Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trolltunga, Saying Hii to Happiness

During my graduate studies at Georgia Tech, I joined "Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech"(ORGT) which introduced me to some outdoor adventure,realized how it feels to push limits in Nature's Beauty through ORGT's Backpacking, White water Kayaking and Caving program. This experience changed me a lot for good.:)

This Blog post is about my visit to one of the most Beautiful place on Earth during my 100 day backpacking across Europe in summer 2012, while I was working at German Aerospace Center (DLR) . Trolltunga, Norway.  Between Fjord, Valleys, Mountains and Under midnight sun. It was my dream destination ever since 2009 when I saw a pic on reddit, someone sitting on this rock.

The biggest lessons I learnt after going to several adventurous, untouched beautiful places during this eurotrip : If you like something truly and if you feel it from Inside, You will get it somehow and all things will fall in place. Weather, Friends, Hitching rides, Safety,Comfort, etc etc.. Just have to make up our mind and go for it.  Actually not just in traveling but in many other things in life. Just go for it giving 100%!!!!...with a big smile:)

It feels so good to sit there.."The freedom and simple beauty is too good to pass up" : Christopher McCandless, Into the wild. This is the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.It took 2 days to reach,difficult , mother of all hikes..  All worth for sitting at the edge for about an hour , Embracing Nature. I was super-lucky with the weather.. Isn't it beautiful?? makes you happy, and you smile big, looking at that scenery..  :) 

Buer Glacier, Odda Norway

"I read important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong ,to measure yourself at least once..- Christopher McCandless , Into the wild " ... The awesome felling of standing on this small rock.....Dont look down!!..900 mtr drop from fjrod.. @ Kjeragbolten, Norway.
Reference pic when weather is clear

There were days in Atlanta, During my studies at Georgia Tech. I used to come home from lab at 2  am , eat something and sleep (try to). I knew very well that I don’t belong to the studious bread of ppl usually found at tech. Just have some enthusiasm and some will/interest to learn something and contribute towards green aviation. I am  a kind of a guy who cant survive without social life, cant slog so much compromising social life. Often when I come home at these times and when I tried to sleep, I could hear goods train traveling next to my apartment. I used to think, hmm someday I am gonna run away from this “so much studies”and get into this train (no matter where it goes) , and try some adventure. Just to spend some time away from society and refresh. Somehow managed not to do anything like this. May be if I had watched "Into the wild" movie during that time, I would have explored this option.

In 2009, I had seen a reddit post of some guy standing on this rock at trolltunga. You know... few pictures do not erase from your memories and you constantly think abt it.. I was eagerly waiting for summer of 2012

Fast forward to July 2012… So this was my execution time in 2012 July @ Norway.. Here I am in Norway.. “Welcome to Fjord Norway”.. Green, Clean, Beautiful…I planned a lot for this expedition to make is as economical as possible(Norway most expensive tourist destination) and with right weather condition. The hikes which I was upto were not easy ones.. 
1. Trolltunga (mother of all hikes) 
2. Buer Glacier,
3. Kjerag Bolten- to stand on the rock.

                                                                   My Travel Map

All these three fjords are in 3 different regions of Norway. So its not just the destinations, The journey is also adventure to travel between these places with just hitchhiking (my way of traveling and making friends). In this blog its more about Trolltunga and you can find about Kjerag and Buer Glacier on my other blogs. 

 I read many many blogs, posted several queries in Lonely planet forum, Couch surfing forums and Trip advisor forums. Postponed my trip many times just to be at the right time for great weather in 2 month window. Yes you can reach trolltunga for only abt 2 months in a year.. Its extreme in terms of  weather condition, covered with snow rest of the year but relatively ok-ish during these 2 months. 

