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Adventuring in the Fjords of Norway

This guest post was written by guest blogger Stephanie Collard of QunoSpotter.co.uk

One of the places you often find in a list of late holiday deals is Norway, a country famous for its fjords. A fjord is a glacier formed valley with steep cliffs on three sides and a narrow, elongated inlet of sea. The word “fjord” comes from the Norse word fjǫrðr, which means, on the most basic level, ‘where you travel through’. Norway is home to the second and third largest fjords in the world Sognefjord (203 km), and the Hardanger Fjord (179 km).

There are a number of places near Norway’s fjords that are perfect for climbing. It is important to remember, however, that Norway has its own grading system for climbing, which rates pitches from 1-10 in a manner similar to that used by International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation’s (UIAA) system. Also, many of climbing guidebooks about the area are written in Norwegian, so you might want to climb with a Norwegian friend. Norwegians, like most Scandinavians, tend to speak good English, so you ought to be able to sit down with locals in the area you decide to climb and spend an hour or so mapping out your route and creating your own guide before setting out.

Preacher’s Pulpit (Pulpit Rock) in Forsand, Norway | Photo by kanelstrand on Flickr

Stavanger has steep walls 100-500m high and Kjerag is one of the world’s best base-jumping sites. Bergen is brilliant for athletic climbers and there is a 600m granite wall in Uskedalen. Hurrungane (which literally means ‘the noisemakers’) that’s good not only for climbing, but in the winter, for ice climbing too. The starting point for hiking is the village of Turtagrø along the Sognefjellsvegen road. The mountain range has a total of 24 peaks over 2000m tall.

The Romsdal area has been popular among climbers for more than a hundred years. Romsdalen is a valley and Romsdal is the larger area. It is advisable to stay in Åndalsnes if you want to climb in Romsdalen. Åndalsnes can be easily accessed via the train, which also stops at the Oslo Airport in Gardermoen. One of the popular walls here is called the ‘Troll Wall’.

Innerdalen is a 16 hour drive from Stockholm. Bear in mind that there are no bolts, so you’ll need the appropriate equipment. The emergency number is 112.

June is a good time of year for fjord climbing, particularly if it’s your first time. There is less wind and rain and you have benefit from 22 hours of daylight.

Sunnmørsalpane, Norway | Photo by Severin Sadjina on Flickr

In winter, the ice climbing is fantastic and you can go out with an instructor. But for those seeking a greater level of safety, the skiing in the area is also awesome.

Of course, the valleys make not only for great climbs, but for fantastic kayaking opportunities too.

There are narrow shallow bits and a plethora of reefs and islets, which make kayaking a challenging adventure. Because in fjords you are never too far from the water’s edge, if the weather takes a turn for the worse it’s always easy to paddle to the side, hop out of the kayak, and take shelter for a little while. In the fjords the scenery is never dull.

 

Sophie Collard (@QunoSpotter) is a travel writer who you’ll find writing about the many elements of travel in various different places. She writes the blog qunospotter.co.uk which spotlights overland travel. She’s travelled over rails in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Lead photo by photo.andersson.es on Flickr

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