Finally serving Jan his birthday gift
Friday: It was time to deliver our birthday present for Jan’s 60th birthday – a guided trip up the Via Ferrata in Loen. Norway’s most developed Via Ferrata system. The present was given one year late, but those who wait for something good, does not wait in vain…
Anne would keep Jan’s girlfriend Anne-May company and look after Karma while Jan and I climbed up “the ladder”. They would then take gondola up and meet us on top of Hoven.
I wanted to start out early to avoid the crowds. As far as I knew, the guided tours began at 9am. Heading out 8am, I was pretty sure we were in the clear.
As we were to embark on the forest trail, there was a sign – “reserved for guided tours”. What the heck was that? I had been up here a number of times, and as long as one pay a fair fee (which I always do) for using the route, it’s OK to go on a private trip. So, this sign confused me and THEN I heard voices below us. A guided group was on their way up.
As I wasn’t in control of the situation, I said to Jan. Let’s just hurry up and avoid any potential discussion with the guide.
And so, we hurried up. After a good hike, we reached the area where the Ferrata begins. It is tempting to just walk up the first slabs, but out of respect to the route, we buckled up and used our kit.
It soon got steeper…
Jan clearly enjoyed this. Being a farmer, he’s as strong as they come. My “office arms” will only go so far, but I have never had any issues on this route.
The more I climb the normal route, the easier it gets as my footwork gets better every time. The last couple of times, it was hardly fun. But today, I would try something new…
The part up to the bridge is just easy fun. Those with a vague tolerance of heights would probably not agree to that, but technically it’s easy.
On that note – you probably shouldn’t be here if you’re scared of heights. This is the type of route where you just don’t turn around.
But if you’re OK with the heights, you will for sure enjoy the tremendous view towards the Loen – Olden region.
It’s an epic climb for sure. Forget what I said earlier about “hardly fun”. It’s fun every time!
Then we got to the point where the C (normal route) and D route forks. Here, you will also find an entry point to the “Ragnarok” route after a short hike. A word of advice – don’t even consider Ragnarok until you find the D route a “breeze”. I haven’t done “Ragnarok” myself and probably never will.
As I hadn’t done the D route before, this was clearly where we had to go. This route is steep all the way up and taking pictures is not the first thing on your mind.
Near the top of the route, there was a small overhang and I found that I had a small problem. There was no juice left in my arms. The reason for this was quite obvious. We had pushed it so hard that I skipped the technique. I just pulled myself up all the way. I noticed there was an exit point just below the overhang, but the hell if I would bail out now. I shook my arms (climbers’ style) and gathered enough strength to pull myself up.
Jan thought this was just plain fun…
Then we got to the bridge – Gjølmunnebrua (760m elevation) which looks intimidating.
Being on it is worse than looking at it! I’ve been across so many times that it doesn’t freak me out anymore, but Jan said afterwards that the bridge was the worst part. It’s hard to “get in sync” with the bridge, and so you have forces that you don’t control, working against you.
But then we were over and could enjoy a nice break at the platform.
The route onwards begins with a small overhang, where technique is important unless you want you want to present yourself in the worst possible way. Nothing difficult, though.
A bit higher up was another relatively new feature – “the wire”. Of course, Jan wanted to try it out. I was not so sure. My self esteem had hit a bump and I decided to just be the photographer. I do have the intention to do it one day. All by myself, using the Ferrata as an ascent route to Staurinibba.
Shortly after, the Ferrata route came to an end and our better halves were waiting for us. Plus Anne.
(Nah, that was a joke. Sorry, Anne…)
We then sat course for Skredfjellet, along a most excellent path. It’s hard to describe the effort that has been put into the whole Hoven complex, so I suggest you just come here and see for yourself.
I had not been to Skredfjellet before (and nor had the others), so this was a bonus for me at least…
The view isn’t half bad from up here…
We then returned to the Hoven restaurant and enjoyed lunch. No, it wasn’t cheap…
After lunch, we purchased tickets for the gondola and sat course back to Hoven.
Then we drove to Sande camping by lake Lovatnet and settled in for the evening.
Hoven offered some pretty nice views, but this camping wasn’t too bad either…
I don’t like being at camping grounds, but I was OK with making an exception here.
At least, I was happy that Jan was very happy with his birthday gift…
I would also like to post this link to our 2016 climb with Lars & Cathrine, in memory of Cathrine who had to give in to cancer. You’ll always be in our hearts!
Trip statistics: 7,5km, 1245 vertical meters, 5 hours
Pictures (Canon EOS RP)