19th July 2012, I landed at Stavanger airport  after this flightpath (like a street biker in Bangalore) 

                                                     with this greeting at the airport  :p 

And the journey began. I deliberately don’t keep too much money because I want to try (forcibly sometimes) the adventure of doing things in broke/poor guy mode. This was the biggest lesson I learnt in my epic 100 day Eurotrip.."If I have no money, and try to reach a destination which I like a lot, It would be one hell of an adventure"..  Took a bus to Odda (central Norway abt 200 or 300 kms from Stavanger sola airport. This was the biggest expense for me in Norway. 40 Euros.!!!. That day I decided, Let me bank on hitchhiking and try to do all other travel, else let me go back after finishing just trolltunga to catch a flight to Hamburg, Skipping other two destinations. But I don’t know how.. I had all the luck which any backpacker/hitchhiker/traveler could ever have. read on…

Reached Odda by evening after great journey, could nt sleep at all. Yes the roads in Norway are magnificent; the artistic design of roads/ bridges blends well with the valleys. Yes we all know abt the magnificent Atlantic Road and other roads which are like the lines in our palm.But in this case roads between valley and mountain. 

I went to odda and reached the tourist information center to pick up a map to reach all these places alone(yes I dint expect anyone to join my crazy trip, I just wanted to be free and independent).. In the tourist center I met Alex and since we both had similar goal to reach trolltunga. We left to one helluva journey to conquer trolltunga, We Hitchhiked to the starting point of the destination and offloaded some of the luggage at a home in tessedal and started the epic long hike..Mother of all hikes and THE toughest one for normal people also considering the weather ,which may turn ugly at high altitudes very very quickly. Its abt 15 kms uphill hike, and with 18 kilos of camping gear in my backpack, I dint want to just go and come back in a day . wanted to spend some time and enjoy the I planned for 2 day hike so 18 kg of stuff!!

The starting point.. scary 1 km initial hike along this track ,with abt 60 deg gradient.. with a huge bag it seemed like 90 degree.. The other option was to take trail which is a zig zag route tru the mountain to reach top. We thought we are super clever and this is short and thinking that we can reach quickly, took this route.

View down towards starting point after 30% completion.. 30% of first leg!!! following the track..Up-hill!!! 

One step at a time.. every 100 steps , I used to take 20 second break. Alex was pretty fit though..P.S.. I had the backpack;) 3 hrs of this step by step climbing, by 8 30 PM. We reached top (not top of hike, this of many)..
So there are  two huge steep mountain and many hills all along. This was first hill on first mountain. So we had planned to atleast try climbing both the mountains on day one and so day two it will be small hills. And also I had other two hikes lined up next days. So endurance//stamina planning blah blah..

So through all kinds of trails ,muddy patches, forest, steps, rocks, small rivers we reached top or first mountain mountain. We were tired and since we saw some traces of snow (first time In my life:):)...),  I decided to stop at this altitude as going higher might be too cold to camp and god knows how the weather could turn.
So camping!! the middle of nowhere(literally)..Into the wild..

My first touch with the snow..…awwwww:)

My first Touch

Then cooking under the Midnight Sun high up in the mountains
Midnight Sun cooking

Some guys (Robin and friends) from chech republic arrived to the same place and that 4 guys also camped nearby.

There was a huge rock (hill) . The best part is from this rock (at this altitude) you can sit and see famous mignight sun go down between mountain and pop up again soon in few mins.. Its Norway, the land of midnight sun. we all started a camp fire and the chezh guys had a small music system. So we were listening to eddie weder’s into the wild songs, chatting abt travels, life and we were just relaxing at this best place on earth. The feel at this place, especially to listen to Into the Wild songs, wow so awesome.  

Camp fire video here. 

During night,  it was sooo damn cold. I gues it was in minus some degree C. Coldest ever I had experienced.. the only savior fact was, I knew I was damn tired and come wat may I will sleep. So went to sleep at may be 2 30 AM. With sunlight.. ha ha Norway..

That moment when you are sleeping and you want to pee.. n its cold outside… I peeped out and snow had increased around my tent over night.. I  had read  somewhere in some hikers blog,  this is when the body temp fluctuates most and not a good thing. But nature's call cant be avoided.. So went to ….and got a great idea to get heat back on the body.. ran uphill for few 100 mtrs.. till I started sweating and came back to sleep.. I don’t know this was the best way or creepy or dumbest way. I was able to sleep. This was one of the coldest weather I had slept outside.

