Tips for Hiking to Kjeragbolten, Norway

Sorry I’ve been absent this past week. I’m honestly feeling a little bit blue. I just swapped out my little summer dresses for big wooly sweaters and warm leather boots. Fall is here and I’ll be 29 in three weeks. I’m at an age where I’m supposed to have my shit together, but I’m feeling restless and like I still have a lot to figure out. And while these last few weeks of summer have been really therapeutic and restful, I still barely have the attention span to watch a whole movie. Over the past 5 years I’ve evolved into this go-go-go person, and I find the act of simply resting or slowly digesting a book oddly foreign. Even while unemployed, I have to-do lists that are a mile long. I’m yet to spend an unemployed day under the duvet, binging on Netflix. To thrive and feel happiness, I need to be challenged. I’m ready to have too much on my plate and work ungodly hours. And so this morning I finally started looking for jobs. Researching into agencies and brands I’d be interested in working with in Amsterdam, and maybe even beyond :) I feel like this past year has come with SO many changes, and it’s time for me to take the reins. With that in mind, nothing says ’empowerment’ like hiking 570 meters up and into the Norwegian Fjords. I told you about Stavanger and camping, and now I will tell you about the best part of our trip to Norway – climbing up to Kjeragbolten.Norway Camping_9669Kjeragbolten is a boulder located on Kjerag mountain in Norway. The base of the mountain is about a 2.5 hour drive from Stavanger. There are also ferries that travel regularly to and from the mountain. The boulder itself is a wedged deep in a crevasse of Kjerag, suspended above a 984-meter abyss. 
The hike up to Kjeragbolten takes about 3 hours. In some areas the landscape is very steep and rocky, while in other areas the land is flat and grassy. It’s an incredibly scenic hike, but not for the inexperienced. Here are a few tips if you’re planning on making the climb up to Kjeragbolten.

What You’ll Need

If you decide to hike up to Kjeragbolten, you will need some sturdy sneakers with a good grip, warm layers (including a hat), a big bottle of water, a meal and some snacks, a camera, and a watch or other device to help you keep track of time. Norway Camping_9691

Wear Good Hiking Shoes

We passed quite a few eager hikers who we wearing simple street shoes – for example Toms or Converse – and we couldn’t help but shudder. The round trip hike to Kjeragbolten is 6 hours (if you don’t stop for a rest or photo at the top) and in some places the terrain is very steep. Even in my athletic Nikes, I slipped twice, as in some areas there is not much traction on the smooth rock. It would suck to make it to the top, realize your feet are covered in blisters, and then have to hike all the way back down! Even worse, a sprained ankle or a wet butt (ha, this definitely happened to me!) can be avoided by wearing proper footwear. Norway Camping_9687

Bring a Camera

The views on the way up to Kjeragbolten are breathtaking. You’ll also want to capture your daring escapade should you venture out onto the boulder! Bring a camera, as those scenic moments you will want to remember are simply everywhere. I recommend taking pictures on the way down as opposed to up (more on this later).

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Dress in Layers

We did the hike in mid-August, and the air was very cool at the top of the mountain. I wore a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, and a lightweight North Face jacket that could easily stuff into my day pack. I also wore sneakers, long socks, leggings, and a hat. At the base of the mountain, I wore all of my clothing, but 15 minutes into the hike the jacket and hat came off, as my body temperature increased throughout the climb. A few hours later, my jacket came out again as we were waiting to hop out on to Kjeragbolten, as the line was long and we were idling around for 30 minutes. The lesson here is that even in the summer, you may want to wrap up, or at least dress in comfortable layers for your climb.

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Prepare for a Trek

The climb up to Kjeragbolten isn’t easy. In fact, if you’re an inexperienced hiker, I would recommend passing on Kjeragbolten and taking your stunning fjord photos on Preikestolen, a beautiful cliff above the Lysefjorden. Preikestolen is a fairly easy climb in comparison to Kjeragbolten, as the cliff can be reached in about an hour. Reaching Kjeragbolten, however, requires a full day and scaling three sharp peaks. There have been chains drilled into the rocky, steep mountainside, helping with stability and climbing. I exercise regularly and grew up hiking in Maine, and found the hike somewhat challenging. My recommendation would be to prepare beforehand if you want to hike up to Kjeragbolten. Make sure you are comfortable hiking for a good six hours (minimum), make sure you have the right footwear, and always hike with a buddy.

