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Besseggen, the iconic hike in Jotunheimen national park, Norway


Besseggen in Jotunheimen national park, Norway had been on our minds for a while for the spectacular hike on the ridge between the lakes Gjende and Bessvatnet, each with its own colour. We went there in 2015 when Tobias and Nikolaj were nine and six years old. We had four nights in Jotunheimen, stayed in tent, and did other hikes as well.

Read about other hikes we have done here.

Jotunheimen has some of the highest mountains in Norway, and we wanted to share that experience with the boys. They had hiked long days before, but we had not yet tried the combination of hiking and staying in a tent in mountains where the weather can get rough. We had a really great trip despite unsually cold weather and that Peter sprained an ankle on the first day.

We stayed around the lake Gjende. There is a boat service on the lake, and that means that with the boat you can go deep into the national park, the hut Gjendebu. The huts are run by the Norwegian Trekking Association, a NGO that also maintains the trails in Norway. Gjendebu is one of their flagsips huts and a great place to experience wild Norway. We brought a four-person tent and camped at one of the campsites near the hut which gave us access to the bathrooms of the hut.

The temperature was between 0 and 10 degrees celcius while we were there. We came for the Besseggen hike, a hugely popular hike among all Norwegian national parks. Tobias and Helle also hiked from Gjendebu to Memurubu across Bukkelægret on a very rainy day. Together we did day hikes from Gjendebu. Peter sprained an ankle on the first day and took it easy on the following days.

We only needed to carry what we needed for the hike, when we crossed Besseggen, because you can have luggage transported with the boat. The boys caried a small backpack each with a little extra cloths. They were also each responsible for some of our snacks, a popular and important responsibility!

Besseggen impressions

Besseggen can easily be done as a day hike. As we had the boys with us, we took more time than most, so we were among the last to start the ascend of Besseggen. We wanted a warm lunch to give the boys a boost midday, and brought a Trangia cooker with gas boiler. But as the temperature was lower than we had expected, only just above freezing, the gas was almost too cold, so making lunch took a lot of time. It all added up, and we were not down before 19.15, which was very late for the boys at that age. But the evenings are light, and they were so proud that it was not a problem.

The hike is not technically difficult, but the ridge is steep and the drop to both sides is deep. It may not be good for people not happy with heights. The boys were a little nervous at times. We gave them lots of hugs and told them stories while we walked. We were so proud of them!

Arriving by boat to Memurubu
Hikers at the start of the trail from Memurubu
On the way up
Starting along the ridge
At the top of the first climb
Beginning of the section between the two lakes
A small descent before the final climb on the narrow ridge
Looking at the ridge ahead of us
This is one of the steepest sections of the ridge
What a view! From the top of the ridge between the lakes.
A herd of reindeer passed by
So close!
From the top, it is still a long way down with tired legs

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