Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thursday 20 July - Trollstigen

Where's Bertie?He's in the large car park which sits at around 850m on the Trollstigen Pass (exact location: 62.45312, 7.66352)

Another early start this morning, so as to get up to the top of the Trollstigen Pass before the road got busy. We particularly didn't want to meet any tour buses coming the other way, for reasons I will illustrate later.

Even with that aim, I couldn't resist, after we had visited a service point and filled up with fuel*, taking the 6km each way detour to have a quick look at the Trollveggen.

The Trollveggen is the tallest vertical rock face in Europe (3300' of vertical on a 5950' peak), and it has a 150' overhang. It was first climbed in 1958 and was the first route in Norway where the climbers had to spend the night on the face.

Mucho verticality

In 1980 BASE jumping came to the Trollveggen and in 1986 it was prohibited by law. The memorial there suggests that the prohibition is not strictly obeyed:

It being hours before the visitor centre opened, it wasn't long before we backtracked and headed up to the Trollstigen Pass, meeting just a few cars coming down and a couple of bicycles and a family of roller skiers going up (hard work all around there).

That road looks like someone doodled on a pad and then that doodle became the design. Eleven switchbacks, and a lack of width, possibly because the road was originally built in 1936. We stood at the viewpoint and watched a large lorry negotiate its way down against a tide of oncoming cars and motorhomes.

It was just gone 8am as we pulled into a car park that was just about empty save for the motorhomes who had spent the night. If we had known how quickly it would fill, and how early the tour buses would come, we might not have paused for breakfast before we took a stroll over past the interesting design of café/tourist tat shops...

...and along the metal walkways to the viewing platforms.

A grated floor, a glass end wall and barely any protrusion - I didn't need to be brave for this one

Pottering and people watching then followed until, at gone 11, we stirred ourselves to go and walk up to a nearby lake, the originally planned walk for today having been shelved due to laziness after yesterday's exertions. The revised plan was only a 3km route, albeit with 1000' of ascent in the first kilometre.

It was a hot old climb, until just before we reached our destination, whereupon I exclaimed on the sudden rush of cold air. The reason became clear as we popped over the rise and saw this before us:

The second photo is a panorama in which I have allowed the real scene to be bent out of shape in order to fit more in

I hadn't expected the lake to be largely frozen over. What a spectacle! What a shame I hadn't packed a picnic!

The car park had already been full when we set off up the hill. By the time we were heading down it had spilled out onto the road...

I wonder if it's this busy on a less sunny day?
...and the full length of the walkways leading to the viewing platforms (and they are *long*) were full of people waiting their turn.

We might have moved on after our walk, except that, on seeing that the forecast is staying fine, we decided to stick around and do today's originally intended walk tomorrow. So we have pottered and people-watched some more.

It was well after 7 by the time the car park calmed down a bit and now, at quarter to nine, it's pretty quiet.

(*We didn't need fuel, but the service point cost 30NOK (£3ish) if you didn't buy fuel and was free if you did. We reckoned half a tank of fuel would cost at most £4 more than we will be able to buy it on Saturday (i.e. cheap fuel day), but who knows if we will be by a cheap station and what the actual price will be on the day, so we bought today at effectively a £3 discount on the advertised price.)

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