Backpacker in disguise

Dreamer. Traveller. Food Lover.

A gutsy hike for the money shot

Years ago I distinctly remember watching a video which went viral called Where the hell is Matt? and being intrigued about him dancing on a boulder suspended in the air wedged in between two cliffs. It looked scary but at the same time something I added to my bucket list and it wasn’t until recently when planning a trip to Norway I realised it was there.

Early birds

We started early and left Stavanger at 6am to take advantage of the clear roads. The drive itself was incredibly scenic where the morning mist was floating around the valleys and the lakes were undisturbed. It was the perfect time to capture panoramic shots. Upon arriving at the car park in Øygardstøl, the starting point for Kjerag we paid 150NOK to park. I would advise getting here early as the car park does fill up quickly, the alternative is to park on the road which can be narrow when coaches pass through.

Next to the car park is a restaurant and shop where you can pick up souvenirs, purchase snacks or hot food. After the hike I rewarded myself by buying a postcard, magnet and ice cream which cost 100NOK, the equivalent to £10 at the time!

So how difficult is the hike?

Honestly you don’t have to be super fit to hike this, I would suggest taking sturdy walking shoes, plenty of water and food as there are no shops on the route. The trek is a 12km round trip with three steep ascents mixed in with some challenging climbing and manoeuvring around rock edges or what I’d like to call tactical bum shuffling. There are chains to help you climb the steeper parts but beware it can get slippery when wet. We were very fortunate with the weather, the day started off cool in the morning then the afternoon was an absolute scorcher, I even got sunburn.

Kjerag sign

Hiking up using chains

Chains to help on steep parts

The ascent up

This is when strong grips on shoes are useful

So green

Stunning scenery

Finding your way to Kjeragbolten

The route is marked with red T’s painted on stones which are visible between each marker. These are fairly easy to spot and if in doubt there are some signs to help point you in the right direction.

Follow the TKjerag post

Snow

The last 20 minutes of the route is pretty flat

The leap of faith

The question I get asked most is “Is the boulder safe and sturdy?” and my response is the boulder isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Yes it is suspended 1000 meters up in the air with nothing to stop you from falling but once you’re on the rock there is some room to shift around and do some funky poses. To get to the rock you need to walk around a small ledge before taking a large step or if you’re short like me crawl onto the boulder.

Once you’re on it the adrenaline rush is crazy and the feeling is indescribable, my FitBit displayed my heart rate shooting up to 130bpm!

If you’re afraid of heights then I suggest keeping your head up as it’s a long way down. I remember standing on the boulder looking across Lysefjord thinking “Wow, I can see snow on that mountain” and it came into realisation how high I was standing.

Kjeragbolton boulder

Lysebolton fjord

Enjoy the moment

Once you’re on the boulder and looking towards the direction of your camera you’ll also notice thirty other lenses facing your way. My advice is don’t be put off by this or feel under pressure in having to move off the rock quickly because of the queue. Take your time, embrace the moment and get the shots you want. When in your life will you ever do this again?

Me on Kjeragbolton

Hiking Kjerag was definitely one of the most rewarding and enjoyable routes I’ve done not to mention one of riskier and craziest. The three steep ascents definitely take it out of you but once you overcome each one the view at the top is breathtaking and the perfect place to catch your breath and fuel up.

The time of day we went was perfect for us, the ascent was quiet with small groups of people walking at their own pace. It wasn’t until we started our descent that the route was a lot busier going upwards, which I assume the cruise ships had docked and tour groups making their way up.

The whole trek in total took us 5 hours, spending an hour at the boulder eating lunch. You can venture off to another path which takes you higher and gives a better view overlooking Lysefjord but we decided to head back.

It felt so good to knock Kjerag off my places to visit and it’s a hike I would definitely recommend. Make sure you have good walking shoes, plenty of food and water and a charged up camera because the views are spectacular.

Vista

Taking a breath after the first steep ascent

Other useful information

Season to hike: June – September. Roads are closed during winter due to snow
Parking costs 150NOK (June 2015)
What I took with me: bottle of water, lunch, hoodie, camera and small backpack
What I wore: dry fit leggings, sports top, Northface lightweight trainers

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