Trolltunga: guide and information

7 September 2013


When Kathrine told me we were going to do this hike, I wanted to know the following things:
  • how long is it going to be?
  • what ascend is it?
  • what is the terrain like?
  • how difficult is it?
I looked on various blogs and I found some information but there was no place were all of my questions would be answered. I will attempt to rectify that in this post and add more practical information including how to get to the starting point of the hike. Please feel free to ask in the comments if there's something else you'd like to know!

How to get there

The starting point for the hike to Trolltunga is in Skjeggedal.. We drove from Lillesand in Kathrine dad's car, but if you're flying to Oslo (364 km) or Bergen (138 km) you can either rent a car or take a bus to Odda, which is 6km from Tyssedal. The trail itself starts in Skjeggedal where you will find a big parking with showers.It is a further 7km up a narrow and very windy road from Tyssedal (you can easily drive all the way up to the parking although the road is rather narrow the views are amazing). The parking is paid and there is about 100NOK fee for one day.

The trail

The whole trail is about 11km long with 1000 m ascent and is recommended for hikes from June until September. I would imagine that snow would make the trail very difficult to follow. There are numerous stream crossings on the path so rainfall and melting snow would make it more challenging to complete the hike in earl spring or late autumn as well. I would divide the trail into 6 stages:

The forest 

Starting from the parking in Skjeggedal you hike up a very steep hill (the ascent is about 40 degrees I would say) next to a funicular track (not in operation). The path is easy to follow and mostly rocky but at times very muddy as well. This part is not too challenging on the way up but the way back can be very tiring especially if you do the whole hike in one day. The path ends next to the furnciular station where it turns into a muddy pool, where I almost lost one of my boots. You will need to hold on to bushes and trees to pass the muddy bit. 

The U shaped valley

After the steep ascent you are welcomed by a great view of a great U shaped valley with summer houses and erratics scattered around. The path takes you all the way along the valley where the terrain is very pleasant to walk on with big flat rocks. At the end of the valley you will see a sign marking 2km of the trail. 

Up the side moraine 

I'm pretty sure that the next stage of the trail used to be a side moraine of the glacier, which formed the valley itself. You climb for about 20-30 minutes to the top of the moraine up a well marked rocky path and then a former river bed. I think in early spring this may turn into a stream, which would increase the difficulty of the climb but in June-July it was very dry and made for a easy ascent. At the top you will see another great valley with a couple of lakes and an emergency hut in the middle. 

The camping valley 

You walk down and around a couple of small lakes to a valley with numerous streams and an emergency hut (I heard it's relatively well equipped but is to be used only in real emergency, as in stranded in a snow storm at night). The valley is very popular for camping as the terrain is much flatter and grassy, there are at least two lakes (we saw a group of brave people wild swimming on our way back from Trolltunga). You could for example hike with your camping equipment to this point, pitch a tent, walk to Trolltunga and back and sleep in the valley before a descending the following day. I imagine it's a beautiful spot for stargazing on a clear night. 

Along the ribbon lake

On the horizon of the camping valley you will see a couple of hills. These run along the ribbon lake which you will cross in the end to get to the last bit of the trail. Before exiting the camping valley you cross a number of streams (another risk of loosing your shoe as I've learnt ). These are usually not too difficult to cross on scattered stones but can be tricky if the water levels are higher for example in early spring.
Going up and down the hills along the lake you will enjoy gorgeous views but the path can get very muddy here. This part is the longest of off stages - I was hoping to see Trolltunga after each bend in the trail until I realized we needed to cross the lake at the end of it's valley. It's best if you prepare yourself for a long walk and just enjoy the views.

Across the lake and to Trolltunga

After reaching the end of the lake you will descend and go up again leaving the lake behind you. You're only about 40 minutes away from the end of your hike. You pass a small lake and a stream (this is where we camped) and a small valley to find a field of big rocks on the right hand side and another lake. Follow the red T signs carefully as it's easy to lose the trail here. After another 20 minutes of a walk up and down the rocks you will see a flat shelf at the end of which is the famous Troll's Tongue. 

