Next to Preikestolen, the hike to Kjerag, and particularly to the Kjeragbolten, a small chockstone perched precariously above a 500 m drop, is the most popular uphill hike in the Stavanger area. Compared to Preikestolen, the hike to Kjeragbolten features more levation gain and a harder drive, but the huge drops to Lysefjord and beautiful views equal those of Preikestolen. Though the trail to Kjeragbolten is thick with tourists, climbers will appreciate the steep granite slabs (and therefore eschew the cables!) along the trail, and particularly the exposure on the last jump to the Kjeragbolten itself.
Aside from taking the obvious novelty photo of you and your friends perched nervously on the Kjeragbolten, be sure to catch views of base jumpers leaping from a nearby wall. A helicopter ferries the jumpers from Lysebotn, 1000 m below, allowing the base jumpers to experience up to 20 seconds of free fall with no work. A short hike/scramble to the jump location will give you some great shots.
The standard route to Kjeragbolten includes 700 m of total elevation gain over the 12 km round trip. The trail ascends steep granite slabs (up to about 40°), which have enough texture in most places to permit easy scrmabling in hiking boots. Still, in many spots, cables have been placed to assist the ascent/descent. These can be quite useful when the rock is muddy or wet (almost every day!). In the early season, extensive snowfields must be traversed.
Technical routes exist on Kjerag's 1000 m north wall. Ari kindly gives an overview and a convenient rock grade conversion table:
- 1980 route - NOR 5
- North Buttress
- The Shield - E6 6b, 800m
- Hocka Hey - VII+, A2
- Solsemester - SWE 6+, A2+
- Renshaw/Foulkes - 20 pitches NOR 6+
- Nordøstpassarsjen - 20 pitches NOR 7-
- Skjoldet - 20 pitches NOR 8
Although well below the true summit of Kjerag proper, the Kjeragbolten is undoubtedly the most popular destination for hikers on this spot. For the exposure-averse, a delicate leap onto the boulder (bolten), followed by an always-amazing photograph, is a rite of passage. Please attach your Kjeragbolten photos to this section.
The standard access point for the Kjeragbolten hike is the Oygardsstolen Cafe, perched precariously above Lysebotn, just before the road begins its distinctive postcard descent. A parking fee may be levied during the busy season. A private car is by far the most convenient access method. From Stavanger, drive south on 39, past Sandnes, and take 45 east. North of Sirdal, turn left at the sign for Lysebotn. Oygardsstolen Cafe is about 25 km down this one-lane road. Gardkarlsen notes that "There is a toll station on the road (45)...you have to pay a fee each way. If you have Autopass it is automatically charged to this. If you don't have this they take a picture of the car and send you a bill...I think that the fee is 45 kroner."
Car ferries sail a few times a week from Stavanger to Lysebotn, but the trip takes four hours. You'll be forced to camp overnight or drive back to Stavanger if you choose this option, because the return ferry leaves only one hour after arriving. Tourist ferries (no cars) can be hired in Stavanger (check the tourist office). Buses may run from Lysebotn to Oygardsstolen in the busy season, but you should check beforehand.
The road from Sirdal to Lysebotn closes for the winter (early November to May). Parking fee (NKr 40, according to gardkarlsen) levied at Oygardsstolen Cafe during the busy season.
When To Climb
No steep snow on route in early June (in the author's experience). Much of the trail is over steep terrain, so if there is snow, an axe may be useful. Road closures make winter climbs much more difficult, if not impossible.
Camping in Lysebotn, near the ferry terminal.
Opposite the Kjeragbolten from Kjerag is a very popular location for BASE jumping. A helicopter ferries erstwhile jumpers to the jump zone, about 1000 meters above Lysefjord, while favorable winds carry jumpers away from the wall. Please attach any action shots to this section!