Early morning, started raining at abt 6 30 AM.. I was like..oh noooo the weather god is turning away from me.. I am just half way to the troll tunga.. Thankfully within half an hr..rain stopped and I peeped out of my tent and it was foggy.. again this started bothering since, if I somehow make it to trolltunga, still I cant see anything coz it will be foggy.. L ..
Woke up with some hopes (actually without any option).. and made nice chai on the mountain. Plus some corn flakes with milk. I will die with head ache, if I don’t drink tea in the morning.

My Den up in the mountain

At 8 AM, we left our backpack and tent.. with just some water and food to the second leg of the journey.
We went further up up crossing hills, lake covered with snow. This is pretty dangerous as its summer and the thin sheet of ice over lake can break off and you will be in water (ice cold).. dangerous.. but thankfully nothing happened.

This is how the Trail looks like.. 
Awesome though...

Got lost a bit as we could nt find the red T marks(trail)..  you need to be active and observe the surroundings as some are barely visible. We lost abt 45 mins in this..So please store in ur memory abt the location of last T mark. 

T mark which could nt withstand extreme weather.. Poor T..

 The "confused"  T mark

Then again few more kilometres of hill crossing, snow.. 

Felt good seeing this milk can.. don’t know why..

                 And a frozen river

And more hiking.. lot of snow everywhere.. Then finally some good sunshine.. I was happy at this time.. yeah weather god joined me as I had hoped.. Guys I was very lucky to get this weather.. And finally I saw this huge valley and green-b;ue lake from this point.

Finally a good view of destination

 But we had  to go to the far end of this valley (other side) to reach the troll tunga.. and you know these small sights like movie trailer helps a lot pumping some energy to push a bit more. It seems many guys have returned  back just reaching half way tired or due to weather..

My Fjrod on Norway's Fjrod

Praju's Fjrod

And at 12 30 PM.. after lot of hiking and sweating and small small sneak peak.. We were here.. The epic trolltunga..

 And I ran to the trolltunga point and I was dancing all over the trolls tongue..aka trolltunga..I have no words to describe to describe how happy I was to reach this destination which I had seen in Reddit in 2009 and with good(best actually!!!) weather and with good health,gr8 company and excitement.

Video here

Where ever I go I carry a bit of India with me.Generally ...I know its not like climbing Everest or alps.. Its not a big achievement ...But it was my one big dream so took a pic with Indian Flag at Trolltunga.  I dont know, I feel good.. 

Lot of thinking happened for a long time there

And I had planned to spend good amount of time at troll’s tongue point. I don’t belive in just taking a pic and sharing (off course there is no happiness without sharing).. Not just taking a picture but to be part of a bigger picture..I just wanted to sit there and spend a lot of time on this edge alone.. one on one with nature..:)..This place made me understand what the word "Beauty" mean and I felt it.. 

And after few hours we started going back…. At this point I was happy about accomplishing the first goal.  We got back to out base camp by 4 PM and we had just 2 hrs to reach the ground level.

It started raining.. Sorry for the hikers who were coming here in the opposite direction..:(

And finally a long hike down along with this rail track. Trust me its tough and it would have been better to follow trail. I thought, My legs are strained and I dint want to twist my ankle while coming down hill in trail. The steps will be consistent and monotonos so no chance to twist.. But this monotonous thing of stepping down for 2 hrs was very hurtfull later in night but worth for the beauty I had seen since last two days. So if you want to do this please follow trail. We were in hurry so had to take up quicker options.

And in the end this is what happens when you do something which is usually not to be done.. many onlookers.. thinking we are crazy.

From here we hitched a ride back to tyssidal and then to odda.Hitching rides was something wich was so easy for me..I dont knwo how everything worked up so well. Lil wet and tired. I was thinking how to reach central Norway.. to do kjerag..

