The Romsdalseggen Ridge transverses some of the most beautiful and wild mountains in the world: the trail runs through forests, across peaks and stares out over fjords, valleys, mountain ranges, and even out to the ocean. It is nothing short of an awe-inspiring and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
One wet morning in the Norwegian town of Andalsnes, know as a popular destination for mountaineering in the region, we set upon the Romsdalseggen hike. The full hike can take 7-9 hours and stretches over nearly 12km, with different routes varying in difficulty. Although, sadly, due to poor conditions and deep snow persisting into the springtime, we were only able to hike part of the trail.
We began our hike from the base of Romsdalseggen and headed up the steep incline through the woodland, to then emerge above the treeline on the rocky ridge. Amongst the trees the air was humid and damp as low-lying cloud swaddled the protruding peaks. Hoods up and breathless from the hard climb and fast-changing altitude, we rapidly covered ground and quickly warmed up on the otherwise chilly day.
The trail was well trodden to say the least. The trampled path had in places swollen to over 12 metres wide; we'd been told that the Norwegians love to go off-piste and make their own path – which is true for both summer and winter activities. With no set single-track path, our eyes were constantly glued to the floor, methodically manoeuvring the wet, slippery ground and mentally mapping out a route through the exposed tree roots, over-grown shrubbery, collected water pools, mud puddles, and small streams. At this stage of the hike, calculating the next foothold needed devoted attention, and many of the moments that my gaze wandered ended with me on the ground covered in mud.
As we ascended higher, the trail became steeper and in many places stone steps had been installed. In 2013, Nepalese Sherpas, employed for their specialist skillset of working on steep terrain with heavy loads, constructed the stone stairways. Hired by a group of local investors, businesses, and the Norwegian Trekking Association, it took the Sherpas a season (Norwegian summer months; June/July-September) to create them. With no way of using heavy-duty machinery, it is believed that local people were unlikely to have the skills or experience to complete the difficult task.
All the stone used was locally sourced, a lot of which was found in the immediate surrounds to shorten the distances the Sherpa workers would have to move the stone. The construction is massively impressive and the stone stairways have made the more treacherous and steeper parts of the trail safer and more accessible; we'd been told that some of these areas of the trail were previously only passable with ropes and climbing equipment.
Sweating buckets, I questioned my decision to layer up, but when we reached the top I became incredibly thankful. The temperature had dropped and the elements were far less forgiving up on the exposed ridge, so we quickly took to a small stone refuge hut to escape the fierce, horizontal rain and to stop for some much needed sandwiches.
Inside the hut was a very simple, small space with bench seating and a little wooden table. Fastened to the wall was a metal cupboard that housed a sign-in book for those who had climbed the trail; the book featured many reoccurring names, repeatedly scrawled day after day, week after week. Norwegians often use the local terrain to keep fit and the names were likely to belong to local people out on their regular exercise, some of who had passed us by on our way up.
A few sandwiches later, the weather had cleared and the sun had begun to fight its way through the clouds. The absence of rain revealed vistas of diverse and incredible beauty: we could see the peaks of Romsdalshorn, Trollveggen, Kongen, Dronningen, Bispen, Kirketaket and Vengetindene; to the south was the River Rauma, which travels along the valley to the famous Trollstigen mountain-pass; the view looked out over the Romsdalsfjord and on to the Norskehavet Sea (The Norwegian Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean). Every degree of our 360-panoramic was occupied by outstanding natural beauty.
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Hiking the Romsdalseggen Ridge was one of the highlights of our time in Norway. Norway holds some of the most spectacular and varied terrain on the planet. To find out more about the Romsdalseggen hike visit
http://visitandalsnes.com/en/element/ga-romsdalseggen-en/ (and watch the wonderful short video at the bottom of the page).
Volume Five, The Great Outdoors, and the Norway feature section were proudly sponsored by Visit Norway (www.visitnorway.com) and Fjord Norway (www.fjordnorway.com). To read more please visit our shop and grab your own copy of the latest volume.