Kjerag has become a quite popular hiking destination in the last few years. Some go there because Preikestolen has become too crowded, some people go to jump onto Kjeragbolten and quite a lot of BASE jumpers go there to dive of the might cliffs. In this travelogue you will find a bit of information about my trip to Kjerag on the 1st of June 2003.
So how do you get to Kjerag? It is quite a long way to drive so it is best to start early. Take route E39 out of Stavanger and drive to Ålgård. Right after Ålgård you turn right to go on route 45 to Sirdalen. On the way you drive through Oltedal, Dirdal and Byrkjedal. Turn right at Sinnes and go past Fidjeland and then turn right again towards Lysebotn. It is a pretty nice drive because it is quite scenic. The road leading from route 45 to Lysebotn is also quite "fun". This narrow road was built in connection with the power plants that are built in this area and it reaches a maximum height of 932 meters above sea level. At this altitude there is a lot of snow in the winter and the road is normally opened in May and close for the winter in October. But even in June you can experience snow along the road. If you want to drive it is about 130 km from Stavanger so it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours to drive there.
The other way to get there is to take a boat from Stavanger to Lysebotn. From the middle of June to the middle of August you can catch the ferry daily at 10 am (more information on can be found on www.stavangerske.no)
I have been to Kjerag a number of times before and this time I went with my brother Jone. We started from Stavanger at 6.30 am on this Sunday morning and after 1 hour and 45 minutes we reached the parking at Øygardsstøl located at about 600 meters above Lysefjord. Øygardsstøl has also got the nickname Eagle's nest because it seems to be on the edge of Lysefjord. Here you can buy something to drink and eat but I would recommend that you do this when you come back after the walk to Kjerag :-) The parking costs 10 kroner by the way.
We got on our hiking boots and packed our bags and started the walk. There is a sign when you start walking the gives you more information about the trip and a profile of the climb that you are about to embark on. I think it is the first climb that's the worst....there is a almost 200 meter height difference from the parking to the top of the first hill and it is pretty steep. Due to this it is best to take this trip when it is dry because it can be quite slippery when it rains. All in all it is about 6 km to Kjeragbolten and there is a total climb of about 500 meters. If you go to Preikestolen you will see that there is a steady climb all the way to the top. At Kjerag you go up and down, up and down and then you climb to reach a plateau (as the profiles shows).
It is not a problem finding the way to Kjerag. To start with you will be walking on granite and the path has been marked with red T’s. In the steepest hills chains has been put up to help the hikers haul their way to the top. Later on you will see that a path has been built to try to make people walk in one place instead of destroying all the vegetation in the area. When Jone and I started walking we walked more or less alone all the way into Kjerag and I guess the reason is that we were up bright and early and it was still pretty early in the tourist season. If you walk to Kjerag this early you have to be prepared to walk through some snow when you reach the plateau. But the snow was pretty packed and didn’t cause and problem for us.
After about 2 hours we reached Kjerag. And when I walked to the edge I remembered why this is such an amazing place. When you reach Kjerag and stand on the edge (if you dare) you can look down at the Lysefjord 1000 meters below. I’m not sure that I can describe how amazing it really is and I don’t think that any of the pictures that I have taken really shows how impressive this place really is. You just have to go there and see for yourselves :-) As I mentioned earlier this place has become quite popular for BASE jumpers and you are likely to see many if you go there in the main season. It is quite scary to watch them as they jump of the mountain. There has been some accidents here in the last years but it is still legeal to do skydive from the mountain.
After we had enjoyed the view at Kjerag we walked the few hundred meters to reach Kjeragbolten. In my opinion this is one of natures wonders and it is certainly one of the most amazing natural motifs that I have come across. Kjeragbolten is a big rock that has fallen into a crack in the mountain and there it has been wedged into the crack. And it is possible to make your way out on the rock and from a certain angle it looks amazing. When we got there we were met by two German girls and we got them to take a picture of both of us on Kjeragbolten. Yes, the rock is really located 1000 meter above the fjord so the knees has a tendency of being a bit weak when you walk on to the rock. After the 2 hour walk it was nice to just sit down and relax with a couple of slices of bread with the traditional brown cheese (brunost is cheese made out of goat milk and it is great with honey on top…trust me :-). There were only 2 other people there while we were there. The other times that I have been there it has been very crowded and you must almost get in line to get onto Kjeragbolten.
After relaxing for a while it was time to head back. As the day progressed it got warmer and warmer and we could start taking some of our clothes of. On the way back we met lots of people on their way up. The trip back it a pretty exhausting trip as well. Sure, you are going down but there are still some climbs and it is quite exhausting using your muscles to hold back. When we got back to the parking lot we checked our watches and we had used 5 hours to complete the trip.
Driving the 2 hours back to Stavanger is always a bit boring. On the way you can stop at Byrkjedalstunet (www.byrkjedalstunet.no) to get some Norwegian food :-)
Conclusion: This is a great little trip and I think that the view of Lysefjord is amazing. And you get lots of thrills by stepping onto Kjeragbolten. Remember to put on good shoes before you start walking and bring a bag with extra clothes, some water to drink and so on. The weather can change pretty fast and even if it is warm at the parking lot it can be quite cold on the plateau at 1000 meters. If you have any questions please do not hestiate to get in touch with me.