Insider tips for your (first) trip - hiking in Norway

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Friluftsliv - A lifestyle in Norway

A country with such a spectacular landscape and such a unique nature is a paradise for all outdoor freaks, athletes, nature lovers and dropouts (on time). The Norwegians themselves are from childhood on and as no other people in Europe as often as possible on "tur" - on foot, by bike, by kayak and by boat. The "friluftsliv" in Norway is celebrated in "oppholdsvær" (official term for a weather that allows an outdoor stay) to old age.

So it is not surprising when you meet "Normenner" from the toddler to the sprightly elderly person in the most remote hut - all in a good mood and deeply relaxed, since you're on tour. A widespread saying in Norway: "Ut på tur, aldri sur" describes it aptly: "Outside on tour you are never angry". The recognition and acceptance among the locals then increases to the extent that you can enumerate your own completed tours and summits ....

It is therefore not surprising that the Norwegian Hiking Association DNT, with more than 245,000 members and about 490 managed huts, is one of Norway's largest organizations. The universal right enshrined in Norwegian law helps to move freely and in harmony with nature. So packed backpack and on it goes: "God tur"

On the mountain Fanaråken early in the morning for sunrise - what could be better 🙂

In the fjell

Before leaving for the "fjell" (mountains in norwegian), one thing has to be kept in mind in Norway as well: the partly rugged landscape and changeable weather always require a good preparation for each tour. In addition, in Norway, the responsibility of each individual is set for himself. Therefore, not every dangerous place is marked as such and not every explosive part of the road has a table with recommendations for behavior.

Nature is extremely spacious and often very original. Thus, one is in doubt for a long time on his own and in areas without any mobile phone reception on the way. We also had to cancel tours, because sudden blizzard or fog no longer allowed orientation. In other cases, we were very happy that even in good weather we started with extensive equipment and, above all, warm things in our backpack.

It is therefore advisable to observe the following rules of conduct for the Norwegian mountains and to take into account the specifics of Scandinavian nature.

Typical image of a rope team crossing a glacier or difficult mountain passages in community

The rules of conduct for Norwegian Fjell

The "Fjellvettreglene" are a classic in the eyes of many Norwegians. The Red Cross in Norway and the Norwegian Tourist Association have been publishing it for decades. Read a translation of this policy here:

1. Do not do long tours without previous training

You should be well trained if you go for a long trip in the mountains. Train out of the trail with your backpack and do some exercise even in bad weather and icy roads. Maybe you are collecting experiences there, which you will need for excursions in the mountains. The length of the tour should be adapted to your physical and mental condition, your experience and your equipment brought.

2. Tell where you are going

Many tourist accommodation, hotels and guesthouses have special boxes where you can write a note about your destination. This is not helpful for rescue teams. But the most important thing is to plan the tour so that you do not have to be saved by others.

3. Take the weather and weather reports seriously

An old rule says that one should always respect a bad weather forecast, but not necessarily rely on a good weather forecast. Regardless of the weather forecast, you should always be prepared for every possible weather. Remember that even a light breeze, together with sleet or cold, can lead to frostbite.

The weather forecast gives no detailed warnings about all local weather variations in the mountains. Therefore, also consider the adjacent areas and follow the developments of the weather very accurately.

4. Be prepared for short trips against bad weather and cold weather

Always bring a backpack and the necessary equipment. If you see a storm coming up, or if it gets cold, you should put on clothes for your own protection (at least one more comfortable windbreaker, long wind-resistant pants, windproof mitts, and a warm headgear.) It's important that you do it on time doing! Stand with your back against the wind and help the other when putting on the clothes. An emergency windbag * can be of great help.

5. Listen to people with experience

Experienced mountain people can often give you information about avalanche prone locations, inform about wind and snow conditions, and make suggestions for tours.

6. Use map and compass

Always have a map and a compass and learn to use them in good time. If you study the map and mark your route in color, you have already laid the foundation for a safe execution of your tour. Keep track of the tour on the map, even if the weather is fine and visibility clear, you'll always know where you are at the moment.

Read the map in advance and remember points that you could recognize. Trust your compass. Use a card holder tied around your neck or around your waist. A loose card can easily be blown away by the wind. Choose the direction through details in the landscape that can lead you to the goal. But be careful not to lose the direction you took from a known point.

7. Do not go alone

If you're traveling alone, nobody can help you spontaneously or tell the rescue team you're in trouble. That does not mean that you can feel safe when you are with him. You should avoid large groups, especially if the requirements of the participants are very different. A group is never stronger than the weakest link.

8. Turn back in time, there is no shame in going back

If you are not sure whether you will reach your destination due to bad weather or snow conditions, turn around and go back. Never try to defy the weather, others might risk their lives trying to save yours. If you change the tour, remember to let the hut know where to wait for you. If you set off on a tour in lively and changeable weather, move against the wind. In this way the return journey is easier.

9. Save your powers and dig yourself in, if necessary

Strong wind is very exhausting. Set your speed to the weakest member of the group and avoid sweating. If you go straight after each other, you should always make sure that the others come along. In bad weather it is difficult to hear that someone is calling. Eat and drink often. In exertion the body needs a lot of fluid.

