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Fløya (almost) and Nattmålsfjellet, Norway

Fløya (almost) and Nattmålsfjellet, Norway

Postby LucieK » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:57 am

Date walked: 20/10/2018

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 11 km

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Most of my conference travel means 99% of work and maybe 1% of playing tourist. It’s usually get in, present, listen to other presentations, get out kind of thing. But I was lucky in October 2018 to be part of a small conference/workshop at the University of Tromsø, which took place on Thursday and Friday, giving me whole Saturday to explore. Having visited the town 12 years prior as a tourist, I decided I wanted to do some hiking in the surrounding area. I found a very helpful website/blog with information on easy hikes around Tromsø, NerdNomads, and hatched a plan. During the conference, one of my colleagues expressed interest in the hike and so I even got a hiking buddy for the day

Fløya (671m)

We started out mid-morning, heading from Tromsø across a bridge toward the Arctic Cathedral. We opted to take the longer, but somewhat gentler route up, leaving the Sherpa Stairs for our return. Turning right at the cable car station, we followed the route along the fjord and up the mountain. It changed from a paved road to a forest path, crossing few streams, slowly ascending toward the ridge and mountain top, while offering views of Tromsø, its fjord, and distant mountains with snowy caps. As we continued climbing, the temperature started to drop and the wind started to pick up. The wind got especially noticeable when we left the tree cover and walked on a bare hillside. Fløya may not be that high, but the October winds were quite strong. I have a suspicion that their favorite pastime is trying to knock hikers off their feet.

Tromsø from Fløya

Finally, we reached a place with a metal flag – well, this must be the top, right? We celebrated, took few pictures, but didn’t stay long due to the icy winds, and headed toward a café/restaurant at the top of a cable car for some hot tea and coffee. There were few snow patches to cross (I’m pretty sure this was the last winter’s snow). At few places the snow was almost knee deep. A little bit cold, we got to the café/restaurant and enjoyed a moment of rest, hot coffee and really nice view of Tromsø. It was only after getting back to Prague and checking the map / hike track on a computer that I realized the place with the flag was not the actual mountain top. This place is about 50 vertical meters lower than the actual summit. I'm little bit bummed we didn't reach the actual top, but it was still a great hike with wonderful views (as much as the clouds allowed) and a great company and discussions. You can take the academics out of their lairs - archives, libraries, conferences - but they will continue to talk about their work, regardless of where they are. Though not to sound completely like workaholics, our work-related discussion took up only about ¾ of the time…. Hmmm, OK, this probably doesn’t improve the image much. But we did take time to enjoy the views.

Descending toward cafe/restaurant on Fløya

We took the Sherpa Staircase back down. The name comes from the fact that the steps were built by Sherpas from Nepal. You can find names of the builders carved on some of the stairs. This route is much steeper than the forest path, but since it’s made of stone stairs, ascent here may not be that challenging. We certainly met more people on this side of the mountain.

On the Sherpa Staircase

The Arctic Cathedral from Fløya

After getting back to Tromsø, we found a nice small café, enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and made plans for the rest of the afternoon. The decision was to try to rent a car and go for another hike nearby. That proved little bit tricky though, as it was already after 3 pm. We found two rental places, both about to close and out of cars. But the gentleman in one of them called their office at the airport and said they had one car left there that we could rent. And he even gave us a lift there in his car, as he was heading that way anyway. My colleague and I counted ourselves truly lucky – you don’t meet such nice and helpful people everywhere.

Map of the hike: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/ODg5OTM1NA==

Nattmålsfjellet, Kvaløya Island (297m)

We picked the car, a small map of Tromsø area, and with instructions obtained from the NerdNomads website and some advice from the guys at the rental place, we heading out for our second hike of the day. We opted for Nattmålsfjellet, a small mountain / hill only about 30 min drive away. We had to consider the late afternoon hour and the daylight that we had left. Finding our way to the right road and then to a small parking lot at the trail head was easy. We parked and quickly headed up the path. Unlike at Fløya, this one was much muddier and slippery at times. As we started around 4:20 pm and didn’t have any head lamps or flash lights with us, we set up a fairly swift pace to get to the top and back before it got dark. Fortunately, the road is relatively easy and gentle, so quicker pace is possible (minus the slipping once in a while).

The hike was quite enjoyable, with views of the surrounding mountains and the ever changing clouds and light, which made for some dramatic scenery. We met only very few people here (probably something to do with it being late afternoon). It took us about 40 min to reach the top of Nattmålsfjellet (and yes, this time we did reach the proper top), which offers beautiful view of two fjords, Ersfjord and Kaldfjord. As the daylight started to fade, the lights of a nearby town started to come out, transforming the view and its mood. I wish we could have stayed longer to see the darkness set in, but without any flashlights, we needed to get back to the car. Few more pictures and off we went again, reaching the car in 40 min with a little bit of light left. Before we started back on the road though, it was completely dark. We drew around the fjord for another hour, trying to get away from town lights, hoping to get a glimpse of the northern lights. But the clouds came in and the cover was way too thick to have a chance, so we gave up and headed back to Tromsø.

Ersfjord (left) and Kaldfjord (right) from Nattmålsfjellet

Kaldfjord from Nattmålsfjellet

Map of the hike: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/ODkyNDM5Mg==

Few months later, while writing this report, I’m still bumped we missed Fløya’s summit. I guess I just have to take it as a challenge and a reason to go back…. There are hikes beyond (and connected to) Fløya, to other nearby mountains one might want to explore…

Helpful site with information for hikes around Tromsø:https://nerdnomads.com/hikes-in-tromso
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Re: Fløya (almost) and Nattmålsfjellet, Norway

Postby jmarkb » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:26 am

Nice one - it's a beautiful area with a lot of great walking. If you ever want some more information for a return visit, let me know!
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Re: Fløya (almost) and Nattmålsfjellet, Norway

Postby LucieK » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:30 pm

jmarkb wrote:Nice one - it's a beautiful area with a lot of great walking. If you ever want some more information for a return visit, let me know!

Thanks jmarkb! I'll keep it in mind, as I would love to go back there and do more hiking in the area.
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