The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Birksdalsbreen - So Good We Did It Twice.

Setting out this morning, we were fully prepared for a red ('difficult') walk up to a nearby peak that was going to take around 5 hours. The first part of the route follows the tourist track leading to the foot of the Birksdalsbreen arm of the Jostendalsbreen glacier (the largest glacier in Europe), thus along a wide track we went along with the contents of a number of tour buses - at least those who hadn't opted for the 220NOK (about £22) ride in a 'Troll Car' 8-person golf-cart-esque buggy for the first 2.5km.

We got to the junction where we were to turn and reviewed the map there. Suddenly our 'difficult' route (per the info in the car park and on the App I'm using) was stated to be an 'expert' one. That, in combination with a more detailed map, suggested more effort than we were willing to expend and more exposure than I would be happy to accept. Plan B: we would continue up the tourist path.

That we did, and we had a jolly good time. However, the glacier was in the shade and I fancied seeing it in sunlight. We did the obvious thing: nipped back down to Bertie for a few hours and nipped back up again this afternoon (3km each way each time, with 200m ascent, but on such easy tread that it didn't feel that far).

as it looked in the shade this morning

as it looked in the sun this afternoon

as it looked in 2006, per one of the information boards. The glacier grew through the 1980s and peaked in the mid nineties before receding again


Everyone else was selfie-ing, and if you can't beat 'em...


  1. I walked across that glacier in 1960 with my Thursday walking pal Pete and we climbed Galdhopiggen. I didn't have a camera, and my memory is now very dim, Sad.

  2. We were there in 2008 and going again next month. Looked a lot more impressive last time. Oh well...

  3. Great shots guys. Have really enjoyed following your trip on Facebook. In case you didn't know it was the Briksdalsbre glacier, which in 1970 was a steep icefall that Ranulph Fiennes describes the descent of in 'Icefall Norway' having parachuted on to the Jostadals Glacier and Icefield. PM me if you want to have a read of the book and I'll post it to you