Via Ferrata Loen

Shortly before the second bicycle tour from Oppstryn to Loen I found my bicycle punctured by a push-pin, and I had no mending-kit available at that time. But the very kind cabin landlord saved my sorry ass by lending me her own bicycle – as she knew I had booked a climb up the famous Loen Via Ferrata route. My panniers fitted nicely, so off I went!

Arriving Loen camp site I first put up my little tent, and decided to include a bike and hike into Bødalsbreen glacier that very same evening…. most probable because I longed for a bicycle ride along that beautiful Lovatnet again. The weather was shifting, and the last part of the road ascending up to Bødalssetra trail was tough so I had to push the bike up.

From Bødasseter it takes about 30-45 minutes to hike into the foot of Bødalsbreen glacier. Expect some snow and slush along the trail early in season, (I was here at the end of May 2017). If you want to see a beautiful photo of how far down this glacier arm once reached (among green grass and flowery meadows) many years ago – then do pay a visit to Loenvatn Feriesenter 

 

 

Via ferrata Loen. Next morning I woke up in a hot sunbathing tent! Luckily in weather again! I biked down to the Loen Active center to join the fully booked groups, as first time on this route I didn’t want to climb it alone. We would actually climb up to Hoven (1011 masl) and take the Loen Skylift down again. Everything is located in central Loen and easily accessible, we just choose to take the long way up ..ha..ha.

A magic bicycling ride along the Lovatnet lake once again – the sun is shining and life is good!Lovatnet bike trip Lodalen bødalen

 

It turned out to be an absolutely spectacular day with fun and awesome people in my climb group, a super hot and sweaty rock face to force… and breathtaking views!  The only bad thing was my GoPro who decided to die right before the climb (battery),  oh so annoying – but in my group we used each other’s phones to still get some photos of a memorable day.

 

 

Gjølmunnebrua suspension bridge (below) wasn’t that scary actually, a bit shaky perhaps… my lil’ group decided to skip the wire bridge further up as it was clogging/queuing with people that day, instead we continued straight to the top and grabbed an ice-cold beer before the bar closed at HovenLoen skylift took us all the way down again in just minutes. 

 

Travel information:

Finally, just personal via ferrata-advice from me: in the peak season it is smart rent the necessary equipment and climb the route without a guide (if you know how to climb via ferrata of course) – to avoid waiting a long time every time a crux is clogging with less experienced climbers.  But I don’t regret joining that guided group first time here as it was extra fun and social, and not so “desolated” as it felt when I later climbed the via ferrata Skuleberget on my own.

 

Map from Loen to Bødalsseter mountain pasture and Bødalsbreen glacier

Having a break with an awesome view towards Lovatnet.Loen via ferrata norway climb

 

 

Kjenndalsbreen glacier of Norway

One of my favourite alternative suggestions for visitors when I worked at the Jostedalsbreen Visitor Center was to visit Kjenndalsbreen glacier instead of Briksdalsbreen glacier. Briksdalsbreen is the most well-known and easy accessible glacier in the area, but Kjenndalsbreen is far more beautiful and much less crowded than Briksdalsbreen… and the narrow pictorial road along lake Lovatnet – leading you into the Kjenndalen glacier – will give you a godsmacking experience for sure!

The magnificent Kjenndalsbreen is a glacier spur of the main glacier Jostedalsbreen – I didn’t have a zoom lens, so this is one of the closest photo I could getKjenndalsbreen glacier

And I would not claim this if I hadn’t visited them both, Briksdalsbreen many years ago when I was attending tourism and travel-school has retreated a lot, and Kjenndalsbreen last spring/summer have retreated again too, but are still looking good – it was an absolutely breathtaking moment when the weather gods finally let the sun break through that magic evening – simply a “bellissimo viaggio”.

This was the first of 3 bicycle trips I did to Loen area when I was working in Oppstryn for a month. The weather was a bit dull & grey when I decided to pack my stuff and bicycle 35 km into the beginning of Lovatnet and stay over night.

Steep and narrow roads with great views – it is not boring I can promise you. And wow what a job to build these roads in the old days! Steep Norwegian roads Lovatnet

I intended to sleep in my tent, but when I had a “dinner-break” at Loenvatn Feriesenter I ended up getting a discount on a cabin since it was early season and I was solo. The friendly chef had a lot of knowledge about the glaciers in the area and also about the tragic history regarding the accidents at Ramnefjellet.

He also lended me a book about this, so if you want first hand information regarding these subjects, make a stop at this place! Combined with great food (their traditional “kjøttkakemiddag” is delicious – try it!), smiling faces and awesome views I had a very very nice and informative stay.

Back at the lodge that evening I went down to this little pier right below my cabin – and managed to take this nice photo of Lovatnet before the sun disappeared and the wind and rain took over during the night. Lovatn Feriesenter view

So, when I had packed up I decided to bike the remaining 17 km into Kjendalsbreen that same evening, as the weather seemed to lighten up even more. The bike trip into the glacier was a real thrill, and before the last km of gravel road starts you will have to move along some narrow steep road hammered in the mountain side…with a first class view to the rock slide wounds of the famous Ramnefjellet – wow what a magic evening!

On my way back to the cabin with the base of Ramnefjellet mountain in the background. Along this narrow road you will find information and a memorial tablet for the 74 people who died (41 never found) due to the 2 rock slides/flood waves caused by RamnefjelletLovatnet bicyel trip kjenndalen

There is a little parking lot and a outhouse at the end of the gravel road leading to Kjenndalsbreen glacier. You can fill your water bottle in the glacial river with clear conscience, just don’t fall into it. You have to walk 10-15 minutes on a trail if you want to get closer. There will be warning signs to stop you from going to close, mostly because of the falling rocks you will hear now and then from the mountain sides. It is a steep valley alright.

I found a big rock to sit on and just try to take in the magnificent views of the glacier and it’s surroundings – the glacier looks like ice candy and sugar fluff (I guess I was a lil’ bit hungry) 

At first I was totally alone there, but as the evening sun gradually broke through, 4 or 5 other persons popped up here and there to view this magnificent sight. The glacier has retired quite a bit alright, but is still an impressive sight up there with its white and blue ice. This valley will surround you with its many never-ending waterfalls, some greenery and the river flowing from the glacier in the middle – it is just one of the steepest and most beautiful valleys i have ever been to – ice-cold paradise! 

Back in the cabin for a meal and an evening sofa relax – with a view towards Lovatnet and Kjenndalsbreen at the far end of the lake. Well, good night then!loen lodge cabin view lovatnet feriesenter

Travel information/advice:

  • Stay in a cabin with great view, restaurant and bar, or hire a kayak at Loenvatn Feriesenter 
  • At the camping site Sande Camping nearby you can also rent a fishing rod
  • Before the last km gravel road you can take a break at Kjenndalstova café
  • You can also get to the cafe with the cruise boat MS Kjenndal
  • Bring a warm jacket and cap – the wind in the glacier valley can be rough

Click on the map to view it in detail live on Google MapMap Oppstryn Stryn Loen Kjenndalsbreen bicycle trip