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Latest news June 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We still have good availability during our 2019 season. Thank you.
After two years of planning and a few more of dreaming, we are delighted to have expanded the Exploratory system into Norway.
Norway is truly a superb country for trekking and the Jotunheim is a real gem among the nation's national parks. We look forward to sharing it with our clients!
The Jotunheimen is arguably the finest of the national parks, certainly the most popular for walkers: dense with high plateaus, imposing peaks, and deep valleys running with streams, rivers and waterfalls. Glaciers, barren sweeping valleys, flourishing meadows, and Nordic forests can all be traversed in a single day.
Founded in the 1960s, the national parks were Norway's means of protecting its natural beauty and unique flora and fauna from encroaching industrialisation. You'll find little sign of human life other than the huts and the paths. This paired with a lack of mobile phone reception means you'll likely find the walking in Norway free from the noise and stress of modern life!
The Norwegian approach is orderly with a time-honoured reverence to preserving their natural spaces and maintaining the parks for the next generation. As the snow melts, Norwegian families return year after year to the walk in the parks. As you'll experience, trekking and the outdoors form an absolute part of the Norwegian cultural soul. Trekkers in Norway will meet Norwegian walkers of all ages; meeting three generations together is common. With so few foreign walkers it's easy to feel warmly adopted into this lifestyle.
The hut system is possibly our favourite of any nation's and typifies the Norwegian experience. A stay in one is a glimpse into the small things which form the culture. For example, in hot or cold it is expected that you will be trekking with a thermos flask, as is the Norwegian way. Thus in the evening guests line up their flasks, labeled with name and hot beverage of choice and miraculously come breakfast they are full and ready to provide sustenance for a day on the hills. Food in the huts is chiefly Norwegian, with all that can be grown in Norway if not the local region. Hearty mountain food is found for dinner as you might expect!
Meals are taken at communal tables and give an excellent opportunity to dine and chat with local trekkers. English is widely spoken. You'll have to tear yourself away to bed early or risk a spirited night of beer and cards.
We hope you'll enjoy the cultural experience and sense of fellowship between all walkers, Norwegian and otherwise, that is formed through the shared common experience in the hills.
The starting point of this short trek is easily reached from the cities of Bergen and Oslo. Our notes contain all the details to make the journey with confidence by bus. To give a hint, it's about 5 hours by coach from Oslo or Bergen. On the way back, Otta is on the train line to Oslo. The buses and trains will often be busy with residents escaping the city on their way to adventure in the mountains.
Both Oslo and Bergen make superb stops before or after the trek. Do ask us for any options and advice.
JHKg Jotunheimen Tour Weekend (Self-guided)
21 July to 1 September 2019
Prices in GBP
Groups of 2+
|Private trips||Please ask us for details. Trips of 3 to 8 stages work well.|
Our 6- and 8-stage treks are the Jotunheimen Tour. We take 6 stages as a good all-round trek in the Jotunheimen, while this shorter Weekend trip covers part of the route.
Here is our normal schedule of 3 stages.
Arrival day: Arrival at Eidsbugarden
Buses reach the head of the Bygdin lake - and a ferry is possible too - where Eidsbugarden is a collection of cottages including the welcoming Fondsbu hut.
Stage 1: Eidsbugarden to Gjendebu
Red3 grade, 15km with 400m ascent, 450m descent
A fine all-round day in the Jotunheimen, the paths are solid and reliable and the miles can be racked up quickly. The path follows lake Bygdin before cutting uphill, crossing a plateau with distant views and then following the wide, rocky valley to Gjendebu.
Stage 2: Gjendebu to Memurubu
Black3 grade, 10km with 580m ascent, 575m descent
Steep rocky paths guard a plateau at either end, especially steep on the way up from the shore of lake Gjende. This is the well-known Bukkelęgret, helped by chains. The middle section of the day gives high and wild views to the North. Arrive at Memurubu in a grassy setting by the shore. (An alternative path misses the ascent of the Bukkelęgret and makes the day a Red grade.)
Stage 3: Memurubu to Gjendesheim
Black3 grade, 14km with 1100m ascent, 1100m descent
On the last day we take in the famous Besseggen ridge. After a stiff ascent away from the Gjende lake, the path continues over rocky ground with dramatic views over the lake. The rocky path comes to the foot of the Besseggen ridge in its spectacular location. On the ridge some use of the hands is needed, but the steps are solid. The long, occasionally steep, descent to the Gjendesheim hut is a great finish to the trek. We take the local bus to Otta, for a hotel and to be on the Oslo train line. (A lakeside alternative keeps the day at Red grade but misses all of the spectacular high ground.)
Hotel in Otta
Departure day: Departure from Otta
Departure from Otta after a superb Norwegian breakfast. There are well-timed trains to Oslo via Oslo Lufthavn. Or, press North within Norway - we would love to advise.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Although baggage transfer isn't available on this hut-based trip, it's no problem to leave your baggage at the Gjendesheim hut while you trek. There is one possibility of luggage, using the ferry along lake Gjende. This can be organised on the ground and we give details in the info pack.
We can adjust your Jotunheimen trek in various ways, as follows:
Flexible tour lengths
The tour works well with longer itineraries; just let us know how long you have and we can suggest.
As normal we'll book your final night in a local hotel in Otta. If you prefer to stay in a hut on the last night that's also no problem.
If you'd like to stay in fewer dorms, please let us know. We can usually book private rooms in most of your huts. Unfortunately because of the way the huts operate, it's not possible to book private rooms in the huts for solo travellers.
Your trip comes with a year's membership of the DNT, Den Norske Turistforening, the Norwegian trekking and travel association.
The DNT has been running since the late 1800s and is responsible for Norway's national parks, the network of 500 mountain huts, plus tourist information offices in Norwegian towns. You'll quickly get used to seeing their red T waymarks.
Membership gives lower prices in some huts, which we have factored into the cost of our Norway trips, and also gives you direct benefits like discounts in DNT shops and some others.
We are delighted that our trekkers become bona fide DNT members like so many Norwegian trekkers, thus supporting the maintenance of the national parks.
In the run-up to your trip we will ask the date of birth of everyone in your group, as it's required for the DNT membership, and also a phone number to which your membership number can be texted. You can then use the DNT app on your Android or iPhone to show your membership to hut wardens and others.
Our approach to the Jotunheimen
We link three days from Eidsbugarden to Gjendesheim, making a natural linear trek from West to East and culminating in the dramatic Besseggen ridge. In so doing we walk the length of Lake Gjende, generally far above it.
The terrain encountered will vary greatly. Days are generally a combination of good paths, and rockfields where progress is slower and care must be taken. On these sections the path is less well defined but cairns mark the way, generally visible on the horizon for navigation in poor visibility. Small streams are quite common and mostly easily crossed. Throughout summer there is a good chance of snow patches lying on the higher paths, but the lower paths are likely to be snow-free. There are short sections of scrambling where hands will be needed for stability. These sections are within the realm of normal mountain walking and are not via ferrata.
How to get there
Your holiday starts at the roadside mountain hut in Eidsbugarden and ends in the small town Otta. The most convenient airport for the start is Bergen with Oslo also feasible, and Oslo for the end. Travel to Eidsbugarden is on the excellent Norwegian bus network and from Otta the train goes quickly to Oslo.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: Jotunheimen Tour Weekend
Prices Summer 2019
3 stages, per person:
Research Summer 2019
The ferry along Lake Gjende (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
The Jotunheimen in Norway
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