You can easily spend a few hours in a snow cave. But do not wait to dig into the snow until you're exhausted. Instead, try to dig in if you have excess strength. An emergency windbag * can also be a good emergency protection.

* Emergency Windbag or Bivy Bag: a 2 x 2 meter rescue bag made of tent-like, wind- and partly water-impermeable material.

(Source: Homepage German Embassy Oslo / Norwegian Red Cross and DNT Oslo)

The right equipment is often all-important when traveling in Norway's Fiel.

The Norwegian Hiking Association DNT

In addition to all practical considerations, we are also out of conviction members in the DNT, because for us it is more than just a hiking club. The DNT stands for a functioning community, Scandinavian mentality and a special attitude to life.

Everyone, including all people outside Norway, is free to become a member and thus to enjoy a multitude of advantages: Among other things, one saves in a large number of huts and mountain hotels during the overnight stay, preference is given to allocating sleeping places in DNT huts and can get a key against deposit of a kind of bail, with which you can open and use, among other things, the "self-service" huts.

The 490 huts of the DNT are subdivided into non-serviced (a kind of emergency hut), self-service and operated / managed huts, which are distributed all over the country. In the self-service huts you can warm up, spend the night, prepare something to eat and fill up your backpack. For this you deposit an amount or a direct debit authorization in a steel cassette before moving on.

We often wonder if a similar system south of Norway would have a chance ....

A good overview of the huts, the official and marked by the DNT trails as well as various tour suggestions offers the great homepage: ut.no. If you are interested, you can become a member of the DNT directly via the homepage of DNT Oslo .

The "Red T" is the mark of the Norwegian hiking club. Many of these markers are created by volunteers and are also maintained by them.

På tur

When it starts, you're spoiled for choice: a day trip to one of the peaks with breathtaking panoramic views? Multi-day hut tour through the mountains? The plateaus or along the coast? Round trip in a region, one of the innumerable pilgrim ways and historical royal ways along? On foot, by bike or on the water ....?

Each variant has its own special appeal and a general recommendation is difficult. Those who count themselves to the Outdoor Champions League, the still quite exclusive and extremely attractive tour "Norge på >(We also want to be in this list sometime)

In general, it is recommended to go on tour in August and September, because at that time hardly any meltwater makes the tour more difficult. When late summer brings its first color to the fjell and the clear air allows for spectacular views, the best time to go on extended tours is actually.

The Norwegian ratings for tours

To better estimate the route, it is advisable to pay attention to the signs often given. From our experience, the Norwegians are obviously more experienced and generally somewhat optimistic: we have often needed more time on our tours and made the classification for us mentally as a level difficult. But that is certainly in the eye of the beholder ... ..

Here are the official ratings for the difficulty levels of the individual routes and routes:

ENKEL (GREEN) = Easy route, suitable for beginners, older people and families without special equipment. Mostly solid and well-honed paths without any special obstacles. Often flat terrain in the forest or on the coast. Maximum length 5 km and maximum height difference 300 meters.
MIDDELS (BLUE) = medium-range track for those with some off-road experience and mediocre training. The trails are sometimes stony and wet, hiking equipment is required, possibly steep and high altitude Wegstellen. 10 kilometers is the maximum length and height differences of up to 600 meters are possible. But no further aids or special equipment are needed
CREVENDE (RED) = Demanding tours that require experience in the field, training and knowledge in orientation (map and compass). Likewise, a good equipment including mountain boots is necessary. The paths can be partially overcome only with technical aids. The tracks are up to 20 kilometers long and overcome height differences up to 1000 meters
EKSPERT (BLACK) = As the name implies: Practice, experience and perfect equipment are absolute requirements. The paths are not limited in terms of length and height to be overcome. Most steep summit tours - also on glaciers - which often require appropriate aids and physical condition, as well as a head for heights

Can I really camp anywhere in Norway? Read on the next page everything about the Everyman (Allemannsretten) in Norway. This regulation applies in a similar way also to the remaining countries in Scandinavia, with the exception of Denmark.

We wish you a good tour anytime and always !! Maybe you see yourself - like on one of our recommended tours here in the blog ....

Conny and Sirko

"Yes, we love this country ..." - that's the beginning of the Norwegian national anthem, and yes, we too - Conny Sirko - love this country, its inhabitants, the magnificent scenery, the peace and tranquility that we enjoy there and throughout Scandinavia Find. We've been touring the North more than 20 times - at different times, in many regions and in all variations. The idea for this homepage came to us last year, because then we have the opportunity to write the permanent wanderlust to the north of the soul and hopefully inspire you for it. So: heading north!

2 comments

  • I like reading your posts. Again, a really good post with very helpful tips. I was just a week ago in Hardangervidda National Park on the road and had to stop because of very thick fog the tour. I can confirm that it is certainly not a failure to say no and stop a tour. In addition, I was able to persuade a young hiker, whom I met, to come back with me and not to get lost in the fog.

    • Thank you very much Stefan ... 🙂 We think that you can not warn enough times before, just spontaneously and unceremoniously break into the mountains of Scandinavia. As you describe it, the weather can change dramatically in a very short time and bring extreme conditions. You should either prepare for it or at least expect it.

      Best regards,

      Conny and Sirko

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