When the day dawns cloudless, there is warmth in the air and you’ve had a good night’s sleep then everything is possible. Such was the feeling when we woke on the day we’d decide to try Kjeragbolten and decide if we’d attempt the rest of the walk or skulk back to Stavanger!
We quickly ate breakfast and signed up for the taxi run by the hostel to Øygardsstølen (the Eagle’s Nest), the usual start for the Kjerag walk. The taxi cost us around £10 each but this depends on how many take it so be careful You could try hitching up the road which I’m sure would be successful, or as our German/Moroccan friends were doing when we sped past them on the bus, walk it! (God were they tough!) It’s only a 600 metre climb taking in around 30 hairpin bends!
The Øygardsstølen start point is a large car park and an impressive “nest” of a building overlooking the fjord. Impressive in structure I should add. We had a coffee and ice-cream after the walk and were underwhelmed by what was going on inside. Maybe it’s Norwegian prices and people don’t go to such places for refreshment, but a token souvenir shop and a basic café tried it’s best to fill this cavernous space. The view was good!
So to the walk. The route leaves the car park, where there is a toilet block too, and immediately climbs over ice-smoothed slabs. A series of chains both highlight the route and help the ascent although there are places, once you have got into the rhythm where avoiding the chains is better than using them. Again the Red Ts guide you where no chains are and once the path levels off, kindly Norwegian hikers have made numerous piles of stones to “guide” you along your way.
Underfoot the route is mainly on bare rock which even if wet should have excellent grip. Be careful if conditions are icy of course. The route has three climbs on it and two shortish decents. If you’re an experienced hill walker the going is easy, and judging by the hundreds of casually equipped walkers we saw, is also achievable by non-walkers. Bear in mind that we did the walk in stunning weather so add wind and rain and low cloud and the walk is going to be much tougher. If you’re going out and back you can look at around five or six hours. If you take in Kjeragbolten before continuing along the Rundt walk, then it’s a three hour walk to the rock.
Actually finding Kjeragbolten turned out to be a bit trickier than we predicted. We had drifted over to look over the edge (and watch a base jumper leap into oblivion) and it took us a bit of time to locate this small car sized drop of rock wedged between two vertical slabs of cliff 1000 metres above the fjord below. We approached from the north but getting down to it was tricky so we swung round and came to it via a gully which lead down to the classic view of the rock. A stream of the brave and foolhardy took their turn to stand on the rock and pose for photos.
We took a look round the back and suddenly Sue told me she was going for it NOW. I rushed round for photos and suddenly she was there 1000 metres above certain death. Amazing!
The walk back was a repeat of the route out but elevated by Sue’s personal triumph of standing on top of Kjeragbolten, something she’d wanted to do and which drove our desire to come to Norway in the first place.
The other positive from the walk was seeing the landscape. This was proper mountain terrain and the weather was set fair for the next few days. Our attempt at the round walk was back on and tomorrow we’d start with the part from Lysebotn to Langavatn Hutte.