Being a rock climber I am fairly used to climbing and hiking up and down mountains. I love the combination of doing something active whilst being outdoors.
Not everyone has experience with rock climbing nor do they have the strength, skills or desire to learn how to do it. That does not mean you can't ascend a mountain; You can try climbing a Via Ferrata.
A Via Ferrata is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. A modern Via Ferrata is a steel cable which runs along a route and is periodically, every 3 to 10 metres fixed to the rock. Using a Via Ferrata kit, people can secure themselves to the cable, limiting any fall.
In Italy Via Ferrata has been a very popular activity for years. Recently this phenomenon has made its way to Norway. New routes are emerging every year. The feedback from the locals, the climbing community and the public vary, but for adventure tourism this has been (and I think it will continue to be) a great success.
This summer I went to Loen in Nordfjord to try this new and exciting way of climbing and I loved it!
The Ferrata route in Loen is fairly new. It opened in 2013 and has since then attracted thousands of visitors. On the way to the top there is a 120 meter long suspension bridge, 750 meters above sea level. That makes the ascend and the whole trip even more spectacular.
The Ferrata route is about 440 meters long. The guided trip will take you 1010 meters above sea level, giving you the most breathtaking views you can imagine. Being a Norwegian I would say I am fairly used to seeing spectacular views, but this one blew me away.
I was amazed by the people who climbed this route with me. A group of older women, a young man who had brought his grandfather and small kids, all went up to the top.
This is what makes this so special. It is hard, don't get me wrong. And if you are afraid of heights this might not be the best for you. But the route makes it possible for most people in relatively good shape to make their way to the top. Getting to see this view and get the feeling of accomplishing something out of the ordinary.
That is why I love adventure tourism. It gives you so much more than just a photograph. It gives you the feeling of exceeding your own expectations, your own limits and pushing yourself to try something new.
Ever since they started the route the small town of Loen has changed a lot. More visitors are coming every year and with neighboring town Olden being a cruise ship destination it bows well for the this place in the future.
How to get there from Oslo and Bergen:
Travel by bus or boat:
From Bergen there is express-boat every day to Måløy. From there you can reach Loen by bus. You can also take Hurtigruten from Bergen along the coast of Western Norway. Hurtigruten also stops in Måløy.
Visit Fjord1 for timetables with bus, boat or ferry in Western Norway.
Express-busses daily to Loen from Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo. See Nor-Way.no for timetables and fares.
Travel by car:
It takes about 7 hours to drive from Oslo - Loen and about 4,5 hours from Bergen - Loen.
Where to stay:
I would recommend staying at one of Norway's most famous hotels; Hotel Alexandra. This family-run hotel has been in the same family since 1884. It is located in the inner reaches of Nordfjord and is as famous for its dining options as its landscape surrounding it.
Camping: If you want cheaper accommodation than a hotel there are several campsites in and around the area.
How much does the climb cost:
Minimum 5 persons NOK 960,- per person included guide and safety equipment
Less than 5 persons NOK 4500,- included guide and safety equipment
What to bring?
I would recommend bringing food, a water bottle (two liters), gloves and warm clothes for unpredictable and cold weather.
For more information: