IF YOU’VE EVER seen a picture of the Troll’s Tongue (and if you haven’t, just scroll down), you know the feeling you get looking at some random person, perched on a tiny piece of granite 2,000 feet above the valley floor, their feet dangling over the edge. Your heartbeat picks up, hands get a little sweaty, and you start thinking to yourself: “That is absolutely insane.”
I can tell you firsthand that the feeling of looking over the ledge in real life isn’t much different. The trip up was nothing like what I expected either, so I thought I’d bring you along, and show you what it’s like to hike up and stand on the edge of Trolltunga, also known as the Troll’s Tongue.
Protruding straight out the side of a mountain, the Trolltunga or Troll's Tongue literally "hangs" some 2,000 feet above the Ringedalsvatnet, close to the towns of Tyssedal and Odda in the Hardangerfjord. There's no way to drive up here—you've got to get up the old-fashioned way, with your own two feet. There are a couple routes up, including one that combines both biking and climbing on a via ferrata. It's an exhilarating experience and one which, as you'll see here, produces one hell of a photo-op.
I hiked up to the Troll's Tongue with a group of fellow adventure enthusiasts. We started off with a beautiful 7km bike ride along the edge of Ringedalsvatnet lake until we reached the starting point of our ascent.
The water flowing down from the top is pure glacial bliss. Any time we needed a little refresher, all you had to do was drink directly from the source, as Jostein from Opplev Odda is doing here.
The higher we went, the steeper it got. If you look at the image on the right, the Troll's Tongue is just out of view at the very top of the right side of the image—that's the route we climbed.
Eventually it was time to take on the via ferrata, which means "iron way" in Italian. It's a technique developed by the Italians to climb through the Dolomites. Iron rebar is drilled into the side of the mountain and you follow the ladder straight on up.
And I literally mean...straight on up.
As you could guess, a trip to the Troll's Tongue is not for someone with a fear of heights. The via ferrata requires you to climb straight up the side of a mountain—sometimes the angle of the pitch was so steep it felt inverted.
A happy fellow hiker, stoked that he's nearly to the top.
A little breather once we made it past the via ferrata. All that was left was a small hike around the corner to see what we'd come this far for.
Work of the glaciers
Breaking along the final leg to admire the beauty left behind by the glaciers as they retreated thousands of years before.
The Troll's Tongue
If you're going to hike to the top, you've got to get a photo of yourself, right? I took a stroll out to the ledge for a view down. Yeah, my hands were sweating and the blood was flowing…but what a view, an image I can still see when I close my eyes.
Striking a pose
People come up with some crazy ideas for different poses when they're up there—let's face it, you gotta make that hike worthwhile on social media.
Since graduating from San Diego State University, Scott has dedicated 3 months a year to travel and photographing the world's unique cultures. While not on the road, you can visit Scott every summer at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. You can also view his travel photography at ScottSporleder.com.