“Wouldn’t it be awesome to do this?” Andrew asked, waving an Instagram photo in front of my face.
I grabbed his phone so I could see the photo properly. My eyes widened, “Are you crazy? Do you want me to die?”
The photo was of Kjeragbolten.
What is Kjeragbolten? It is a medium sized boulder wedged in a crevasse of Kjerag mountain in Norway. The boulder is suspended in mid-air and recently has become a tourist hotspot where brave (or maybe stupid) visitors would climb onto the boulder and stand on top it!
I mainly had two concerns about doing this.
Firstly, what if you were the unlucky person who finally made the rock plummet to the earth? Since the boulder had been wedged in the crevasse for hundreds of years already, you could assume it was fairly stuck-in. But would you want to be the last person to ever stand on that rock?
Secondly, what if you slipped off? I did do an internet search for “Kjeragbolten deaths” and nothing come up. Nobody had died – yet. However, I still felt very apprehensive about the whole idea.
Our plan was to visit Kjeragbolten as part of our week long holiday in Norway during June. A few days before flying out to Norway, I found out a friend of mine had actually climbed on to the boulder.
“How did you get on it?” I asked her urgently, looking for some life-preserving advice.
“It was so nerve-wracking…I had to crawl on my hands and knees because I didn’t want to try to leap onto it and fall off!”
She showed me a video of her climbing onto the boulder. My palms felt sweaty and my knees felt weak watching the video – it was very clear that there was nothing to break your fall and it looked a very long way down…
After three days exploring Handangervidda National park, it was finally the day to visit Kjeragbolten. As we drove down the windy mountain road, I pushed away my nervous thoughts and ignored the butterflies in my stomach. I wondered whether the previous day’s rain would make the rock too slippery to climb – I hoped the weather stayed overcast and didn’t rain again! But before I got ahead of myself, there was still the hike to the boulder to overcome!
The hiking trail definitely had its challenges. Sometimes the trail was so steep, you had to pull yourself up using the chains hammered into the rock face. However, the hike was definitely possible for most ages as I saw some children and elderly people along the trail. The trail was easy to follow because it was marked by bright red T’s painted on rocks or you could just follow the steady stream of visitors.
As we drew closer to Kjeragbolten, the trail became slippery from snow and icy rocks. Did this snow and ice mean that the boulder would be too dangerous to climb and un-reachable? We continued hiking down the well-trodden path of slushy brown snow towards a small gaggle of people standing at the end of a cliff which acted as a viewing platform. Directly in front of them was Kjeragbolten.
Wanting to just get it over and done with, I volunteered to climb onto Kjeragbolten first. I joined a short line of other visitors waiting patiently for their turn to do something unforgettable and maybe a bit foolish. Even though the sun had appeared from behind the clouds and was shyly beaming down, I shivered slightly while waiting. The shivers were from a combination of my body cooling down after the hike and from the nervousness of what was to come. I didn’t allow myself to think about slipping or falling so as not to psyche myself out. There was actually a comradely atmosphere as Kjeragbolten conquerors would reassure and encourage the more anxious visitors still in line. I closely watched how other people climbed onto the rock but as far as I could tell, anything worked.
Next thing I knew, it was my turn…it was now or never! I took a deep breath in as I walked towards the ledge and wiped my clammy palms on my hiking trousers. Judging by the distance between the ledge and the boulder, there was no way I could easily step across and I definitely wasn’t taking a leap of faith…I was going to crawl! Lowering myself into a crouch, I leaned forward placing my palms on Kjeragbolten. Without thinking too much and just focusing on getting the rest of my body onto the rock (safely), I pushed off the ledge with my right foot and took one massive step forward onto the rock…and then did the same with my left foot.
I made it! My whole body trembling slighting, I turned to the “viewing platform” (without looking down) and waved to Andrew. As I slowly lowered myself down to sit on the rock, beaming and relieved, I felt like I had conquered something much bigger than the medium sized boulder I was on!
Now, to make it safely off the boulder!