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Avoid Hiking in the Rain

As the majority of the hike is on rocky terrain, hiking in the rain would be a slippery mistake. We planned our trip carefully, and chose a dry day to climb up to Kjeragbolten. I would advise doing the same, as I read many reviews where people tried to hike in the rain and were rewarded with numerous falls and sprained limbs. Do yourself a favor and wait for a dry day before hiking up to Kjeragbolten.

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Bring Food and Water

I don’t leave the house for 6+ hours without expecting to consume a meal at some point. If you make the trek up to Kjeragbolten, you’re going to be on your feet for most of the day, and you’re going to get hungry! We packed sausages, salami, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, figs, chocolate, and lots of water. We split the bounty up between the 4x of us, and once we reach the summit, we found a secluded area and had a mini picnic. Pack food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, is easy to clean up, and can ideally be eaten by hand so you don’t have to mess around with plates, napkins, and cutlery. Throw in a wet wipes for good measure and make sure to bring a plastic bag so you can carry out all of your trash.

Norway Camping_9607Norway Camping_9000Follow the Trail Markers

Luckily, there are signs making the trail all the way up to Kjeragbolten. Make sure you stay on the trail and follow the markers, as if you veer off the path, everything will begin to look the same (ohh look, more rocks and grass!) 
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Hurry Up, Mosey Down

As the weather can change quite dramatically in a short period of time, my advice would be to get to the top of the mountain as fast as possible, without stopping to take a zillion photos or rest. You also want to make sure you have enough daylight to get up to the top of the mountain and complete the hike. Once you’re up and you have secured your stunning boulder photo, weather and daylight permitting, enjoy your hike on the way down. Stop, take in the view, snap a billion photos, enjoy lunch, etc. You’ll want to take advantage of the hike while the weather is good, and wouldn’t want to miss out on finding the boulder because it gets too dark or the weather suddenly turns.

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Take the Photo!

Let me tell you, I was nervous hopping out onto Kjeragbolten. I’d decided I wasn’t really bothered, but when all of my friends wanted to wait in line and snap the photo of a lifetime, I crumbled. There was actually quite a long line that day (50+ people I’d say) and so we had to wait about 35 minutes to climb out on to the boulder. As you can see from some of the photos below, we were *slightly* nervous. The wind that whipped through the ravine made balancing on the rock slightly difficult, but the fact that the drop was so dark and steep made viewing the water 3,000ft below difficult and therefore slightly less scary. Take your time jumping out onto the rock, climb out on your hands and feet if you feel more comfortable that way (I regret to inform you all that I JUMPED both ways – I somehow went from being a scaredy cat to an excited rabbit).Norway Camping_9640Norway Camping_9644Norway Camping_9645^ ^ The line to climb on the boulder. Boulder NorwayNorway Camping_9647^ ^ Almost our turn.
Norway Camping_9657I was the first to go, as I ran a highest risk for chickening out. If Kira came back and said, “Holy crap, that was scary!” I would have given it a miss. Thankfully, aside from the wind, the experience wasn’t horrifying, and in an odd twist I could not stop staring down the steep abyss. I looked death in the eye, laughed, and then hopped of that rock as fast as I had hopped on. Norway Camping_9669We all took our photos, before starting the long hike back to our campsite. Norway Camping_9676Overall, the journey up to Kjeragbolten was filled with highs and lows (quite literally!!) and was definitely worth the trip to Norway. I’d definitely recommend the hike to those who are seeking an adventurous and scenic trip with a bit more experience and a taste for danger ;)

xo Ali

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10 thoughts on “Tips for Hiking to Kjeragbolten, Norway

  1. Very cool!

    Hey, not everyone has things all figured out before they are 30. You just have to keep trying things till you find what is right and comfortable for you and then be ready for that to change. Life very rarely turns out how you expect and on the schedule you set for yourself at 18.

    Personally, I think happiness is remaining flexible and fully enjoying whatever is put in your path for however long it hangs out there.

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  2. Happy pre-birthday! No worries on not having things figure out. I will be 58 in a week and still have no idea what I’m doing. Great pics! I have a huge fear of heights so no way would I go, but beautiful pics!

    Like

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