Emirati trio fly flag for the UAE at Norway's Instagram hot spot
The adventurous friends went to great lengths in search of the perfect snap
A trio of intrepid Emiratis went the scenic route to fly the flag for the UAE at one of the world's most 'Instagrammable' beauty spots.
On August 6, Mansoor Al Mehrzi and Sultan Al Nahdi, both 21, and Yousef Al Khoori, 27, trekked for 18 hours, non-stop, to get the perfect snap at Trolltunga in Norway.
The energy-sapping journey to the rock's edge was the three friends' very first trek - and they say they "wouldn't change it for the world".
Located at the western edge of the Hardangervidda plateau, Trolltunga is one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular rock formations.
On the trek back we had finished our supplies so had no food or water
Mansoor Al Mehrzi
Jutting out from the cliff face about 700 metres above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, the popular hiking spot is 1,100m above sea level.
“We chose Trolltunga because it had a spectacular view,” said Mr Al Mehrzi, who is a medical student.
“We had never actually done any kind of hiking before.
“We knew this trek was tough so we wanted to go a bit extreme."
The trio set out on the 27-kilometre round trip at 8am and reached the edge of the suspended rock – which has more than 147,000 tags on Instagram – at 6pm.
They then spent a further eight hours, barely stopping for a break, travelling back.
“Once we reached the summit we felt relieved and excited.
“The view of the lake and mountains surrounding it was extraordinary,” Mr Al Mehrzi said.
Mr Al Nahdi and Mr Al Khoori raised the UAE flag while Mr Al Mehrzi shot drone footage of what he called “a moment of pride”.
“It felt good to wave our country’s colours in such a unique spot.
“Now when people search for Trolltunga on social media, they will see the UAE flag. We're taking it global."
As amateur expeditioners, the trio experienced some struggles along the way.
“On the trek back we had finished our supplies so had no food or water," Mr Al Mehrzi said.
"We were exhausted, dehydrated and our feet were full of blisters, but we wouldn’t change the experience for the world.”
The Emirati trio are not the first group to wave the UAE flag on top of popular global hiking spots.
In 2016, Emirati mountaineer and adventurer Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani flew the UAE colours at the top of the world’s seven summits, the highest mountains on each of the world’s continents.
At that time, Mr Al Thani was one of 350 mountaineers to conquer all seven summits.
Earlier this year, three Emiratis successfully reached the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Standing 5,895m above sea level, the men said they waved the flag to “show the world the strong will of the people of UAE”.
Social media has contributed to a sharp increase in visitors to Trolltunga in recent years. Before 2010, just 800 people hiked to Trolltunga each year, a figure which had rocketed to more than 80,000 annually by 2016.
Updated: August 13, 2019 09:55 AM