2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

Norway: Tested

Traverse a Glacier: On Norway's west coast, ancient ice scapes offer an otherworldly adventure.

by: BACKPACKER Editors. Photos by Berne Broudy.

Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter leads the team across the Folgefonna Glacier. (Berne Broudy)
Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter leads the team across the Folgefonna Glacier. (Berne Broudy)


» Getting there Fly to Oslo, then make your way to southwestern Norway either by taking a one-hour flight to Bergen (fastest), the gateway to the fjordlands, or by bus or rental car (slower, allow six to seven hours). Direct flights from Oslo to Bergen start at about $150 round-trip. Get transportation and travel details at

» Glacier Tours Local outfitter Folgefonni Breførarlag offers crevasse explorations, glacier guiding, and two-day ski tours. Prices start at about $65 per person for a day trip. Contact:

» Accommodations Find hotel information for the glacier region at

» Huts The Norwegian Trekking Association runs a fantastic network of huts throughout the country (460 total!), and they’re used for both ski touring and hiking, though seasons vary so check before route planning. Huts are divided into three categories: staffed (meals served), self-service (stocked with food), and no-service (BYO), and priced accordingly. Become a member and get a discount. Contact:

» Season May to August is best for skiing the glacier; go earlier for resort skiing; pick midsummer to early fall for alpine hiking.
What do the Grand Canyon, the pyramids of Egypt, Yosemite's Half Dome, and the Sistine Chapel have in common? Nothing you've seen before prepares you for these one-of-a-kind wonders. To that list you can add the fjordlands of western Norway, where mountains crowd peak-to-glacier and then drop precipitously into the sea, and the land splits into a jigsaw puzzle of deep fjords and myriad islands. You might have seen all of the pieces before, but never like this: all in one place, with a hut system we wish we could take home.

Here, the Folgefonna Glacier lies less than 15 miles from Hardangerfjorden, a deep-water fjord--the third-largest in the world. The 85-square-mile Folgefonna is a plateau glacier, so it's flat on top, while blue-ice crevasses and ice-melt creeks riddle its steep sides. You can rappel into the crevasses on a day trip or do overnight ski tours on the glacier (see Plan It to left).

Our test crew crossed the glacier during a week of skiing and hiking in the region. The traverse took three days, but measuring springtime in Norway by "days" is misleading. The near-midnight sunsets make it seem like a winter adventure in midsummer--and each day feels twice as long as normal. In one 24-hour period, we skinned up to the glacier's 5,452-foot highpoint on North Folgefonna (the glacier is divided into sections: North, Middle, South); crossed the Arctic-flat plateau; scramble-skied down a maze of corn-snow gullies to a valley at the edge of South Folgefonna; and still had time to pitch a sweet camp overlooking a frozen lake--and then linger over a sunset that seemed stuck on pause.

The next day we climbed again, skinning up a long but moderate grade to the top of South Folgefonna. For those who like backcountry skiing for the solitude as well as the thrill, this journey delivers: Our isolation was total on a vast white expanse that stretches from horizon to horizon; and each day included descents that ranged from easy-fun to scary-fun (the latter can be avoided by taking the more standard route down, at the far southern end near Rosendal). We even did evening laps in shin-deep powder on a slope near Holmaskjer, one of two huts on South Folgefonna. From it, we could see over countless ridges to the fjord-sliced coast and the North Sea.

Norway's extensive hut system (see p. 16) makes it easy to travel without camping gear, which is the way most skiers cross Folgefonna. Of course, one of our crew still pitched a tent in whipping wind outside the shelter (testing!), but even he came inside for reindeer stew. Verdict? Like fjordland itself, nothing compares.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Apr 03, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt. Ltd. an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable adventure that you have been dream of. Benefit, of course there is the Acute trek part of choice. We have your choose of trekking for 3 days or 30 or more days it depending of your timetable, sleep under lodges or tent. We always respect our duty to constantly your holiday satisfaction in Nepal. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Burger King moving headquarters to Canada
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: star
Pacific Northwest
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: NicholasBell
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions