The Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most spectacular natural sights. It stretches into the air high up over the Sørfjord. To stand up there once and look down on the world – that would be nice. If only it weren’t for a little problem – a problem called fear of heights.
I am a little afraid of heights, to be honest. Actually, a little might even be a little bit of an understatement. Depending on height and circumstances, my knees get weak like either jelly or pudding when I am at the edge of a precipice. I can’t walk over see-through metal grid grounds in dizzy heights and low balustrades and walls make me feel awkward. I approach any abyss cautiously, slowly, and then, most of the time, I’ll dart away from it the second I reach it. From time to time though, I manage to stand still, breathing deeply and tightly gripping something. A short while ago, when in Dubai, I managed to lean against the glass balustrade of a skyscraper’s roof terrace and gaze over the city. Only when I looked down directly at the street beneath, my pulse forced me to retreat onto safe territory. Never look down directly…
I remember playing at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland as a kid. I crawled to the edge of the steep on all fours and let my head dangle over the cliff – much to my parents’ annoyance and fear. My own fear of heights caught me much later – but I never stopped walking at the edge for a dare. Many years after visiting the Cliffs of Mohair, I looked down into the Grand Canyon from an unsecured ledge. Which was extremely eerie – and extremely exciting. I don’t try to avoid the abyss, I try to befriend it. It fascinates me.
Which is why one time, I want to stand up there, at Trolltunga, and look at the world, at the Sørfjord in Norway. Look down on the Ringedalsvatnet retaining lake 350 meters beneath it. Stand at the edge, unsecured, breathing deeply and listening to my pulse taking up speed. Trolltunga means troll’s tongue in English, a ledge, ten meters long that gets smaller and thinner to the front – just like a poked tongue. Up there, I’ll poke my tongue out at my own fear and say, take that, I can do it! Wouldn’t that be nice.
Trolltunga isn’t easy to reach. The cable car that transported people to the crest from Skjeggedal from the beginning of the 20th century onward was closed down in 2012. A road is still in its planning stage. Until it is finished, the only way to get up is by foot, either via an eleven kilometer hiking trail or by following the closed down tracks of the cable car on 2.551 steps and 960 meters.