Days on Trails

Norwegian Giants - Jotunheimen

Trekking through the valleys and passes that link Norway’s highest mountains, a spectacular landscape of glaciers, Arctic wildlife spotted with lakes.

Quick overview

What?
  • Spend a week trekking through the valleys and passes that link Norway’s highest mountains, a spectacular landscape of glaciers, Arctic wildlife and spotted with lakes.
  • Get the chance to summit Norway’s highest peak, Galdhøppigen, also the highest mountain in northern Europe!
  • Experience Norway’s most popular walk, the traverse of the Besseggen Ridge.
  • Stay in remote mountain huts and have all your food provided, allowing you to relax and enjoy the brilliant Scandinavian outdoors culture.
  • Admire a landscape where the Ice Age still remains, where trees cling to rocks, berries feed mountain birds, and freezing rivers gush down from ice fields above.

Join us on a trek in a truly incredible place, the national park that contains the highest mountains in Norway, and therefore in all Scandinavia. Led by International Mountain Leaders, we’ll head out for a week into this landscape, trekking from hut to hut on a large circular tour where we will also get the opportunity to climb Norway’s highest peak, the mighty Galdhøppigen.

Jotunheimen is named after the Jotuns, giants in Norse mythology, and you’ll certainly feel in their presence here. Glaciers still cling to the high mountain valleys, and 2000m+ peaks sour into the sky. The great valleys that split the peaks apart are where our trail goes, often past immense boulderfields, and witnessing the incredible ability of nature to survive in such a landscape.

When?

2020: July 18 – July 26

Date doesn’t work for you? Just contact us! As with all our programs, this trip can be offered on custom dates and the itinerary can be tailored to your needs. 

Departure is guaranteed at 6 participants. To keep the group small enough to ensure a quality experience, we have a maximum number of 12 participants. 

Don’t wait too long to sign up! 6 Participants is easily reached and as soon as departure is guaranteed, we’ll let you know so you can still book cheap tickets well before departure! Last minute flights/trains are always more expensive.

Pricing

EUR 1650 / CAD 2450 / USD 1850

Book your trip!

To book, simply email us your interest (info@daysontrails.com) and we will respond with detailed information.

Feel free to mail/call us with any questions you might have!

What’s Included
  • UIMLA International Mountain Leader and Wilderness First Responder who is with you for the full week, providing all decision-making, navigation and environmental knowledge.
  • Accommodation in mountain huts.
  • All meals, starting in the evening on Day 1 and finishing with breakfast on day 9. This includes all breakfasts and three-course evening meals at mountain huts, and packed lunches.
  • Transport from Oslo airport to Jotunheimen and back again.
  • Support from the Days on Trails office team in the build up to the trek.
What’s not Included
  • Extra food or alcoholic drinks in the accommodation (bring some extra snacks you know you like to eat).
  • Personal walking equipment (please see kit list).
  • Transport to/from Oslo (advice and booking possible through our agent. Simply contact us.)

Details and frequently asked questions

Note: Ground conditions, weather & group factors may lead to changes in the program by the guide(s). The goal is always to offer the best possible experience, but safety & wellbeing are always the priority and basis of all decisions made.

Day 1 – Arrive

Your leader will meet you at Oslo airport around midday (time to be set in accordance with the group), and from here we’ll head into the city and catch the train north to Otta, where we get another connection to Bessheim, right on the edge of the national park.

Travel today lasts around 5 hours, so bring snacks! At the best opportunity we’ll have a briefing about the next week’s adventure.

Day 2 – Bessheim to Memurubu (9 miles / 15km and 1040m of ascent)

A truly incredible start, we’ll head out from Bessheim to walk Norway’s most popular walk, the Besseggen Ridge. We start by heading up to the summit of Veslfjellet (1743m), where we get our first view along the lake Gjende. From the summit we head down the easy scramble of the Besseggen ridge, where famously on one side you can see the lake Bessvatnet, and on the other Gjende, 300 metres below. Beyond the ridge we continue along the low hills above the lake to Memurubu hut.

Day 3 – Memurubu to Gjendebu (6 miles / 10km and 560m of ascent)

An easy day, we continue following Gjende to the end, where the hut at Gjendebu is perched. We’ll be above the lake for most of the day, in the hilly landscape around Memurutunga, where we can admire the many upland pools. On arriving at Gjendbu, if it’s early, you have the choice whether to join us on an ascent of Gjendetunga (1516m), a 500 metre climb, for a stunning view back up the lake.

Day 4 – Gjendebu to Leirvassbu (11 miles / 18km and 520m of ascent)

Leaving the shores of Gjende we strike out into the heart of the national park, hiking up Storådalen and passing the twin lakes near the head of the pass. On arriving at Langvatnet, we get a view of the tremendous peaks around Smørstabbtinden before descending to Leirvassbu.

Day 5 – Leirvassbu to Spiterstulen (9.5 miles / 15km and 100m of ascent)

Today we enter the valley of Visdalen, where you really get the impression that the giants have come out to watch your progress. Monumental peaks like both sides of the valley as we follow the river down to Spiterstulen, the starting point for hikes up the two highest mountains in Norway.

Day 6 – Ascent of Galdhøppigen (7 miles / 11km and 1350m of ascent)

A big day! The ascent starts from Spiterstulen, where we follow the path west, getting ever higher up the boulder-strewn slopes of Svellnose. Reaching the ridge, the summit of Galdhøppigen (2469m) lies ahead, and we’ll be walking right alongside the glaciers, which drop into the valleys below. After reaching the summit and celebrating being the highest people in northern Europe, we descend the same way.

