Complete Guide to the (IDIOTIC) Kjeragbolten Hiking Experience

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The allure of Kjeragbolten is strong enough to bring people to Norway, and daunting enough for those same people to not sleep properly for weeks leading up to tackling this hike! 

I had wrestled with the idea of standing on this rock – that hangs in a precarious position, at an impossible height – for months! And for the sake of my sleep decided I wouldn’t do it…

Until I got there, and decided I would! 

Am I proud of it? No! Would I do it again? No! But was the hike worth it? Hell yes! 

In this article, I’ll share all you need to know about the hiking experience to reach Kjeragbolten and what it is like to stand on this rock that I also wish just didn’t exist. 

Video Experience of Kjeragbolten

If you would like to see what the hike looked like then check out the video below. 

This also includes a debrief immediately after standing on the rock and the combination of relief, remorse, and exhilaration that it was done! 

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Standing on Kjeragbolten

I am sure most of you reading this just want to know what it is like to stand on Kjeragbolten, right?

Well, I have the full story for you shortly. But first, let’s cover some basics and get some questions answered for context.

What is Kjeragbolten

Kjeragbolten is a boulder jammed between two cliff faces high up on the Kjerag mountain. This rock dangles over a gap that is over 1,000m down to the fjord below.

There are incredible views behind the rock overlooking the water yet this is not enough for many visitors. They feel the need to stand on this narrow, dangerous, and precariously placed rock. 

How Big is the Rock?

How Big is Kjeragbolten

The rock is actually quite large, but the surface area is more of a hump than a flat surface.

It is big enough that you would jump onto it confidently if it were not surrounded by a 1,000m sheer drop on both sides! 

While it is not totally flat, the area that you can stand on is no more than one metre across.

As you can see in the image above, anywhere other than the middle would be on a precarious angle and not somewhere you want to be! 

The next image shows the size of Kjeragbolten looking directly down from above the rock. There is no one standing on it so it is difficult to give it scale, but hopefully the two images combined give you some idea what to expect. 

How Wide is Kjeragbolten

This view also demonstrates how narrow that final step is before stepping out onto the rock. This part is just as dangerous as the boulder itself, but more on this in a moment. 

Has Anyone Fallen Off Kjeragbolten?

No one has fallen off Kjeragbolten yet. However, as you can see from the images above the feat is very unsafe and is only a matter of time until someone does. 

If you lose your nerve while on the rock, or you suffer from vertigo, or simply lose your footing, you will slide straight off and that will be the end of you. 

The narrow walkway to get to the rock is equally as dangerous. There is only a small bolt to hold on to while you navigate a skinny and slippery step on the way to the rock. 

Kjeragbolten

Should I stand on Kjeragbolten?

No, you should not stand on Kjeragbolten. There are signs at the start of the hike discouraging people from doing so… But people do, myself included – and my informed opinion is don’t do it! 

Of all the adrenaline-inducing things that I have done in my lifetime, this was the only one where I did not feel energised afterwards. I was relieved, and full of remorse.

It was a stupid thing to do and not something I encourage. 

However, I observed others get on and off the rock multiple times and did not seem bothered at all. 

The bottom line is that it’s a personal choice, and despite any rational thought about the risk vs reward when you arrive, it is easy to get caught by that allure and act on impulse and say stuff it, I’m going in

Standing on Kjeragbolten

What is it like to stand on Kjeragbolten?

My decision to go through with this was largely based on impulse. I watched a lady do it who must have been in her 60s and she stepped on and off seamlessly. I was already psyching myself up and without saying much I handed my travel partner my camera and just said I’m doing it. 

The narrow step to get near the rock was ok. I held onto that bolt and felt confident. 

It was only when I made that big step out onto the rock that my survival instinct kicked in and a voice said “what the fuck are you doing”.

By this time I was mid-step and past the point of no return. I got a small leg shake mid-step but was able to pop myself up onto the rock without issue. 

I did the obligatory pose and for a moment felt happy and confident. Until I actually thought about what was all around me, followed by the realization I had to turn and step over that gap once again. 

My heart was racing, and I took a few deep breaths and told myself that the only way to do this was with as much confidence as possible.

A mistake is most likely if half-passing this and being tentative. 

Let’s just say I was very relieved to be back on the stable ground again, but I felt more remorse than adrenaline afterward. Strangely I also felt some shame. 

Kjerag Hiking Information

Now that we have covered the idiocy of standing on Kjeragbolten, there is a glorious and challenging hike to discuss.

The rock is the excuse that gets people here, but the hike is an amazing experience and worth the visit on its own. 

The hiking trail often veers close to the cliffs overlooking the fjord and the views are simply stunning!

It is a steep and challenging route but if the conditions are dry most able bodied people of moderate fitness will be up for this. But you need to be realistic with yourself as you read through this information. 

