Some of the best plans are made drunk at parties. Accordingly, when I was chatting with my friend Benoit at this year’s Syttende mai party, we ended up making plans to hike the Besseggen ridge in Jotunheimen overa weekend. Ridges are probably some of my favourite kind of trail to hike because I really, really love to scramble, even though they often also terrify me at the same time. The only problem with Besseggen is that it’s a relatively popular hike, so if you’re unlucky, it can get a little crowded. Spoiler: We got lucky.
We drove up to Gjendesheim right after work on Friday with the intention to camp somewhere relatively close to the ferry, since we’d booked spots to get on the first one to get all the way to the other end at Gjendebu from where we’d start the hike. I’d mentioned to Benoit that I’d be sleeping in my hammock, and so he turned up to the trip with a brand new hammock himself!
Turns out that it is possible to own a single person sleeping pad that is so wide that it doesn’t fit into a hammock. I know this now, because cozily tucked away into my own hammock I got to watch Benoit wrestle his sleeping pad and hammock for almost an hour. And while in the end it seemed like he finally got the upper hand and could go to sleep, I heard some cursing late in the middle of the night. Benoit’s pad had popped out of the hammock again and so he called it a day and just slept on the ground. Luckily he still had his tent in the car and went to swap shelter in the morning.
After the boat ride it was time to start the hike! We’d take the long route (18 km) to Memurubu today and planned to find a camp somewhere down there a little out from the cabin.
This hike is so picturesque that I will just let my photos do the rest of the talking:
At Memurubu we had to discover that the cabin owns all the land at lake level, so we ended up not being able to wild camp and having to pay for their “campsite” boo. At least they had plenty of grade A trees for my hammock.
The next day we would get to hike the famous ridge. Because it’s a long hike and we also still needed to drive 3.5 hours back to Oslo we decided to start hiking at 7am, before most people at the campsite or cabin even got up. Again, I’ll let some photos do most of the talking:
I have to say that I actually thought the previous day’s hike was quite a bit nicer than the actual Besseggen hike. A few years ago I hiked Crib Goch (knife edge) in Wales and nomen absolutely est omen there: The ridge is exremely narrow with a 600 m drop on either side, and it’s a technical scramble all the way. I was hoping for something similar here, especially when we actually started scrambling at the foot of the ridge. However, it did not take long to reach the top and once there the terrain became very flat and wide and the rest of the hike was very easy. But the views were spectacular all the way nonetheless. We finished the descent back to Gjendesheim at around 2 pm, so we even managed to get back to Oslo at a reasonable hour.