When I finally made it to the upper gondola station and stood exhausted waiting for the gondola to arrive one of the Norwegians who passed me on the West Wall of Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen just an hour before asked: -so what did you think of the route?
– Do you want my honest answer? I replied with a nervous laugh. – I think this route should not be publicly open to tourists.
What you should know before tackling Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen Vestveggen
If you are a true adrenaline junkie and like me have done plenty of other via ferratas before, then the West wall of Via Ferrata Romsdalstigen will be a great new challenge.
If however, you have never stepped foot on an iron path before, skip this route and instead choose one of the many hikes you can do in Norway.
1. Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen: the stats
- Total distance including the approach: 4.7 km / 3 mi
- Time required: 3.5 – 4 hours
- Total Ascent: 700 m / 2309 ft
- When to go: June – September
- Parking: 62.56669, 7.69106
2. Where is the Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen Vestveggen located?
The iron path runs along the West wall of Mount Nesaksla which stands directly above the little town of Åndalsness in the Møre Of Romsdal county of Norway. The mountain is famous for the gondola which connects the town with its summit.
Mount Nesaksla is also the last summit along the Romsdalseggen, a famous ridge traverse. It’s one of the best hikes in Norway.
3. The map of the Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen
Above you can see the path I followed from the car park to the summit. The distance, elevation gain, and route were measured with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.
Click on the icon in the top left corner of the map to see the different stages of the whole route. The actual via ferrata has been marked in yellow.
4. How difficult is the Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen?
Via ferrata Romsdalsstigen has two separate routes ranging in difficulty:
- Intro Wall – great for beginners with no via ferrata experience
- Vestveggen (West wall) – an advanced route, should only be tackled by experienced people
As a person who has completed many via ferrata routes in the Dolomites, and another via ferrata in Norway (Via Ferrata Loen) I decided to tackle the West wall. I thought to myself, how hard can it be?
Around 15 minutes into the climbing I started questioning everything I knew about via ferratas. This route is no joke. With plenty of overhangs, often 90-degree walls, and some tricky moves which you have to perform to move further, this is a very challenging iron path.
I can safely say that Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen Vestveggen is the toughest route I have done to date.
5. Do you need a guide to complete via ferrata Romsdalsstigen?
No, you don’t. Both routes are open to the public however guided tours get priority. There is a limited daily number of slots that can be booked by self-guided groups.
If you have your own equipment you can go without a guide. Since I own two sets of via ferrata gear my partner and I headed onto Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen after registering our intentions with the visitor center in town and paying the maintenance fee.
6. The cost of Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen: gear rental, guided tours, and maintenance fee
Speaking of payment. If you would like to tackle the route without the help of a guide you need to do a few things beforehand:
- Register your intentions with the Norsk Tindesenter in town. This can be done beforehand on their website. There are 100 slots a day.
- Pay the 200 NOK fee which goes toward maintaining the safety of the route,
- Rent the via ferrata equipment.
How much does it cost to rent via ferrata gear?
The rental price per day is NOK 450. The gear can be rented from the Norsk Tindesenter between 11 AM and 2 PM and it has to be returned by no later than 6 PM.
According to the info on the Norsk Tindesenter website, there is no need to book the equipment in advance, but if you wish you can do it here.
How much does it cost to go on a guided tour?
If you want to join the Intro Wall guided tour, the price of the tour is 990 NOK per person. The tour lasts around 4 hours and the minimum age requirement is 12 years old.
The guided tour on the West wall is more expensive and will set you back 1490 NOK (per person). The tour on the West wall lasts around 5-6 hours and the minimum age requirement is 16.
In both cases, the fee includes the equipment rental. If you are not traveling with appropriate footwear you can rent it for an additional 150 NOK (only guided tours).
7. How to get to the start of Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen
There is no parking in close proximity to the start of the route. It’s best if you park in town on one of the two paid parking lots which I marked on the map.
Since you will get back with the gondola you will end up back at the visitor center, where you registered or rented the gear.
The start of the route is clearly marked on google maps so we just followed the directions on my phone. You can also ask for a small printout map at the Norsk Tindesenter (visitor center).
The route to the start has been marked in blue on my map.