General points

  • Wear hiking boots as the terrain can be very muddy and slippery as well as rocky
  • Be prepared for adverse weather conditions, a rain jacket is a must
  • Take a small bottle of water - there are plenty of streams with clear cold water, which is very refreshing
  • If you're planning to do the hike in one day, start very early in the morning so you can have a longer stopover at Trolltunga 
  • If you're planing to camp in the mountains, pitch your tent in the second valley as it will be easier to hike with lighter rucksack. Other hikers know that stealing someone's equipment may leave them vulnerable to weather conditions so in my opinion it's perfectly safe do leave your tent behind. 
  • Follow the red T marks to make sure you stay in the trail. We sometimes had to look for the signs to make sure we were following the right path. 
  • Be prepared for a long hike, having hiked in Poland in the past I would say that the terrain wasn't challenging compared to Tatra mountains but the length of the trail makes it quite demanding
  • Finally, if you're worried it's too difficult, do the hike in two days with camping in the mountains. It's really doable, I count myself as not a very fit person (I can maybe jog about 5km in 40 minutes) and I found the hike tiring but definitely manageable, especially had we started earlier and had a bigger lunch before setting off. 

So that's it! We made it to the Troll's Tongue, I'm planning to go back though to have this iconic picture of me sitting on the edge of the shelf taken sometime in the future. 

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments! 

  Driving from Tyssedal to Skjeggedal - a very scenic but windy and narrow road.
 Leaving Odda behind 

  Walking along the ribbon lake - the longest part of the whole hike, but the views are worth it. 
 In the background you can see the quality of the terrain on most of the path. It got a lot muddier at times.
 At times the path was rocky which was easier to walk on than mud. On the left hand side you can see a cliff with a ribbon lake beneath it. 
 The other side of the valley is where the Trolltunga is.

Checking our position on the map and GPS. We didn't realise we had to cross the ribbon lake. 
 Up and down the hills.
The red T was guiding our way to the Troll's Tongue.
  The view from Trolltunga. Breathtaking. 
And here is the Trollunga itself. From this angle it doesn't look as dangerous. 



Our trip to Norway this year: 

Part I | Part II | Part III (this post)

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for a most helpful blog of your trip to Trolltunga. I hope to do Priekostolen, Kjeragbolten and Trolltunga if time and fitness levels allow this
    Summer.

    Did you do this trip in the Summer and were there many other individuals or groups on the trail at the same time
    .
    As I will be travelling alone I was hoping to do this as a guided trip with other people from Odda. Do you know if this is possible.

    I am concerned as it is a long walk with significant ascent.

    I have read this is 8/9 hour return trip. Was this a realistic estimate or should I allow for more time.

    I am used to long distances but not with this much ascent as well. Obviously I can appreciate it is not easy but any further insight on how you found it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Vinod

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for a most helpful blog of your trip to Trolltunga. I hope to do Priekostolen, Kjeragbolten and Trolltunga if time and fitness levels allow this
    Summer.

    Did you do this trip in the Summer and were there many other individuals or groups on the trail at the same time
    .
    As I will be travelling alone I was hoping to do this as a guided trip with other people from Odda. Do you know if this is possible.

    I am concerned as it is a long walk with significant ascent.

    I have read this is 8/9 hour return trip. Was this a realistic estimate or should I allow for more time.

    I am used to long distances but not with this much ascent as well. Obviously I can appreciate it is not easy but any further insight on how you found it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Vinod

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey was thinking of climbing trolltunga as well,

    Wanted to ask actually if the maps provided at odda tourism are any better compared to this I found online
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QLaCZjBp44M/UdmooeMc90I/AAAAAAAAFvw/BRapHHe0-tM/s1600/DSC_0466.JPG

    You think its possible to make it through in 12 hours? There and Back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi I think 12h is challening but doable if you're very fit. I'm not sure which map is provided in Odda tourist office, we had our own map from our Norwegian friend. Happy hiking!

      Delete
    2. Hey there (Czesc) I will be doing my first ever hike to this spot at the end of august. I have a couple of simple questions:

      1. Is it safe to drink the water from mountain streams?
      2. I plan to wear shorts on the hike, is this sensible or should I invest in waterproof trousers?
      3. I don't plan to take a jacket other than a fold away raincoat, do you think it will be too cold?

      Delete
  4. Hey there (Czesc) I will be doing my first ever hike to this spot at the end of august. I have a few simple questions:

    1. Is it safe to drink the water from mountain streams?
    2. I plan to wear shorts on the hike, is this sensible or should I invest in waterproof trousers?
    3. I don't plan to take a jacket other than a fold away raincoat, do you think it will be too cold?

    Thanks for uploading the blog.

    Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete