The mountains surrounding these fjords count as some of the most dramatic in Norway. From the fjord, they rise up to 1800m high, creating some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Therefore several hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the region every year. Luckily these mountains provide and easy escape from the crowds and in addition they offer some of the best views over the fjord landscape. This turns them into a perfect training ground to gain extra muscle before heading to New Zealand.
The steepness and altitude differences on these mountain trails are not to be underestimated. It is a minimum climb of 600m to get up anywhere and the steepness grade can go up to 30%, equal to a one meter elevation gain for every three meters walked. During the past months we’ve been enjoying ourselves exploring these lonely peaks, walking a total of 17km with an elevation difference of 4300m. There are still many to be conquered, and as we have officially declared September to become die-hard training month the list is to be continued.
Prest is my personal favourite mountain along the Aurlandsfjord. Seen from Flåm it makes the entire scenery look like an unreal painting. It’s front is cut by steep and narrow river valleys, given the mountain a cracked appearance. Its peak lies at over 1400 meters, but the prettiest point is to be found at the viewpoint at 1363 for some exclusive images of the fjord and the sunset.
The trail to get to the top starts from a car park on the old road to Lærdal beyond the Stegastein viewpoint. It is an approximate 600m climb to the top from there. There are three plateaus on the way, of which the lower one is the most scenic. From the top you can look down into the Flåm valley and into Aurlandsdalen. It’s a two to three hour return trip, make it four to enjoy some chocolate on the top.
Rimstigen is an old road that was used by farmers living along the Nærøyfjord before there were such things as boats and tunnels. It was the only connection the farmers had to Voss and Bergen, and the only way to get there was over the mountains. Rimstigen is the steepest trail in the area with a climb of 750 meter in just over 2km of trail. This is a climb of 1 in 3, and the three goes straight up all the way from the bottom to the top. On the way you get some wonderful views over the UNESCO Nærøyfjord.
When we were out on the track it was too early to continue all the way to the top of Rimstigsfjellet at 1200m. Snow still covered the track over 750m and there with many indicators for avalanche danger we decided to call it a day. But honestly, these 750m up are so exhausting that I was not too sad about it.
Fun fact: every year, a running race is held on the track (it’s a thing in Norway, sprinting up steep mountain trails). The record time stands at just under 30 minutes.
The steep walls of Leimsnosi and Voldenosi on the waterfront make you wonder if it is even possible to get on top of these mountains. From the old settlement Skjerdal a trail leads past Leimstølen, a cosi generation old farm where they produce local goat cheese, up to a saddle and further upwards over the rim of the mountain.
The farm is a really nice feature on this walk. It is a perfect stopover on the way up or down to taste some delicious and locally produced food. Plus, you can meet the goats and learn all about goat cheese production.
It is a steep 800m climb to the top over a scenic path leading through a beautiful forest. From the saddle you get a view over another remote part of the farm: the summer cabins and summer grazing grounds. The top of the mountain offers a great view over the fjord and the surrounding mountains, including the regions highest point Blåskavlen.