Imagine you do a two hours inland hike in trackless terrain on steep stones, through marshland, over open spaces of solid granite and suddenly you find your self one meter from an unprotected vertical drop of over 600 meters – how would you react?
I know how I react, as this is exactly what we just tried on our hike to the Pulpit Rock in Norway. I admit that my heart pumped a little faster and I gasped a little for my breath, as this is – well I think the right expression must be breathtaking. Also my legs got a little jelly, as the last hundred meters to the actual plateau is very very close to the edge.
Getting to the top we sat down as far from the edge as possible to calm down, while we watched the scenery from people doing all kind of crazy things on the 25 by 25 meter plateau 600 meter above Lysefjorden.
The Pulpit Rock is located in Ryfylke which is a district close to Stavanger on the west coast of southern Norway.
Our visit to the rock was part of me and the wife’s first of hopefully many trips to the nature of Norway. We went by car and stayed in a hotel in Stavanger, from where it is very easy to get to the parking space at the start of the official hiking route. It is possible to either take a ferry directly from Stavanger to Tau or, as we did, drive all the way southward to Lauvvik, from where we took a ferry to Oanes.
The ferris in the norwegian archipelago is sailing non stop and are relatively cheap. From Stavanger to Tau is 40 minutes, from Lauvvik to Oanes it is only 5 minutes.
If you do not have a car it is still fairly easy to go. From Stavanger you take a ferry to Tau where you catch a bus, or you go on a Lysefjord tourist cruise boat, and get of at Oanes where a bus is waiting for you. Later on they will pick you up again.
Well arrived at the Pulpit Rock we entered the parking which costed 100 NOK, and for that amount we could stay for as long as we needed. Paying was done on departure in a machine that takes all kinds of credit cards.
Out of the car we prepared for the long hike and we were clearly underdressed in jeans, skirts and sneakers – it was my wife in the skirt – and around us people was dressing up in hiking gear, cool boots and big filled backpacks. In our back pack we had a handful of almonds, two Kit Kats and half a liter of water.
A little anxious because our lack in equipment we started our journey to the top. From the parking area we entered the tunnel that led us to a pathway of grovel. “Piece of cake” I managed to think, but after 10 meters it got steeper and steeper and after 50 meters I had to stop talking – at least until I catched my breath again.
After a short walk on the steep grovel pathway we had to climb a hill-side covered with big coarse pieces of granite, laid out in a stair like way. Still relatively easy but it goes on for a long time and I began to realize that I could get tired before we reached the top.
After this a flat area of solid granite, then some more granite covered ground, then a wooden bridge over a flat marsh land, yet another hill-side with a stair like granite covering. The surfaces kept changing, but most of the time we were climbing steep hill sides layered with granite stones, until we reached a big open plain with solid rock ground. This is the area that ends at the mountain edge and a 600 meter vertical drop.
After hiking for more than one and a half hours in safe areas, the moment we discovered the edge and the view of mountains surrounding the Lysefjord was literally breathtaking. At this moment you realize how your body and brain responds to being close to unprotected heights, and I found out that mine responded alright but not to an extend where I could sit with my legs dangling over the edge, like some people did.
From the point where we reached the edge there was about a hundred meters going along a narrow path to the actual Pulpit Rock plateau. You are literally walking on the edge and that is where my legs got a little shaky. The Plateau is 25 by 25 meters and as mentioned before we sat down far from the edge for a while, to kind of digest the impressions, while we observed people doing crazy things. A couple of women sat with their legs dangling over the edge and a young guy stood on one leg on the out most edge. We have kids back home in Denmark why we were content to do a selfie a couple of meters from the edge.
We spend a small hour taking pictures and watching the view and the people on the plateau, before we decided to start our walk down. We followed the marked route down, but supposedly there should be some alternative routes. After a good four hours we were back at the car with tired legs but in good shape. It is not a difficult hike but it is long and tiresome and you need to be able to walk and climb for a long time. Good footwear is advisable as I got tired under my feets after the many steps on sharp and pointy granite rocks and my jumpers knee really hurt at the end, but it was all worth it.