Recognise this place? Of course you do, it’s that photo you have seen circulating on social media that epitomises outdoor travel.
Most will tense at the sight of someone daring to sit on the edge of the troll’s tongue, few will navigate to south-west Norway to witness the breath-taking scenery in person, and even fewer will attempt the 22km trek in May.
On initially researching Trolltunga online you may have found yourself familiar with the traffic light system that is advisory of the safest times of year to do the trek. Mid-October until mid-March is rated amber due to the extreme Winter conditions, while mid-June until mid-September are highlighted green and pursuable alone.
However, the month of May falls within the shoulder season. So unless you’re willing to pay 600 NOK for a trekking guide, most wait until June when public transport is guaranteed to get you to the nearby town of Odda.
For the more adventurous travellers and risk takers amongst you, seriously consider trekking Trolltunga in May without a guide. This time of year is perfect for cheaper off-peak accommodation prices, a lack of crowds on the snow-beaten trail and 0 queuing for the obligatory photo of you sitting on the 700 metre cliff-edge! Bragging rights exceeded.
20% of the trek is concrete steps or wooden plank crossings, while 80% will be spent trudging through ankle-deep snow, making sturdy and waterproof hiking boots an essential! The advised time to start the 12 hour-long trek is before 10am, however most guided groups start at 08:30, so I would personally advise a 08:00 start to avoid the stopping and starting of people ahead of you.
The later you start, the longer your day will be. And trust me, it will be a long day! 11km there and 11km back with altitude levels reaching 1,200 metres to be precise.
This trek is all about endurance, with the first kilometre the most testing as it ascends to an altitude of 700 metres at the top of a few hundred stone steps. Watch your knees on the way down!
To optimise the chances of a successful trek choose a day when the weather is sunny with cloud, ensure you have the appropriate kit as suggested in my list below, and a restful nights sleep to ensure a fresh pair of legs to walk with the next day.
- Spare socks
- Sun cream – the sun’s reflection on the snow will increase exposure
- Sun glasses – a MUST!
- Waterproof and sturdy walking boots – with ankle support
- 2 litres of water – A camelback is very useful
- Food – Take more than you think you will eat, you will get hungry!
- A warm coat or micro-fleece for the top
- Hat and gloves – Beginning of May more so
- Lip salve
- Personal first aid kit – optional
- Flip flops – great for airing your feet at the end of the trek