The second part of our trip to Norway will be focusing on Hiking Galdhøpiggen. Let me first note that Galdhøpiggen is not a small mountain, infact it is the tallest mountain in Norway and Scandanavia - 2469 metres above sea level! This hike is certainly challenging, so set out early and prepare for a long day - we left at around 8am. We took a lot of water, and enough food for the whole day. Even in warmer weather it pays to pack extra warm clothes (windproof if possible), as it can get cold at higher altitude and you are exposed to the wind. It is always better to be over prepared.
Although we are not beginner hikers there were a few people passing us early on. We like to take our time and soak it all in! Galdhøpiggen is not one of the more popular or touristy hikes, and so we didn't find it to busy.
The first couple of hours of the hike are fairly unremarkable to be honest - very rocky and uneven ground. It is pretty much just up for the first 2 hours - fairly difficult, and VERY BORING! We even considered turning back at one point as the hike wasn't nice or scenic. However, after about 3 hours of hiking we were rewarded by seeing the first of two glaciers, and it is impressive!
Galdhøpiggen surprisingly has 3 peaks to climb! So there is some up and down along the way. Although these peaks look daunting, they arent as bad and difficult as they appear. After the first glacier the views become more and more impressive. It is also possible to take an alternative route and pay a guide to walk across the glaciers. We decided against this for a few reasons - one reason being the price! We did see some people in the distance walking the glacier and it did look like an experience.
The last bit of the climb was the most difficult. Although not technically any more difficult, it is physically and mentally exhausting knowing how close the top is. Most things we read said it would take 4 hours to get to the top - we arrived at the top at 2:30pm, meaning it took us 6.5 hours to the peak. Either the recommendations were off, or we are unfit and bad at hiking....
So we made it to the top. What a view. Words cant really explain it as well as a picture can.
We only stayed on the top for around 40 minutes, as we were aware of the long climb back down, and didn't want to be walking back in the dark It was enough time for a well earned Snickers, and to soak in the sights at the peak. And the sights are truly amazing - every direction we looked there were mountains. It was pretty special looking around and realizing we were on the highest peak.
Although the peak was relatively busy (probably 20 - 30 people) there was enough space to enjoy the view (and get some photos). I think people leave earlier than we did, and also climb faster!
Heading back down the mountain was hard work - surprisingly harder than climbing up. Climbing up took fitness and endurance, whereas climbing down took alot more agility and skill. It was hard to know where to place our feet, and some places were quite steep - I nearly had a few bad accidents!
The first hour or two of the climb down was amazing, as we were constantly soaking in the amazing views of the surrounding mountains. However, sadly, as the climb down continued we got more tired, and the views of the mountains started to fade away. We were left with hours of climbing down through rocks and rugged terrain again.
We arrived back to the bottom at about 9pm! We were both worried that we would get stuck climbing down in complete darkness - and we nearly were.
All in all Galdhøpiggen was an amazing hike, and one I would recommend. Although it was challenging and took perseverance, but the views at the top were something we have never experienced before.
I would recommend leaving early (especially if you arent experienced), and expecting a whole day on the mountain. This means also going prepared with plenty of water and food, a first aid kit and warm clothes. Although there were people around it does pay to be extra safe as weather can change quickly and you can get in trouble.
I hope you enjoyed, and I look forward to sharing more of my travels with you all!