The popular Norwegian mountain ledge known as Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) was closed to hikers and other tourist traffic on Monday because of bad weather and extremely poor visibility. Norway’s entire West Coast was getting hit with another deluge of heavy rain.
“We warned folks against hiking up to Preikestolen all day,” Audun Rake of the local tourism promotion agency Lysefjorden Utvikling, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “Despite the weather, people were still trying to go.”
That prompted authorities to close the trail leading up to what’s usually a spectacular vista point. Many hikers had already fallen along the way, and there was real danger they’d fall over the edge, and plunge to their deaths below.
“We’ve had reports of broken bones, one person with heart problems and several who were severely chilled on the trail,” Kjetil Føyen of Norway’s Southwest Police District told NRK.
With more bad weather moving in, the police thus closed the trail Monday afternoon at the urging of the district’s emergency services. Ambulance crews were also dispatched to the trail to try to help those already ailing.
“In order for them to work undisturbed and help those who need it, we can’t allow more people up on the trail,” Føyen said.
It was the first time he could remember the trail ever actually being closed. Police were also evaluating closing the trail to nearby Kjerag, another unusual and potentially dangerous mountain and rock formation that also draws many visitors.
“It’s an unusual day for Preikestolen,” Føyen said.