Sunday, July 24, 2016

Death-defying experience in Trolltunga Hike





When I saw this Trolltunga picture sometime back, I thought that this is definitely not my cup of tea because of its dangerous position to pose for a picture. While planning my Norway trip, I read a few articles about Trolltunga hike that explained how amateurs attempted this hike and struggled. Having completed a 40 kilometer hike in India (Kudremukh), I convinced myself out of pride that, this hike is for experts like me and included it in my itinerary.

        In Odda town, I met three more guys in Trolltunga hotel and made friends. One of them got a car that helped us reach the base of Trolltunga hike the next day. The hiking sticks at the base camp lured me to change my plan from ‘Classic’ to ‘22 kilometer Winter’ hike. Little did I know that I’m prepared only to pose for the pictures but not for the hike! Ten of us started with a steep one kilometer hike through dense vegetation and moved to a mushy terrain scattered with ice and melted water. With a couple of breaks, we moved towards mountains completely covered with thick ice. Under this thick ice, one can hear the noise of melted water flowing. Out of fear, I took steps slowly and was left behind by the group. Despite being cautious, one wrong step broke the ice under my foot and I slipped into the water under the ice. Fortunately, I got hold of a rock nearby and saved myself despite losing my goggles.

        Our guide approached me and suggested that I turn back as it is going to get more dangerous ahead and the group has to wait for me at every break. It kicked my ego like hell. I thought “Whom are you speaking to? I completed a 40 kilometer hike and this is a mere 22 km hike”. I gathered all my energy and started leading the group literally by running in the ice. When I ran towards an area where ice was clean, I was quickly warned by my guide. He shouted that I’m running on a frozen pond and stand a chance of drowning in the ice. Later, I took as many as 20 wrong steps and fell in the ice every time and got up. My guide noticed my struggle, appreciated my efforts and suggested me to follow him. Actually, he threatened me to follow him but I interpreted it as a suggestion to make myself comfortable.

        Suddenly it started raining cats and dogs and the temperature dropped further. I would say that ‘real feel’ is ‘freezing cold’. My idiotic casual shoes added more misery and I literally experienced walking on the ice with bare foot. On my way, I met a few hikers who were unable to tolerate the cold weather and cried that they may die there. I gave some energy bars and motivated them to return. The scariest part of the hike was to walk through a narrow path in the middle of a slanted ice mountain. We held our breath with the help of hiking sticks during this phase.

        You might think that we forget all the pain after seeing the most beautiful views from Trolltunga. No, not at all! After removing the jacket and gloves, I gathered all my courage to stand on Trolltunga and posed for pictures. When I came back to wear jacket, I am unable to even hold it as my hands were frozen. Other hikers rushed towards me and helped me wear gloves and jacket. Looking at my shoes and superman T-shirt, our guide shouted in surprise “How did you manage to come so far with these shoes? You must be a Superman!” At that moment, I wanted to give him a slap and all the bad words in this world for not warning me at the start of the hike. But, I could only show him my teeth acknowledging him for calling me a Superman! In no time, I started running back in the ice to generate some heat in my feet to survive in that cold weather. Then, I realized that the amateurs they are referring to in the articles mentioned in my first paragraph was about people like me! Damn!

Tips:
1) You need a guide till the end of May as paths are not clear. From mid of June, you don't need a guide.
2) Take thermals and rain coat based on weather prediction. Wear hiking shoes and take enough food.
3) Reserve hotels/hostels early as there is limited accommodation in Odda.

You can find my travel experience through some adventurous pictures with description in the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/jayanth.suravarapu/media_set?set=a.10153874932332865.1073741861.597222864&type=3

1 comment:

kF said...

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