Kjerag Snow in Summer

How Far is the Hike to Kjeragbolten?

From the car park at Øygardstøl to Kjeragbolten is 4.9kms, and the round trip will take you half a day at least. We started the hike at 8 am and returned before 2 pm.

So roughly six hours for the round trip, including stoppages to eat, rest, and of course stand on the boulder. 

There is a series of inclines and declines on the hike that can be quite steep. Each incline is higher and longer than the subsequent decline and your elevation increases significantly with each one. 

We found that the declines were quite pleasant due to the protection from the high winds while in between the peaks on either side. When you climb up the other side and get exposed again that is when the wind can really pick up! 

The inclines can look daunting with the other hikers at the top appearing as tiny specs up on the horizon. But if you just focus on one foot in front of the other, then progress is surprisingly quick. 

Difficulty Level

The hike is challenging but can be completed with only moderate levels of fitness as long as you can handle the inclines and declines.

There are some steep sections where chains are in place to help you pull yourself up. 

It can be difficult on your calves due to the angle of the climb, so you will need to consider this in addition to the 10km round trip.

Hiking Inclines at Kjerag

Gear Required

There are two items that you should have to ensure you can complete the hike safely and in comfort.

The first is hiking boots, you don’t need them if the weather is good but if you get some rain it would get very slippery and potentially dangerous if you have the wrong footwear. 

I wore runners on the day and was very lucky we had a small window of good weather. The extra grip is all the more important if you plan on standing on Kjeragbolten.

The second is a pair of gloves. Again, you can get by without them but the chains are cold and can be rough on your hands.

I didn’t use gloves but I did bring an extra pair of socks to slip over the hands just in case it got too much. 

Aside from these items, you should also bring the basics, such as:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Hat
  • Mobile phone 
  • Sunscreen
  • Map
  • Food
  • Plenty of water
Chains on Kjerag Hike

Do I need a Tour Guide to Hike to Kjeragbolten? 

You do not need a tour guide to hike to Kjeragbolten. The route is well signposted and you can generally just follow the other hikers. 

It was not crowded when we visited (July) but there was always people around so you knew the general direction. 

Hiking with a guide would be helpful if the conditions are volatile and you want more certainty that you would be looked after if things deteriorate.

Or, if you are traveling solo and looking for a group to share the experience with. 

Weather on the Mountain

The weather will determine the quality of your experience. On a pleasant day, the hike is much easier, and the views along the way are simply amazing! 

If it is cloudy then you may miss out on a lot of what the hike has to offer! 

We were lucky in that we hiked through fog in the morning and saw very little, but this had cleared by the return journey and we were able to see over the mountains, down to the fjord, and over the town of Lysebotn way down below. 

If it rains then you will have a much more difficult time navigating the hike. It would be cold, slippery, and a much less enjoyable experience that I would not recommend. 

The best time of year to do the hike is from….. when the conditions are most favorable. You will still need to check the forecasts regularly as conditions can change quickly. 

Hut on Kjerag

Are there Toilets on the Hike?

There are no toilets on the hike to Kjeragbolten so you should use the bathroom at the car park before you leave. 

You will have to go at some point along such a long hike, so do everyone a favor and go well away from the trails and not in the water streams. 

After the Hike

If you have your own vehicle then make sure you head downhill from the main car park towards the town of Lysebotn.

The waterfront area that looks back down the fjord, and up towards the mountain you just climbed will give you a new perspective of just how high it is! 

You can see the visitor’s center from there and it is a small bump on top of the mountain. And you will know from your experience that it only gets higher from there!! 

Lysebotn Fjord

How to Get to Kjeragbolten

We drove from Stavanger to Kjeragbolten, which is about 2.5 hours by road. This is the easiest way as the location is very remote.

Having our own vehicle also allowed us to keep going north as part of our road trip itinerary, rather than backtracking to Stavanger like most of the options available to the public.  

There is also a car ferry that runs from Stavanger to Lysebotn that would be a nice trip along the fjords amongst the mountains. From the dock, it is an easy ten-minute drive up a winding road to the Øygardsstøl car park. 

There is a public bus service that also runs from Stavanger that will bring you to the car park. However, this only runs between June and September and is a point-to-point bus with one departure in both directions each day.

So you would have to be confident you can make the journey in six hours or you risk missing your return leg!

The fourth option is to jump on a group tour. These are available as day trips from Stavanger. 

View of Lysebotn from Kjerag

Conclusion

I have said throughout this article that standing on Kjeragbolten is not a great idea. 

Whether you do or not, the sight of this strange boulder wedged between the cliffs is pretty special and the views on offer along the hike make this an incredible experience regardless. 

I made an impulsive decision to stand on the rock despite months of saying I won’t. So be prepared for that, and if you choose to do it then good luck to you! I hope you make it home safe again. 

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