Day 7 – Spiterstulen to Glitterheim (9 miles / 15km and 550m or 1350m of ascent)

After the mountain of the day before you may want a bit of a rest today, so we have a choice. After leaving Visdalen with a rising traverse up to the open mountain landscape around Skautflye, we can either follow the valley over the pass at Veslglupen before dropping into Glitterheim, or we can approach it via Norway’s second highest mountain, Glittertinden (2460m). We can decide the day before depending on the weather!

Day 8 – Glitterheim to Bessheim (11.5 / 19km miles and 560m of ascent)

Our final day of walking, we begin by crossing the river Veo before hiking up the Hestbekken and heading down to follow the lake of Russvatnet, with the ever-present mountain of Nautgardstinden watching over us. Before you know it we’ll be back at the Bessa, and descending to Bessheim. Time for a celebration!

Day 9 – Depart

This morning we depart Jotunheimen for Oslo. As the travel can take all day, we only recommend booking a flight at 19:00 or later. For peace of mind you can add on another hotel booking and fly out the next day.

This week varies from straightforward days along rolling Nordic terrain, to serious mountain days in the high peaks. Mostly however, it’s straightforward and not steep, and we walk in the valleys as opposed to on exposed ridges. The Besseggen ridge on the first day does require care, but your leader can help you with that! As you will see in the itinerary, the daily distances aren’t huge – this is due to the location of the huts, and because the terrain can be quite rocky, it takes longer to cover such distances than you might be used to. Because of this, stamina and an appreciation for a truly wild post-glacial landscape are more important than being super-fit!

Although quite remote, all of the huts have some sort of connection to the outside world, whether this is a dirt road that a taxi can get up, or a lake where there are boats. If you decide to leave the trek we can give you advice and help you organise this transport back to Oslo, but it would be at your own expense. Dropping out during a day walk or missing out a day is not an option as there is no other way of reaching the next hut other than walking (or a very expensive taxi).

Please see our hut based kit list here. As all food is provided and the accommodation is well stocked, you will not need much more than a day bag.

Please remember that there is no baggage transported for this trip, and nowhere to leave bags during the trek – so we recommend landing in Oslo with what you need for the trek in a backpack.

The mountain huts in Norway are very well run, and are warm and welcoming, with open fires, lounges and often all the luxuries of an Alpine hut or even a hotel. The Norwegian way of running these places is that no one is turned away, they’ll do whatever it takes to find you a place to sleep! Luckily we’ll be booking ahead, but expect a busy hut atmosphere of fellow walkers and climbers. There is plenty of food, and often (expensive) beer. We’ll be basing this trip out of dormitories, but there are some huts that have the option of a single/twin room. If you are interested in this please ask us, but bear in mind that the increase in price is significant.

On day 1 we’ll meet you in Olso airport (or central station if you arrive the day before) at midday. As we have a train to catch, we cannot meet any later.

On day 9 we aim to be back at the airport by 17:00, so we do not recommend booking a flight before 19:00.

Within Norway we’ll move about by public transport, as it’s very good.

As with any product or service, you will find seemingly similar offers at different price ranges. Offering something “cheap” usually means selling something in high volumes or compromising on quality. As a small dedicated team, we do neither. We are not a large operator that (re)sells bulk trips, to which we assign volunteers as leaders. Instead we do nearly all trip development “in-house” and assign only experienced and qualified leaders. This comes at a cost both for us and our guests. Compromise often comes at the expense of the guest. Remember, this might be your main holiday this year!

Going into remote and mountainous areas – just as any other activity in life – contains an element of risk. The biggest factor we are always dealing with is weather. As guides, the core of our job is risk reduction and risk management. We do this by careful planning and constantly re-evaluating everything while we are out on the trip. On the average day, you’re safer than you are in traffic back home. In order to deal with hazards caused by environmental conditions, we ask you to follow our gear & clothing advice as well as possible, to trust our decisions in the field and to accept there’s always a small amount of risk left. Still not convinced? Look at it like this… We make our living providing experiences. We wouldn’t have been doing it for this long if we were traumatizing and hurting people! In rare cases, extreme weather conditions can be reason for cancellation. Due to the realities of weather prediction, we can only make big decisions like this last minute. 

We can expect anything from clear days up to rainy days with cool mountain weather. Temperatures may vary from slightly above freezing up to mild summer days.

As much as we intend to avoid setbacks, they can be expensive. It is compulsory to prove that you have travel insurance covering search & rescue and repatriation. We strongly advise you to get cancellation insurance so you don’t lose any non-refundable deposits in case you can’t make it to a trip because of circumstances or due to unsafe weather conditions or natural disasters. For Canadians, travel insurance may be purchased through Georgia Hardy Tours Inc. at the time of registration. GHT and its insurance partner, T.I.P.S, offer a wide range of travel insurance plans, including but not limited to: Ultimate, All-Inclusive, Emergency Medical, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption. People from Europe have multiple options available from insurance providers and can be purchased online. Feel free to contact us for advice.

Norway is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Norway for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. EU citizens can travel freely.

It is important that you let us know about any pre-existing medical conditions you have so that we can make sure we can support you fully throughout the trip. If you are concerned that a medical condition will prevent you from completing the activity, it is essential that you see your doctor and show them the itinerary. Please remember that failing to declare a medical condition could invalidate your insurance, and if there is an incident, put yourself, our guides and other members of the group at risk.