Overnight we planned to take shelter in odda busstation.. Imp.. at this station there is a waiting room with restroom with hot water.. wow.. and its clean.. I was too tired to set up tent and just needed a warm shelter to crash in this village.But just thought of sending couch request to some ppl in this region(there were only 3 Couchsurfers in this region). I got a free wifi access point nearby a hotel next to odda tourist center. I sat outside the hotel on footpath and sent few request and provided my phone number.

Within 5 minutes I got a call from Pawel byra who stays at tysidal, which is the starting point of trolltunga. Met other hikers whom we had met on first day in tourist centre, they were also surfing at his place. Such a small world..

In the morning we got an unexpected direct hitchhike till the starting point of buer glacier. I don’t know how things came so well for me.. the couple was going towards bergin, up north to odda and while we were travelling we had good conversation and in the end they decided to go off route and helped reach the starting point. I felt very good meeting strangers and when they help you a lot coz I was visiting their region from far away India. These guys had planed to hike trolltunga on that day but the weather was ugle so were going back to Bergen.

All bout Buer glacier hike in this blog.. link to be paster here soon.


  1. Please prepare for ugly weather. Hiking boots must, snow proof and water proof must.. water resistance wont worlk, water proof jackets and hiking pants are preffered.
  2. According to me best way to do trolltunga is reach the starting point in afternoon or morning. From odda you should reach tysedal tru bus or hitchhike.. then again you need to take a expensive taxi or hitchhike or walk few kms to the starting point near the tram track.. if you start in afternoon you can get hitch hike easily since many start in afternoon.
  3. During the start of Hike pls don’t take the steps path along the track.. take the trail instead. Steps next to train track looks easy and if you are without heavy bagpack may be easier.  Its monotonous and steep.
  4. Try to finish two steep hills before camping. When you do this hike you will realise what I am talking about. The second will be as steep as this railway track mountain.
  5. Camp there as beyond this its all snow and rocks (atlease when we went).
  6. Wake up early in the morning and leave the worry.. hikers respect other hikers and everything will be safe.
  7. It will be another 4 to 5 hrs of hike .. this time not so stressful as the previous two mountains. You will come across small hills and snow lakes.
  8. Keep an eye on the trail and read T mark. Remember where you saw the last T.
  9. While walking on snow be careful . you might be walking on a thin sheet of ice over a lake!!!
  10. Don’t worry about water. Carry it.. But I was ok drinking water from small rivers flowing down from melted ice/snow. A good refill point if you are ok with purest form of water.
  11. If you carry a bagpack, please keep it as light as possible and a good bagpack. My bagpack's one hand broke in the middle of day one. But since it had many tail, I managed to carry it further with lil problem .
  12. Stay awesome trough out the hike. Yes you can collect few dry wood and set up campfire and listen to Into the wild music under midnight sun
  13. please speak to info center before start
  14. Imp: You can take shower as soon as you come down since its free for ppl who have paid for parking. And free for hitchhikers (my assumption). :)
  15. comment with questions or comments. 
P,S : I have bad english and I will try to improve or update the blog if there are any mistakes. 

Now with refreshed mind and with so much real motivation after being at such beautiful places. I can work hard to contribute towards green aviation. :):)



  1. I'm doing this hike at the end of August, thanks for posting...lots of helpful information that I haven't been able to find anywhere else!

  2. Great description Praj! Tips and feelings at the same time. Makes me want to go there ;-) Good job

  3. Hi Praj, this was an excellent account of something I have wanted to do for a few years now . Your English is fine and I think most people can understand the message and feelings you have shared . A great adventure and memories to be cherished for a long time for sure. Well done.

    Vinod (

  4. Beautifully described. Just be able to see the view with my own eyes would be enough. Not sure if i could sit at that edge for an hour. I will try to get there in Summer of 2014.

  5. So jealous... T_T


  6. hey mate! i just coincidently stumbled over your blog. in 2 days i will start my norway tour, trolltunga is our main target. great to read some advice from someone who had been there before. i wish you all the best! cheers!

    Greetings from Germany