Okay so get your bucket list out now because this Via Ferrata adventure in Loen, Norway is worthy of one of the top spots.
That is, if you love nature exhausting every inch of your body in the best way possible with views over the Norweigan Fjords.
That is also, if you don’t mind heights…
I wouldn’t usually isolate one experience in a blog post (usually they are tucked within my travel guides) however this Via Ferrata really did deserve a blog post of it’s own.
What is a Via Ferrata?
The name Via Ferrata comes from Italy, where they built an “iron road” in the mountains during the first world war. The essence of a modern via ferrata is a steel cable which runs along the route and is periodically (every 3 to 10 metres (9.8 to 33 ft)) fixed to the rock. As you climb you secure yourself (in your harness) to the cable, limiting any fall.
Remember when I did this epic one in the Swiss Alps?
Minimum age: 12 Price: NOK 1345 (adult)
This Via Ferrata experience was just over 7 hours all in. If you look down at the view in these pictures you’ll see just how far we hiked and climbed to reach the 1010m peak of Hoven, Loen. Yup, we started right at the bottom, by the lake.
It was intense to say the least.
My mum and I both both completed it (not everyone made it past the practise), but we definitely found parts challenging. There were moments that tested both of our upper body strengths. I would definitely say that a good physical strength is necessary if you’re looking to do this Via Ferrata experience.
During the 7 hours we spent on the mountain, we experienced all the seasons of weather. We had sunshine, hail, rain, cloud, fog and snow. I would definitely recommend layering up and wearing a waterproof top layer.
We begun the experience by walking from the Loen Active adventure centre to the base of Mt.Hoven where we then begun a pretty steep walking trail. We crossed paths, through forest walkways and over loose rubbled paths. I reckon we were hiking for about an hour to start with and then we had little hikes later on to connect the steel route.
After the first section of hiking was done, there was a small section of Via Ferrata where we got to practise our technique and the guides could oversee our abilities and judge how capable we were of continuing. It was a great opportunity to get your confidence before heading onto the main climb.
It’s important to note that once you’ve started climbing you can’t just turn around. You are clipped in for safety and if you’re doing the Via Ferrata in a group, everyone would have to come down with you which, as you can imagine, is a nightmare and very unsafe. You should never cross over or pass people on a Via Ferrata.
Don’t panic though, the small practise section is designed to give you a taster after which you can decide if you want to continue or not.
If you decide to take on the challenge… This is where the fun begins!
You can see the route of the Via Ferrata Loen below. We took the Via Ferrata Loen route but there’s also a black route which you can arrange to do if you’re an experienced climber. Our route included a whole lot of vertical climbing, the Gjølmunne suspension bridge (longest via ferrata bridge in Europe, 120 m long), Gjølmunne wirebridge (36m long) and a snowy finish. There are places to find relief, to stop and enjoy water / snacks along the way. It’s not continually vertical and physical!
Once you’ve made it to the top of Mt. Hoven it’s time for the most deserved hot chocolate and cinnamon bun you’ve ever had grace your lips.
We enjoyed ours as we looked down from Loen Skylift at the epic terrain we just completed. We were absolutely exhausted and had completely emptied our tanks but it was the most exhilarating feeling. You feel so accomplished by the end of it and then can enjoy the 5 minute gondola ride back down to the base.
If you’re keen to give it a go, I cannot recommend Loen Active enough for making us feel safe and providing such a challenging but insane adventure. One I know mum and I will treasure for years to come.
Where did you do it? I’d love to know!?
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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