Featured Image Credit: Andrey Khrobostov/pocholo/Alamy Stock Photo
The Troll's Tongue is one of Norway’s most beautiful attractions - but the hike to get there is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world.
With the landmark gaining popularity amongst travellers in recent years, local authorities are warning people to be prepared and follow certain rules to ensure they stay safe.
For the uninitiated, the Troll’s Tongue – officially called Trolltunga – is a rock formation that juts out from a mountain hovering 700-metres above Lake Ringedalsvatnet.
Those who take on the long and demanding hike to reach the cliff edge are rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
It also makes for the perfect profile pic, which is just one of the reasons the landmark has seen the annual number of visitors increase from less than a thousand to more than 80,000 hikers over the past decade.
But as said by Trolltunga’s official website: “The increasing popularity of Trolltunga presents us with many challenges.”
They added: “Every year, Norwegian volunteer rescue crews go into the mountains to retrieve travellers who have lost their way, are tired or injured, or have encountered problems after dark.
“These travellers are often dressed in everyday clothes and lack suitable equipment.”
We should point out that deaths are incredibly rare here, with the first recorded fatal accident occurring in 2015 when a 24-year-old Australian woman tragically fell to her death off Trolltunga.
Nonetheless, the hike is incredibly treacherous, one of the reasons being that the weather can turn at any moment.
From the main trailhead in Skjeggedal, a round-trip to the attraction is 27 kilometres with an ascent of almost 800 metres, while the shorter journey from Mågelitopp is still 20 kilometres with an ascent of about 320 metres.
If you do decide to take on the challenge yourself, it’s important to be prepared.
Thankfully, the Official Tourism Board of Norway shared a video on YouTube demonstrating what steps you should take to stay safe.
In the clip, nature guide Johannes says the 23km version of the hike takes around 10-12 hours to complete, and therefore you should start no later than 10am.
Since the cliff edge is located at 1,100 metres above sea level, travellers should take into consideration that the weather will be very different at the top compared to the start.
“The hike is only possible to do between March and mid October, preferably with a guide,” he explains. “If you wish to hike without the guide, this is only possible between June 15 And September 15. This is the period where we expect the snow to be gone.”
Speaking about the essentials, he continues: “Use sturdy hiking boots and save your sneakers for city walking. Jeans don't belong in the mountains as they can get both cold and wet.
“Use wind and waterproof pants and jackets. Warm clothes are essential as it's always colder at the top than the bottom. Also make sure that you have enough food and drinks with you for the whole hike.”
Visitors are also recommended to make sure they have an extra day in case of unforeseen weather conditions, and if they turn too extreme it’s important to avoid the hike altogether.
Of course, the safest thing to do is to go with a guide - but if you decide against it, be sure to check out Visit Norway’s site for the full rundown of how to prepare and stay safe up there.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]