Destinations Europe Norway

Kjeragbolten: Scary, Exhausting and Exciting!

A stream of water flowing on the hike to Kjerakbolten

Kjeragbolten: Scary, Exhausting and Exciting!

Over the summer I was in Norway, trying to complete three hikes which are on my bucket list – Kjeragbolten, Preikestolen and Trolltunga. Things did not go to plan as I was only able to do one of them. More on that later…

 

How to hike Kjeragbolten

In case you don’t know, Kjeragbolten is a rock / boulder that sits in a crevasse in the Kjerag mountain in the south west of Norway with almost a 1,000 metre drop to your certain death.

The easiest way to do the hike is from the city of Stavanger in the south west of Norway. Once there, I was able to get a bus transfer to and from the hiking start/end points from a company called Tide Reiser. You can find more information on this service from here.

The price for the bus is 550 NOK return, which is just over £40. Yes it is expensive, but when you consider this is Norway and I was going solo, it was much cheaper than hiring a car!

The bus departs from the main bus station in Stavanger at 0730 which you can find on a map here and arrives at the starting point of the hike, Øygardstøl, at approximately 1100. The bus departs for the return to Stavanger at 1700 giving you 6 hours to complete the hike. Tide Reiser recommend 5 hours for the hike so this should be plenty of time. I was able to complete it, having not done a hike in several months or any training beforehand.

Due to weather conditions on part of the journey, it is only possible to do this from mid June until the end of August. It is important to note that there is no guide on the hike. You have to look out for rocks with red ‘T’ signs pointing you in the right direction, which was also a bit of a challenge when I did this hike.

 

The Hike

From Øygardstøl, the hike to Kjeragbolten is approximately 9 km long and is effectively a series of 3 steep climbs with a short climb down between each.

I am not going to lie, it is tough and hard on the knees. There were times that I was cursing to myself thinking why was I putting myself through this, but the views along the way are so stunning that it was worth it!

The first climb is probably the hardest and there are sections which are so steep that you need to pull yourself up using guide chains. When the toughest part over, you can rest your lungs for a while on the walk down, admiring the amazing scenery and crossing a small river stream.

Beautiful landscape after the first climb

Beautiful landscape after the first climb

 

A stream of water flowing on the hike to Kjerakbolten

A stream of water flowing on the hike to Kjerakbolten

 

The 2nd climb is not as hard as the first. There is a point where the adventurous can put their feet over the edge of the mountain for some pictures.

Getting closer to the edge....

Getting closer to the edge….

 

Looking over the side of the mountain

Looking over the side of the mountain

 

The 3rd and final stage is mostly flat, walking across a combination of snow and rock. Proper hiking shoes/boots are DEFINITELY needed for this hike. I was unfortunate to walk on a loose area of snow and dropped about a foot deep so take care where you walk!

Remember I said that seeing the red T signs for the direction wasn’t that easy? That is because of the weather on this day. In the space of about two minutes a mist/fog rolled in over the top of the mountain. At times I couldn’t see more than two or three metres in front of me. It was like a scene from Resident Evil or Silent Hill!

 

This is what good visibility looked like

This is what good visibility looked like

 

On the way down, you can see the difference in weather from my earlier picture from the same spot

On the way down, you can see the difference in weather from my earlier picture from the same spot

 

After about 30 minutes (in normal weather conditions), you will reach Kjeragbolten. I have read that it can take a long time to get onto the rock depending on the number of people in the queue. I didn’t experience any such problems though. People are tired from the hike, so they take turns to go onto the rock while others take on some water and eat some food. I might have had to wait for 5 minutes at most before it was my turn…..

 

Made it! Standing on Kjeragbolten

Made it! Standing on Kjeragbolten

 

The Return Hike

If you hike up a mountain, then the return journey must be mostly downhill. I hate downhill sections. I always find they are what cause injuries, which is exactly what happened to me.

On the way down, the weather got even worse and the heavens opened, making a slippery hike even worse. At one particularly steep downhill section I slipped, landed on my ass and banged my right knee hard on the rocks. I also avoided having a metal hoop (think of it as an industrial tent peg for keeping the guide chain in place) in my back by no more than 2 inches.

The remainder of the downhill hike was spent with me limping and getting more and more soaked. Eventually I made it, in agony, to the start and my return bus to Stavanger. When I got back to Stavanger, I had another 30 minutes walk back to where I was staying (It was cheaper than the centre), but when I made it back, I was glad to have a nice, long, hot shower to cure my aching bones and muscles.

Despite my injury, I was glad that I had done the hike to Kjeragbolten. I just wish I could have completed the other two as well. Perhaps a return to Norway next year is required?

Preikestolen and Trolltunga

The two other hikes in the area are Preikestolen and Trolltunga, both of which can be done with the same company. You can find out more information

Hike to Preikestolen, from Stavanger

Trolltunga-Preikestolen Express bus

As a result of the injury to my knee, I was unable to do the hikes. But at least I was able to go the starting points and see some more of Norway.

The start of the hike to Preikestolen

The start of the hike to Preikestolen

 

From Preikestolen, I was able to get a bus to the small town of Odda which is one of the main starting points for hiking Trolltunga. The hike to Kjerag took more out of me than I had realised and I ended up sleeping past the bus to Trolltunga, but I was able to spend some time resting my knee and relaxing for my overnight bus to Oslo.

 

Boat docked in Odda

Boat docked in Odda

 

Looking out from the dock

Looking out from the dock

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Natasha
    December 27, 2015 at 20:29

    Those views make me want to return to Norway! I have only hiked up Preikestolen, but have always wanted that standing on the rock shot you have!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 27, 2015 at 22:21

      I think I want to return as well during better weather 🙂

  • Reply
    hannah
    December 25, 2015 at 18:55

    sounds really tough but it looks beautiful! I’m sure it was worth it though I’m sure I couldn’t handle it!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 25, 2015 at 19:55

      Definitely worth it!

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    December 23, 2015 at 16:46

    That final photo of you on Kjeragbolten is worth all the three stages! What a detailed guide to a memorable hike. Thanks!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 25, 2015 at 19:54

      Thanks Carol and yes I agree 🙂

  • Reply
    Madi | The Restless Worker
    December 22, 2015 at 22:01

    These hikes look unbelievable! Norway is very high on my bucket list for the amazing and breathtaking views almost everywhere in the country. I can’t wait to visit one day. Definitely pinning this for later – would love to do these hikes.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 25, 2015 at 19:55

      Definitely do it but maybe take more time than I had just in case of injury!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    December 22, 2015 at 18:47

    Amazing views! What was like standing on Kjeragbolten?=)) I can only imagine not breathing of the fear))

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 22, 2015 at 21:22

      THe main thought is ‘don’t fall’. You actually have to take a sort of mini jump, as in a bigger step than normal to get onto the rock too

  • Reply
    Anita Hendrieka
    December 22, 2015 at 09:35

    I love a good hike especially when there’s a beautiful view. I feel so accomplished after a big hike! Great pictures 🙂

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 22, 2015 at 21:20

      I know exactly what you mean. No matter how tired I am during it, I always try and think of the joy I will have when I complete it and that gets me through

  • Reply
    Castaway with Crystal
    December 22, 2015 at 07:17

    Beautiful! Amazing views. That’s on my bucket list now!

    Crystal recently posted… How To Cross The Thailand Cambodia Border Without Being Scammed

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      December 22, 2015 at 21:21

      Thanks! I hope to return to complete my other hikes on my bucket list

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