8. Facilities along the Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen
There are public toilets at the visitor center and on the top of the gondola station. You can also grab a celebratory bear, ice cream, or a full meal at the restaurant on the top of the terminal.
There are no facilities along the route, so make sure to pack away any trash with you.
9. Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen route description
Once you make it to the start of the ferrata put your equipment on and prepare for one of the most exhilarating experiences you will have in your life.
The route will test your patience, and ability to stay calm and not panic when you get to an overhang, and will have to figure out how to move forward.
I am not scared of heights, but I did experience slight vertigo a few times when I looked down. The constant thought lurking in the back of my head, thinking about the consequence of a potential fall didn’t want to leave me through the entire trail.
The route is easy to follow and equipped with plenty of metal roads, pegs, and intermittent cables to keep you safe. There are also benches built on easier sections, where you can take a well-deserved rest and take in the views.
Once you reach the wire bridge you are nearing the end of the route. Balancing on the wire bridge, when your heart is pumping 150 beats per minute is a serious undertaking. Only one person at a time can cross whilst the rest of the team cheers on.
The last 15 minutes of the route and around 100 meters of elevation gain is a hike to the gondola station (marked green on the map).
10. What to wear on the Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have appropriate footwear with a good grip along a via ferrata.
Last year I decided to invest in a pair of lightweight Salewa Wildfire Edge approach shoes and have tested them on a few hikes and ferratas. At the moment they are my go-to hiking shoes and I love them.
As for clothing, wear trousers that don’t restrict movement like the La Sportiva Tundra climbing trousers. I also recommend wearing full-length trousers instead of shorts to avoid cuts and scratches.
Shop my via ferrata gear essentials
Black Diamond Helmet
Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must!
Black Diamond Momentum Harness
Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.
Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard
A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.
Black Diamond Crag Gloves
The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.
Reeloq Smartphone Securing System
If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal. When you order Reeloq through my link you will receive 10% discount.
Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)
A few other things to keep in mind
Don’t go after it rained or if rain is in the forecast
This route can quickly become extremely dangerous when wet. We actually got caught in the rain in the very last stage of the via ferrata Romsdalsstigen, right after we crossed the bridge.
By the time we made it to the gondola we were soaked, but I was so happy the rain didn’t come earlier.
Plan enough time
Different people hike and climb at different speeds. Whilst it takes 5-6 hours for the guided tours to complete via ferrata Romsdalstigen, it took us 4 with plenty of photo-stops along the way. If you rented the gear make sure to come back in time to give it back.
Hike down if you want to save money
The gondola ride isn’t cheap and costs 360 NOK one way. If you would like to save money you can hike from the gondola station down to Åndalsnes. This will take approximately 1-1.5 hours. You will pass the famous Rampestreken viewpoint along the way.
It’s not the most enjoyable hike. It’s quite steep with plenty of roots, that get very slippery when wet.
Where to stay around Åndalsnes
Åndalsness is the home of via ferrata Romsdalstigen. The town was built right on the shore of the Isfjord and the mouth of river Rauma which empties into the fjord. Åndalsnes is a popular spot for cruise ships to dock.
There are quite a few accommodation options in Åndalsnes to meet any budget and below are a few I recommend.
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Other hikes and activities to experience near Åndalsnes
Cable car and guide mountain walk
Witness the awe-inspiring landscapes of Åndalsnes from the comfort of a panoramic gondola and learn about the region’s rich history and captivating stories from a knowledgeable local guide. Book your trip below.
The best vantage point of the famous Troll Wall can be reached within 30 mins. Don’t miss out on the great views of Romsdalhorn and the serpentines of the turquoise river Rauma from high above by hiking to Litlefjellet.
A famous Norwegian hike that is raising to a cult status similar to Trolltunga or Preikestolen. Romsdalseggen is a ridge traverse with fantastic views of the Troll Wall, Åndalsnes, and Isfjord.
Who hasn’t seen at least one picture in their life of the famous serpent road called the Trollstigen? It just so happens that it leads to Åndalsnes. It’s definitely one of the must-do experiences in Norway.
This one is still on my list and I will definitely be back in Norway to tackle it. The challenging trail leads to a viewpoint of the Troll Wall and according to the Travel Norway website, the Trollveggen hike is the best option to see it from above.
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