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Norway: Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

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Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) | Norway | Europe

[Visited: May 2002, August 2012]

Even though I had been there before, I very much wanted to climb Preikestolen again when I happened to be in Stavanger. We were lucky: the sky looked friendly; when we boarded the boat, the sun was warming us up for the 40 minute ride to Tau on the other side of the small archipelago north of Stavanger. Passing some small islands, the views around were wonderful, white sails sticking out of the quiet waters, and in the distance, we could see the Lysefjord on which the Preikestolen is located. When we arrived in Tau, a bus was waiting next to the Preikestolen sign, but it only went to Jørpeland. An Italian couple and a Chinese guy were heading in the same direction; a local was friendly enough to call a taxi, and within 10 minutes we were on the way for a drive with nice views to Preikestolhytta. I tried to remember what it had looked like ten years before on my first visit; the parking lot seemed much bigger, and it was full of cars, campers, and buses. Indeed, we encountered a lot of hikers on the trail; fortunately, most of them were coming down. We quickly hiked up the rocky path and even though it was not really warm, we were soon sweating.

Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Narrow Lysefjord seen from high above the sea at Preikestolen

The first part is a little steep, it then levels off, as you walk through a forest, with some small lakes in the rocky landscape. After shorter, steeper climb on boulders and rocks, we reached a more open level with still more small lakes in which some people were swimming. Here, the landscape opens up, the trail takes you higher, and when we got a first glimpse of the Lysefjord again; we knew we were getting close to our destination Preikestolen. We took the cliff trail first, which leads right to the edge of the cliffs, and soon after you reach the edge, you get to the rocky natural platform which is Preikestolen. Fortunately, most people had already left, and there was plenty of space to walk around and get close to the edge. There is still no warning, protection, or anything of the kind in place; apparently, no accident has ever taken place here, even though people have used the spot to end their lives in a dramatic way by jumping off the 600m high cliff. I walked around the platform at the edge, and at several points, lied down on my belly, sticking over the edge, for the best views down into the void. There are not many places so easily accessible where you can look down so freely; looking down on the excursion boats far below on the blue waters of Lysefjord was like looking down on the world from an aircraft. I noticed some metal hooks here and there, and imagine this place would be perfect for abseiling, or other exciting activities. This was not the plan of the day: we still wanted to roam around a little, before heading back down to Tau and Stavanger. Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock as it is often called in English, was formed by glaciers some 10,000 years ago, and is so called because of its shape, or even because it was actually used as a place of sacrifice in history.

Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Looking out over Preikestolen and Lysefjord below

On my previous visit, I did not go further up; but this time, we hiked up to a ridge a little higher, from where we had great views of the Preikestolen below, the mountains behind, and far into the Lysefjord in the distance on our left. What a great symphony of nature: huge rocks, formed by glaciers a long time ago, the peculiar, almost square shape of Preikestolen itself, the deep blue waters of Lysefjord below, and the mountains on the other side. At several places, there were piles of stones, in some cases looking like faces. Here, there was hardly any other person around, and the only people we saw were the ones on the Pulpit Rock below. Like before, we saw plastic bottles and other trash flying around; some visitors are a little careless with their rubbish, the windy conditions around the natural plateau blow them away; while some chased the flying debris, it quickly blew out of reach of anyone on Pulpit Rock. Strange that people come this far, supposedly for the love of nature, and then leave a plastic trail behind. Instead of heading back the same way, we walked straight towards the plains with the lakes below, until we reached the main trail again; from there, it was an easy hike down. On the way, we had some great views towards Stavanger, with the islands in its bay. Once we were back in the city after another pleasant ride on the boat, we were totally satisfied, and felt we deserved a nice dinner at the harbour.

Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): The platform of Preikestolen sits at 604m above sea level
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Preikestolen rising high above Lysefjord below
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Lysefjord below, and the impressive rocky cliff of Preikestolen high above it
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Stones forming a sign on a rocky ledge above Pulpit Rock with Lysefjord below
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): View from the platform of Preikestolen with the narrow fjords in the background
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): View over Lysefjord and mountains on the other side, from Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Sweeping view of Lysefjord from atop Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Lysefjord seen behind boulders above Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Small pond with reflected rocks right above Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Small lake surrounded by rocks on the hike to Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Landscape of lakes, rocks, and trees on the way up to Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Rocky mountains, trees, and lakes seen from a mountain close to Preikestolen
Picture of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (Norway): Looking west from a mountain close to Pulpit Rock, towards Stavanger and its archipelago

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