Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Tourists seeking the perfect Instagram shot are putting Norway’s rescue crews under strain

Travellers often come ill-prepared for hikes in the Lysefjorden region, say emergency services

Travellers atop Norway's Pulpit Rock. Courtesy Andreas Gruhle / visitnorway.com / Innovation Norway
Travellers atop Norway's Pulpit Rock. Courtesy Andreas Gruhle / visitnorway.com / Innovation Norway

A quick search of #preikestolen on Instagram throws up more than 174,000 posts.

Most of the pictures show clifftop shots from above the Lysefjorden region. Travellers dangle their feet over the ledge, perform a yoga pose or smile next to babies and pets.

What you probably won’t see are pictures of the growing number of rescue operations that the Norwegian People’s Aid are having to undertake as inexperienced or ill-prepared climbers try to get the perfect picture in this beauty spot.

Rescuers from the Norwegian People’s Aid have been involved in 74 assignments in the mountain plateau so far this year. That’s 14 more than 2018, and we’re only halfway through the year.

According to Arne Alvsik, emergency manager at the Norwegian People’s Aid, much of this increase is down to bad weather and the fact that more people are visiting the area, many of them without the right preparation.

Located more than 600 metres above Lysefjorden, one of Norway’s most picturesque fjords, visiting Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock in English, requires a four-hour hike.

In good weather, there is a clear trail and the trek is relatively simple. However, in adverse weather conditions, this track can become slippery and hard to follow, which can make the hike much longer.

That doesn’t seem to discourage travellers hunting an Instagram shot or movie fans hoping to set-jet to the peak, which featured in last year's Mission: Impossible Fallout. Lines of tourists queuing up to get the perfect social media shot are all too common.

Edvard Middelthon, from the Main Rescue Centre in southern Norway, has complained that some tourists don’t come prepared and arrive dressed in clothes that are too thin for the weather forecast, local newspaper Dagbladet reports.

The country witnessed summer snowfall in June and last week the meteorology office warned of snow in the mountains.


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Updated: July 10, 2019 10:53 AM