The Coastal Path in Norway – Preikestolen (Over)

Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is a table-top-flat rock buttress with a sheer and vertical drop of 604m (1,982 feet) down to the Lysefjord below.  The walk up there is popular, to say the least, but you must be fit and mobile – the walk can be quite strenuous, especially so in the scorching heatwave we were enjoying in July 2014.  When we started out we saw a woman leaving at the same time as us, with two walking poles.  She was moving very slowly and deliberately and I wondered if she was fully fit and able to cope with the terrain.

The bottom section of the walk consists of a smooth and easy rock path.  The going is flat and comfortable.

Preikstolen TrailGradually, the going becomes steeper, and the route becomes man-made.

Preikstolen TrailIt was on this section that we saw the woman with poles stumble; she had to be helped back to her feet.  She was fine, and after a brief sit-down she got back up and resumed her slow and steady plod.  Soon after this, however, she stopped and seemed to be contemplating whether or not to continue.

Had she seen one of the many trail boards and realised that the terrain was going to become more difficult still?

Preikstolen Trail Board

We didn’t see the woman again until some hours later when we arrived back at the coach park.  There she was, sat down outside the toilets.  Had she made it, or had she had to go back down and sit waiting for her companions to rejoin her after their walk?  I never found out.

Just after Krogebekkmyrane the trail board threatened us with a particularly steep section – you can see it in the photo above.  It wasn’t joking!  We clambered over boulders, stretching our legs out to hop from one to another.

Preikstolen TrailOnce we were over the shoulder, however, the views started to open up around us.

Preikstolen TrailA short while later we rounded a corner and there it was:  Pulpit Rock.  It was swarming with people!  The route up had felt like a bit of an ant trail at times, and here we were in the heart of the nest!

Teaming Like Ants at Pulpit RockWe took the obligatory photos.  To my wife’s annoyance, I dangled my legs over the sheer drop down to the fjord below.  I wish I had taken a photo of the drop itself.  Never mind.  Next time, maybe…

Nic on Pulpit RockThe secret, when on Pulpit Rock, is to block out all of the people and all of the noise.  Stand on that corner of the rock.  Take a deep breath, turn away, and look out down Lysefjorden.

View down Lysefjord from Pulpit RockIf you climb Preikestolen, please don’t stop at Pulpit Rock.  Continue on up.  There are fewer people and some spectacular views to be had.  First of all there is a shelf where you can look down on the Rock itself.

Looking down on Pulpit RockCarry on further.  Keep looking back.

Looking down on Pulpit RockAfter a short time Pulpit Rock disappears from view and it is then only a short distance to the summit of Preikestolen, at approximately 2,325 feet according to my GPS.  We made it!

Summit of PreikstolenOur journey to the summit didn’t take all that long, but when we got back to Pulpit Rock it was busier than ever.

Back to Pulpit RockIt was like Club Med up here!  We were so pleased we had taken the early ferry from Stavanger and got up here before the party really started going.  The trail back down with all these people took its toll on me, I am afraid.  At times we were almost queuing in the constant stream of people hiking up and down.

Pulpit Rock:  very much worth the effort, but try to get there early, and get away from the crowds by continuing that little bit further to the summit.

Points in this post (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Trail Start:   N 58° 59.510 E 006° 08.275
  • Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock):   N 58° 59.225 E 006° 11.335
  • Preikestolen (Summit):  N 58° 59.100 E 006° 11.032

Walk Statistics:

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3 Responses to The Coastal Path in Norway – Preikestolen (Over)

  1. Jill says:

    That looks fantastic!

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