Hiking to the infamous Trolltunga
The Infamous 'Trolls Tongue' had been on our bucket list ever since we saw it on social media a while back, and it did not disappoint!!
We headed as many others do to the small Industrial town of 'Odda' the day before our planned hike, initially we were planning on pitching our tent at the campsite in Odda however with the unknown lying ahead of us we decided to stay in one of the small shed like cabins that the campsite offered instead. These were basically a small cabin that consisted of a bunk bed and a small table - and for around £50 seemed like an expense worth shelling out on - http://www.oddacamping.no/
The next morning we headed up to the trailhead around 6am as we had heard that the car park fills up fast and once full then you have to park at the bottom of the road and walk an extra 6km up to the start of the hike - something that we didnt want to do. Fortunately the car park had plenty of space so we paid our parking fee (around £45 for overnight) and set off for the trail.
At the trail head there is an information board with advice on what to take, what to wear and what times you need to think about heading back as well as when the trail is open and closed. We passed a few hikers on our way down that were only in the first couple of Km's at about 2pm which meant there was no way they would have made it to the viewpoint before dark. We strongly advise people to take note of this board as you could end up in a dangerous situation if you don't.
We had found a few posts about the hike where people had decided to camp at or around the summit as a more adventurous option as well as potentially getting the iconic rock all to themselves after the crowds had gone and then again before the first day hikers arrive in the morning. This appealed to us massively!
Anyone that attempting the hike needs to know one vital piece of information - the first 1km is horrific .... especially with a big rucksack full of camping equipment!! Each step felt like death and we were close to throwing in the towel. The trail mainly consists of large rock steps with the occasional smooth rock however in the more difficult areas there are ropes to help with balance.
After the first Km (take a well earned rest!!) the trail flattens out for a few km and is a scenic stroll through and along a river amongst some stunning scenery.
The trail continues up through a long steep climb to the half way point near the top of a high plateau where snow was visible on the ground even in late summer. After this we started to literally count down each kilometre using each marker post as a rest point - our rucksacks seemed to be getting heavier and heavier with each passing kilometre.
As the infamous lake below comes into view, its easy to think that you are almost home and dry however the trail winds along and around, up and down for what seems like an eternity until you finally catch a glimpse of the famous rock (we spotted the crowds first) at around Km 20.
The last Km flew by as the excitement kicked in at finally reaching our end point for the day - it had taken us almost 6 hours to hike the 22km trail with our heavy rucksacks, we think that this could easily be halved without the weight which ultimately lead to ALOT of rest/photo stops.
With arriving so late (aka taking so long) to the famous rock viewpoint we found that most people had already started their descent back to the bottom. This left us in the fortunate position that the queue's we had heard so much about had mostly gone and we could go out for photos pretty much as and when we pleased.
After our photoshoot on the ledge thoughts turned to finding somewhere to pitch the tent for the night - wild camping is permitted in the area with a leave no trace policy. This turned out to be trickier than first thought due to most of the ground being solid rock with flat grassy areas being few and far between.
We found what seemed like a perfect spot next to a bank overlooking the same view as the trolls tongue itself and with evidence of previous campers present we chose what we thought was an ideal spot in the circumstances. Later that night we noticed that a larger tent that was close to ours had moved, thinking nothing of it we set down for the night.
Around 2am we were awoken by the fierce wind that had picked up in the night, blowing our tent what felt like over the edge of the cliff we were camped close to. In the end i had to try and weigh down each peg with rocks i could find in the pitch black (next to an 800ft drop) in the hope that the tent would make it through the night.
Luckily morning came and our little tent, although slightly bent out of shape was a still standing - tip for anyone reading this thinking of camping - move inland and find a wind break!!
The weather had turned truly miserable for our descent, with the darkening sky approaching we decided to not hang around and started our long hike back down to the car. Unfortunately we could not beat the weather and it did not stop raining from around Km 21 all the way to the last Km - making the gruelling climb of the first (now last) Km into a slippery bog. With tired and bruised bodies we managed to make it back to the start for around 3pm - soaked to the bone despite our waterproof gear and utterly fed up at this point....
Would we do it again...... absolutely