This route never gets boring…
My 6th trip up this ferrata was together my girlfriend Anne and our friends Cathrine and Lars. This trip – along with a ski-trip the next day, in addition to a weekend stay at Melkevoll Bretun in Oldedalen was my gift to Lars – for his 50th birthday. This ferrata route is one of the main outdoor attractions in this region of Norway.
Neither Cathrine nor Lars had done a ferrata route before, and I was a bit curious as to how they would experience the route. Lars does not seem to have a fear of anything, but I reckoned that Cathrine would “be mindful” about the exposure but nevertheless climb well. And my “hunch” turned out to be correct. The climb is summarized on this video clip:
After breakfast, we drove from Oldedalen to Loen, left one car at Oppheim and drove back to Loen where we started out. Karma had to spend a few hours in the car, but we parked my car in Hotel Alexandra’s garage, which was cool.
The first 400 meters of ascent runs along a steep service road and a forest path. For many, this is the hardest part of the entire route. Once the climb begins, the pace drops and the real fun begins.
We had a private group of 14 on our tail. They already had their climbing gear on, so I didn’t have much hope that we would ready to climb before them. Normally, I give my “clients” an introduction before the climb begins, but when I noticed a slight chance that we could get ahead, we got our gear on in record time and I told Cathrine and Lars to just start climbing…
The difficulty of this route is gradually progressing. By the time we reached the tougher sections, Cathrine and Lars were properly “warmed up”. I could see that Cathrine was focusing on the “task at hand” and had to put any worries about exposure aside. That worked quite well for her. Lars seemed to be ready for a harder route, and when we got to the new route (difficulty grade “E”) he wanted to take this route. Anne decided to go with him. She has done the ferrata route 5 times, but never done the “E” route. It was then natural that I stayed with Cathrine on the “D” route.
When we met again below the Gjølmunnebrua bridge, Anne and Lars could report that the “E” route had a couple of really serious points. Can’t wait to do this route myself. It will be on a solo-trip one of these days…
Next, we went up to the bridge – 120 meters long – crossed it and returned for a lunch break. The bridge was swaying more now than on my previous trips and I’m not crazy about this bridge crossing. Probably because I have to rely on wires opposed to my hands. But it’s OK. I don’t have any problems with this bridge.
It was already decided that we should proceed up the left side of the gorge, hence the crossing of the bridge and the return. The route up the other side of the gorge isn’t as fun as the original route and it seemed that there was more snow on that side.
So after a lunch break, we started the final climb. This sections is almost always wet, but that doesn’t really make the climb much harder.
The ferrata route ends at approx. 880 meters, leaving us with a 120 vertical meter ascent up to Hoven. The construction of the new mountain road has come so far that we joined this route just below Hoven. They’re building a gondola and a restaurant on top. The final result will be simply spectacular!
Less fun is the long walk back to Oppheim. Because of the snow, we had to stick with the new mountain road for 3,7km until we joined the path between Oppheim and Oppheimsætra.
We returned to Oppheim close to 5 hours after leaving Loen. There was a happy dog waiting in my car when we returned to Loen!
Pictures from the trip: