Friday morning I unzipped my tent, looked outside and found myself at the beginning of a beautiful day at the feet of the highest peaks in Norway. The goal of the day was Galdhøgpiggen at 2469 metres.
The mountain is approachable from two sides, starting either at Spiterstulen (1.103 metres) or at Juvasshytta (1840 metres). The Spiterstulen trek to the top takes you 4 hours or so and it’s a fair walk all the way to the top. From Juvasshytta you face the glacier Styggebreen and in order to summit this alternative route you better line up with a group of people led by a glacier guide.
I packed my backpack, made myself a little snack and threw my camp in the car. I reached Juvasshytta at 9 and at 10 there was a guide available to take me safely over the glacier. I of course chose the alternative route as I hadn´t been on a glacier for a long time. And I must say I chose wisely:
Guide Vidar and his little dog briefed the troop on
equipment, how and how not to do before we went up. The trek to the glacier was
an easy stroll on icy rocks, approx an hour. At the glacier, we lined up and
went one by one. Walking the line. There were a lot more crevasses than I´d
imagined in advance and the camera went loco.
It was a cheerful troop and the atmosphere was great! As we had crossed the glacier, the steeper ascent to the top was the third and last part left. As I used to be a tour guide in my earlier days, I took on the role of walking up last, motivating the people who where behind, who had lost motivation and/or strength. It´s amazing how good friends one make just by sharing some chocolate.
Well on top the view was stunning. The highest spot, the roof of Norway. Blue skies, sunshine.. Perfect conditions. And I was served a glass of champagne (not that this is common in the Norwegian mountains.. but I luckily knew the owner of the company that celebrated its 30th anniversary up on the top that very day.) A to-be-repeated thing to do – champagne on top. Fantastic!
(I am publishing many more pictures in the gallery. Check out the NORWAY album on www.gallery.vagablond.no )
I drove to Lom after returning from the top and decided to camp on a camp site with facilities. Shower, sauna..
In advance of my trip I was excited to travel in Norway – as its part of my rediscovering thing I´ve been doing this summer. I spoke loudly about how great it is to travel in a country where I don´t have language problems, its 0.00001 % chance of bad food, hence bad stomach, the water is clean and available everywhere, the transport system is comprehensive and somewhat effective, routes are marked and I feel generally very safe. Too safe maybe?
Well, first of all I must admit that I never got into the sought-after sauna. The lady at the reception told me about ladies hour and gents hours and I was excited to find out ladies hours was just 10 mins away when I arrived Lom.
I quickly set up the tent, put on a bikini and ran to the sanitary facilities in a towel, across the camp site.
I was about to open the door to the sauna as a giant of a Danish tourist came out with just a tiny cloth in front of his Danish crown. “Gents hour” he said.. saving me from the embarrassment to walk into a sauna full of naked, male campers.
I went back up to the reception and the lady just repeated what she´d said previously:
“Fra att med klokkjo sju e det førbehølle dama” (heavy Lom dialect) I had understood “Fra og med klokka sju er det forbeholdt damer”.
So so.. so much for the problemfree travelling with regards to language problems. And that in my mother tongue!
I had dinner with two French couples in the camper kitchen, instant noodles and a lot of new French vocabulary. J´adore les Norvegiennes too by the way. I went to the tent and fell asleep with the plan of doing another mountain the day after.
Sometime during the night I woke up. Usually I don´t, and I was disturbed by the fact that I woke up. I checked the time 03:45. Still 2 hrs 15 till I was supposed to get up.
I turned around and pulled the sleeping back halfway over my head. It was freezing. As I closed my eyes I heard someone. Someone coming closer. Someone stopping just outside my tent...
I supposed someone was another camper (a person from one of the 3 camper vans
or the 1 single, other tent on the field). Maybe a camper who didn´t recognize
But then again, hey: there were only two tents on the field and the other
tent was bright blue (not green like mine) and 3 x the size..
Someone freaked me out. I froze in my sleeping bag.
Blair witch.. July 22nd. I was terrified. And alone.
Someone walked around the tent, 4-5 times, looking for the
entrance, so it seemed.
Someone turned into something!
The sound of scratching
paws on the canvas. I died. Almost.
At least I acted dead in my sleeping bag. I
am sure I didn´t breath for two hours.
Lom is known for its wildlife. Bears and wolves. Great choice of camping I thought as I imagined the headlines in the local newspaper the day after: “Vagablond going “Little Red Riding Hood”; eaten by wolves!” or “Bear – Female camper 1:0”
Something didn´t manage the zipper and disappeared at some
point. I caught my breath. Sigh.. Relieved.
I had now 15 mins left of my night and fell asleep of emotional
exhaustion. I woke up and as I pulled all my guts together and unzipped the tent
I found lots of animal prints on the frozen canvas.The paw print was the size of my fist..
For your information: I will never go to sleep in a tent ever again without a saber, a machete or a gun. Or a co-camper...
Anyways, at 07:00 sharp I hit the roads and drove 2 hours to reach a boat that would take me from Gjendesheim to Memurubu. For those of you who have been there, you know the route: The world-famous Besseggen tour. Besseggen is a ridge that enables great view over the waters Gjende and BessvatnetOne of the unique aspects of the view is that Gjende lies almost 400 metres lower than Bessvatnet, and while Bessvatnet has a blue colour typical of other lakes, Gjende has a distinct green colour (the result from glacier runoff containing clay)
The trek and climb took me 5 hours 30 mins, a trip I recommend any visitor coming to Norway. There was great variety in the trek and I experienced all kinds of weather along the way; typical Norway in other words.
Rounding off by sending my regards to the three beautiful and energetic girls from Fredrikstad whom I met on Galdhøgpiggen – keep up the mountaineering spirit!
Vagablond – out&about