Step 1: Be smart about timing.
If you're considering attempting Trolltunga in any month besides June, July, August, or September, I highly HIGHLY advise you to reconsider. I went in September and it was already incredibly cold and icy, so my friends and I suffered some gnarly falls. The Norwegians do not believe in "closing" nature, so you can technically attempt it whenever you want, but you will probably regret this. Just trust me. Supposedly the weather is quite nice in the summer, and anyway, clearer skies = better views of the rock and the fjord! Think about it.
Step 2: Be prepared.
I knew this hike would be hard, and as much as I would love to be, I'm not exactly an avid hiker. I have been on many hikes, but I am no professional, and I also eat a lot of cheetos. Anyway, like I was saying, I knew it would be a tough one. But I had no idea HOW tough. Do NOT underestimate this hike. I live on the fourth floor of my building. I walked up the stairs every time I went to my room for a month instead of taking the elevator, because I thought the extra boost of exercise would "get me into shape". This was a gigantic joke once I started actually climbing. Seriously, you should train! I don't want to scare you out of this hike. Anyone can do it, but the more prepared you are, the better your experience will be.
Step 3: Pack well.
This is a long hike, so I suggest bringing some nutritious snacks to keep you going throughout the day. You'll want to keep your pack light, however, so pre-make the meals, and avoid heavy foods. Dried mangoes were the perfect energy boost. Also, bring as much water as you can bear to carry. You'll want it. Waterproof shoes that you're 100% sure will not give you blisters are necessary (you will still probably get blisters), and a First Aid kit would be super ideal, because tiny trips and scrapes are not unusual. Dress in layers as you will get cold on breaks and be sweating while moving.
Step 4: Know your limits.
The first Kilometer of this hike (out of 22 total!!!) is grueling. Every bit of you will want to turn around and go back. Keep going, but don't be afraid to stop and take breaks. It is certainly not a race to the top, and breather breaks (and amazing views!!!) will keep you sane.
Step 5: Find a place to stay
The best option as far as lodging is probably to stay in Odda, Norway. It's the closest village to the base of the hike (Tyssedal) and also is a cute little place to see anyway.
Step 5: Figure out transportation
We drove from the Oslo Airport. This was about a 10 hour drive, but was kinda nice, because we got to see so much of Norway. I highly recommend this method. It goes by pretty fast, and the scenery was gorgeous.
Ok, so here's the lowdown on the hike:
- Some guides will tell you about a funicular that is closed down, but that you can use to climb to Trolltunga. Don't do that. It's a bad idea. It's incredibly steep, and even more dangerous. They closed it for a reason.
- Use the marked trail and leave EARLY EARLY EARLY. You should be starting this hike as the sun is coming up. This is the only way to ensure that you'll have sunlight on your way down, which you will DEFINITELY need, just to not fall on the crazy rocks.
- The first kilometer is a staircase. Straight up, boys and girls. One kilometer is not very far. Your legs and lungs will say otherwise. Don't fret though, it evens out a little.
- Most things online say the hike is 22 km. This is supposed to be around 13-14 miles. The problem with this calculation is that it is "as the bird flies" but doesn't account for the going up and down hills. With the ups and downs, our iPhone said it was more like 19.5 miles. Know what you're in for!
- Pay attention to the signs that say "If you're not here by 12:00, turn back" (for example) because it's really dangerous to ignore them.
- The trail is super super muddy. Like sometimes a puddle can engulf your whole leg. Try to embrace it and wear proper footwear.
- Don't underestimate the way down. You will be so excited to go downhill until you realize that it's actually way worse. Again, take your time, and bring some Advil for your knees.
- Charge your camera batteries. You will hate yourself if you can't get some photos. The views are incredible.
- HAVE FUN! This is and always will be one of the coolest things I've ever done. Stop and smell the roses a little on your way, even when your knees are buckling and you can't breathe. You will survive and have a pretty cool story to tell.