natural starting points for hiking up Galhøpiggen. From here, you have a view of the mighty peak and the trail that snakes up through the boulders.
One of the highlights of the roughly three-hour long hike is the fascinating Styggebreen glacier. The glacier's name, composed of the words stygg and bre, means ‘ugly glacier’.
“The glacier itself is not ugly, though. The glacier got its name because the stygg also means ‘dangerous’ in the local dialect,” as Erlend Vindenes always tells eager hikers.
He works as a glacier guide and has climbed Galdhøpiggen no less than 70 (!) times.
“The glacier can be dangerous since we can’t see the cracks that are covered in snow,” he says.
Before crossing the glacier, everyone in the group must put on a harness attached to a long rope. This is standard procedure on glacier walks.
Norway’s deep fjords and high mountain tops were created when the ice retracted during the last Ice Age. Today, the landscape attracts a multitude of visitors every year. Many hikes, including the one to Galdhøpiggen, are considered safe as long as you take a few precautions.
“You need to respect the glacier,” says Dawa Chhiri.
Mr Chhiri is a Nepalese Sherpa who has guided tourists to Norway’s highest peak for more than ten years. Glaciers are constantly moving, and their cracks expand and retract according to the weather conditions and seasons. It's therefore essential to have the right equipment and always be accompanied by a certified glacier guide.
Every year, Norwegian volunteer rescue crews go into the mountains to retrieve travelers who have lost their way, are tired or injured, or have encountered problems after dark. These travelers are often dressed in everyday clothes and lack suitable equipment.
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
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.
After safely crossing the glacier, there’s only one last hurdle between you and the top: a steep, snow-covered ascent that will test both your strength and your stamina.
Some people take a short break, while others press determined onwards. The strain is quickly forgotten when you reach the top. Here, you can enjoy a well-deserved break with a snack and a hot drink while admiring the view.
Although the route can be challenging, around 25,000 visitors complete the hike every summer. Children must be at least seven years old to cross the glacier. They should also be accustomed to hiking in in mountainous terrain on walks that last several hours.
“The oldest hiker we’ve guided to the top was 86 years old,” says Per Arne Vole, glacier guide and manager at Juvasshytta mountain lodge.
You can also hike to Galdhøpiggen from Spiterstulen cabin. However, the trail from Spiterstulen is longer and more demanding. It takes an estimated nine hours to climb the mountain and return to the cabin. You don't need a guide for this hike, as it does not include crossing the glacier, but you can also join guided hikes from Spiterstulen.
The area offers an abundance of other exciting activities, like summer skiing, treetop climbing, guided horseback riding, and glacier walks. Travel back in time through the ice tunnel at the Climate Park. Sample Lom’s famous cinnamon buns or visit its ziplines, theme park, or Norwegian Mountain Center. Spend an unforgettable night in a traditional valley farm. Hike one of the many trails in the area. Plan your trip to Jotunheimen today!
Hvert år rykker norske frivillige redningsmannskaper inn i fjellet for å hente turgåere som er slitne, skadde eller usikre på veien videre, eller som har mistet retningen på grunn av mørket. De er ofte tynt kledd og mangler passende utstyr. Derfor er det enkelte ting du må huske før du legger ut på tur i norske fjell.
Undersøk lengde, varighet og anbefalt fysisk form for fotturen.
Sjekk værforhold, og lytt alltid til råd fra lokale fjellfolk.
Kjøp eller lei riktig utstyr til turen.
Ta alltid med nok mat, drikke og ekstra klær i ryggsekken.
Sjekk om du kan bli med på en guidet tur.
Velg aldri jeans, joggesko eller andre hverdagsklær.
Ikke start for sent på dagen – da kan du bli overrasket av mørket.
Ikke gå turen hvis du ikke er i god fysisk form.
Ikke belag deg på kart på mobil, da det sjelden er god dekning i fjellet.
Ikke legg igjen noe på veien. Alt du tar med deg skal være med tilbake til start, også søppel.
Guided hikes, places to stay and other fun things to do near Galdhøpiggen.
Norway has mountains in all shapes and sizes, and everyone can go hiking. Find a trip that suits you!
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