The Hornelen mountain on the western coast of Norway is, as reported by CNN, now open to travelers who are not easily intimidated by heights as a new via ferrata climbing route was inaugurated last month. Labeled by tourism board Fjord Norway as the tallest sea cliff in Europe, Hornelen mountain is located at the eastern end of the island of Bremangerlandet, along the Frøysjøen Strait, in the Norwegian region of Nordfjord. At 860 meters, it has long been used as a landmark for naval navigation. It is a 4-hour hike to the top from Berleneset.
The horizontal distance from the top to the sea is approximately 500 meters. Roughly 1 km west of the cliff is the highest point on the island Bremangerlandet, called Svartevassegga, which has an elevation of 889 meters. The Hornelen rock is formed by sandstone of Devonian age, and is an important part of the geology of Norway.
The via ferrata, a project Rogier van Oorschot has been working on for the past nine years, officially opened on June 18th this year. “The adrenaline rush looking down between your climbing boots and seeing ships in the fjord passing by over 2,000 feet below you is unparalleled,” van Oorschot said in a statement. Van Oorschot is now operating guided tours via his company, Hornelen Via Ferrata, as reported by CNN.
The adrenaline rush is unparalleled.Rogier van Oorschot
The mountain used to be an important landmark for passing ships and, according to legend, a gathering place in even older times for witches. A small stone hut has been built at the top of Hornelen, and there is also a Norwegian flag that can sometimes be seen in good weather.
The best time of year is spring, summer and early fall (May-September). There’s no point in trying here when there’s snow on the mountain. It also gets dark early in the winter.
The hike is quite demanding and you should have some mountain training and be used to hiking in steep terrain. It can be a strain on the knees when you go back down. There is access to water all the way. According to CNN, van Oorschot’s company says it is committed to ensuring the safety of climbers. It asks all participants to declare any medical conditions beforehand and provides a harness, two carabiner arms, a shock absorber, and a helmet for each climber.
The steepness of the rockface rising up from the sea and the view over the fjords is what everybody is surprised by.Rogier van Oorschot
There are two routes up to Hornelen, starting from either Hunskår or Berleneset. A round trip to/from Hunskår will take roughly 8 hours. The trail is well marked with red T’s and cairns, and you first walk in the same direction as the road, over Ramarhammaren, before heading southwest. A round trip to/from Berleneset will take 8-10 hours. This route is slightly longer than from Hunskår, but easier to walk and suitable for a long family hike.