Fewer rescue operations carried out on Trolltunga
Since July the 8th, a dedicated mountain guard have been ready at the popular tourist destination, Trolltunga in Odda municipality. The Red Cross have been called out only three since then. By comparison, the Red Cross had to carry out ten rescues in June, reported Bergens Tidende newspaper.
‘Before the mountain guards arrived, there was an increase in rescue operations compared to last year, so we’ve seen a good effect. Not least, it’s psychologically important that hikers know where to go for help’, said Stig Hope, district leader of the Red Cross.
In 2013, there were 20,000 visitors to Trolltunga. By 2016, there were 100,000.
This year, it’s expected that between 100,000 and 170,000 will ascend the demanding trip up the rock formation.
‘We give them food and drink, maybe painkillers, and somewhere to lie down a little. Most of the time, no more is available. Most hikers who need assistance have simply underestimated the trip, and become totally worn out,’ said Leiv Varberg, a mountain guardsman.
July the 19th saw a new record broken in the Gryteskaret, with a total of 1,839 hikers setting off on the way to Trolltunga. Haugesund’s newspaper reported an increase of 40% of bookings and journeys undertaken in the municipality.
The trip from Skjeggedal, and up to the mountain, takes between ten and twelve hours. Every day, the mountain guards tell people to turn round. Many ignore the advice, said Varberg.
‘It’s a problem. It’s not without a reason that we are stationed here’, he said.
‘Sometimes they hide when they realise we are looking for them. They might think it’s embarrassing to give up. Others are afraid that it will cost money’, he explained.
General Secretary of the Red Cross, Bjørn G. Apeland, was worried at the beginning of July, just prior to the most demanding period of the year.
‘We are already a whole month ahead of the number of rescue operations at Trolltunga, and haven’t yet seen the start of the high season, or the demanding autumn season,’ he said.
The number of excursions to Kjerag has also increased. By 2016, 70,000 people hiked up to the famous mountain plateau. This year, approximately 100,000 visitors are expected. Earlier this year, Kjerag, and the Preikestolen, received a grant of NOK 2 million from the state budget that’ll be a useful contribution to the rescue work.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today