While sitting down for dinner out on the deck at the ski hostel we noticed a big hill in the distance and decided that we’d hike that the following day. We had no plans of going up for sunrise so we had a relaxed breakfast and made our way to the foot of the hill. At first we ended up at the funicular entrance and realised that if we walked from there it would be an extra hour or two so we drove to the proper place…or at least we tried to. We kind of missed the car park and drove a bit further than we should have, so we about turned and eventually ended up at the right car park. We confirmed that we were at the right place and set off for Gaustatoppen!
What we didn’t know at the time was that Gaustatoppen is the highest mountain in Telemark, Norway; and at the top you can see 1/6th of Norway! Needless to say, it took a bit longer to get to the top than we imagined. I made strategic use of stopping to take photographs to have quick rests. I would attempt to describe the views on the way up, but I think it’d be easier to just look at the photos 🙂 Near the base of Gaustatoppen you can see cabins by the lakes; they slowly became smaller and smaller the higher we went but the lakes seem to get bigger and bigger.
For just about the whole hike up you can see the NATO Radio Tower and we thought that was the summit of Gaustatoppen, we were wrong yet again. At the radio tower is a visitor cabin/cafe and you can have 360 degree views of Gaustatoppen. We stopped for lunch there as we were starving and needed energy, and maybe a bit of a rest. This was were we discovered that we hadn’t reach the summit, and that it was a further 1km to the summit and was rated as a challenging hike along the mountain ridge. My friend, who isn’t the best with heights or being near ledges, decided to stay at the visitor cabin while I ventured to the summit. After hiking all that way I couldn’t not go the extra kilometre to the summit.
I had to rely on my caving experience to navigate my way to the summit, there was no path and at times I might have lost sight of the route markers. I had to climb over boulders bigger than me, hop over to other boulders all the while not letting my camera smash into any of them! I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because a few people asked how I got to places I did. When I eventually got to the summit there was another guy there taking video and selfies so I let him get on with it while keeping out the way. When he was done I started taking photos and was startled when some old guy appeared out of no where. Turns out he was sitting behind the summit marker with his binoculars.
You really can see 1/6th of Norway from up there, it’s absolutely beautiful up there seeing all the other mountains and lakes. I could even see the area where the ski hostel was. It would be amazing to be up there for sunrise…I’ll have to save for another trip though.
On the way back to the base we decided to take the Funicular down as the thought of hiking another 4-5 hours back to the car wasn’t really appealing. It should have only taken an hour hike back to the car park from the base of the Funicular; however, lady luck was looking down on us again and a friendly Swede took pity on us and offered to drive us to the car park 🙂
The drive back to the ski hostel didn’t take long and I had time to get myself into the sauna before dinner. It was another clear night so I took some sunset photographs again. Didn’t fancy star trails or astrophotography though, I think I ended up in bed early for a good sleep.
As usual, photographs below and I’ll post a link to the slideshow when I’ve got it uploaded onto YouTube.