Folgefonna

by Andrew Stein

On our day off from cycling, we visit Folgefonna, a nearby glacier.  Not knowing what to expect because we booked the trip through the ferry website, we first ferry, then bus, then arrive at a ski resort 1000s of meters above the fjord. Although a small ski resort, the athletes here are legit – we learn that many Olympians and x-gamers come here to train and we could quickly tell by watching them.  The weather is brisk, the sun is peaking behind the clouds, and the landscape is stark – adventure must be near.

We gear up with a harness, crampons, an ice pick, waterproofs, and the stiffest hiking books we’ve ever worn.  The first half-mile is all steeply up hill in the snow.  Every two steps forward is accompanied by one step sliding backwards.  Although chilly out, we reach the top of the hill in a full sweat.  From here, we traverse for about an hour and then scramble down some rocks until we reach the blue ice of the glacier.

After a couple energy bars, we tie our crampons to the bottom of our boots and ready our ice picks for the next adventure.  All connected by a blue rope with about 5 feet of slack between each of us, we set off into the white abyss (the cloud cover has really come in).  Careful not to fall in any crevices or to sink too far into snow above the ice, we carefully make our way around the glacier stopping now and then for a picture.  The clouds come in and out exposing and then hiding our surroundings keeping us always alert.

The terrain is so desolate and different and seemingly dangerous, that we can only embrace the adrenaline rush that comes with it.