Record year for mountain treks

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Never before have so many people gone hiking in the Norwegian mountains, if occupancy at mountain cabins and lodges is any indication. The number of overnight guests at those run by hiking association DNT (Den Norske Turistforeningen) broke all previous records for July.

More people than ever before are heading for the high country in Norway. Rondane, as seen here from the new vista point called Sohlbergsplass, is among the most popular destinations. PHOTO: Morten Møst/Views and News

More than 7,000 persons stayed at the Juvasshytta, for example, from which guides take visitors up to Norway’s highest peak, Galdhøpiggen (elevation 2,469 meters). Anne Wangen, who runs the lodge for DNT, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that occupancy so far this summer is up about 17 percent from last year.

“There is a bit of status for folks to say they’ve climbed Norway’s highest mountain, Wangen told NRK. She said most of her guests are not experienced mountain climbers “but just normal folks, who hike with the rest of their family.”

Trails like this one in Ringebufjellet, bordering the Rondane National Park, ease access to the great outdoors in Norway. Despite record numbers of hikers, there are seldom crowds. PHOTO: Morten Møst/Views and News

Other DNT accommodation was also attracting lots of hikers. “It’s simply the best July we’ve ever had,” Kari Merete Horne, marketing chief for DNT in Oslo told newspaper Bergens Tidende. She said that 34,466 people spent the night at the lodges that offer services including meals, and that’s also a new record.

“The last time we had so many was in 2002, and we’ve beaten that record by 843 overnight stays,” Horne said. Her data comes from lodges in Rondane, Jotunheimen, Hardangervidda, Skarvheimen, Breheimen and Femundsmarka.

The most growth was registered in Rondane and Skarvheimen, with visitor counts up 31 and 27 percent respectively. DNT’s organized tours also have seen a big jump in participants, up 25 percent, while DNT membership has increased by 10,000 persons since last year, to around 232,000.

The numbers back up a survey conducted three years ago by Innovation Norway, which runs the tourism promotion agency Visit Norway. It showed that mountain trekking topped Norwegians’ most-desired holiday activity, especially in the autumn.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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