Norway’s Trolltunga sees record year with drop in rescues

Guides on the mountain trail have been credited for a sharp fall in the number of tourists being rescued for Norway’s popular Trolltunga hiking trail.

Norway’s Trolltunga sees record year with drop in rescues
Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

The extension into next year of an initiative to increase guards on the path to the attraction remains unconfirmed, but authorities hope for its continuation, writes broadcaster NRK.

“The improvement has been remarkable,” Olaf Bratland of Norway’s Nature Conservation Authority (Statens naturoppsyn, SNO) told NRK.

The unusual and spectacular rock formation has also become more popular than ever before, according to visitor figures.

81,655 people have visited the attraction so far this year, an increase of 19 percent in comparison with 2016, according to NRK.

Overall the site has seen an astonishing increase in visitors, with only 800 tourists taking it in in 2010, according to the report.

Trolltunga (Norwegian for Troll's Tongue) is a rock formation that juts out horizontally from the mountainside 700 metres above the north side of the Ringedalsvatnet lake.

Visitors to the site began to increase drastically in number after it was named by Tripadvisor in 2012 as one of the world’s most spectacular destinations.

But one consequence of the explosion in popularity has been a need for rescue operations on the path leading to the site.

In 2016, the Red Cross dispatched rescuers to help injured and tired tourists from the path on 40 occasions, writes NRK.

That number has almost halved to 21 so far in 2017.

The reduction in rescue missions is partly due to an initiative introduced during the summer of this year in which 24-hour monitoring was placed on the trail in the form of a watchmen. A cabin for the service was also put in place.

“That has been a great improvement this season,” Knut Atle Øyre of the Red Cross Search and Rescue Corps told NRK.

Roald Aga Haug, spokesperson with the local Odda Municipality, told the broadcaster that much work has been done to prevent rescue operations on the Troll’s Tongue path being required.

“We have set many initiatives in motion. We have improved paths and put in bridges, amongst other things,” Haug said.

The spokesperson said that, although the Red Cross watchman had been a trial initiative, plans were also in place for next year.

“We have a list with a series of initiatives for next year. The watchman initiative was a trial arrangement, but we will look to develop it further,” he said.

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