|Kongen from Stigrøra
|Estimated net time||4-5 hours|
There is a touch of exposure at the top of
the south-east ridge, just before you turn right to take on the
south-west couloir, but no technical difficulties. But show some care
just below this point, where the rocks has much less friction than
The couloir after the corner has a lot of loose gravel and stones, so think of hikers below and keep an eye on what's happening above you. If you follow the left side of the couloir you will find good hand holds up the relatively steep couloir.
At the top of the couloir you get to the only point of some technical difficulty, where you either have to climb a corner or traverse a ledge, before you get to the crux of the route. There are very good hand and foot holds.
After the crux you round another corner to get into another couloir, which also has some loose gravel but there are no technical difficulties.
|Drinking water||Stable access to running water up to lake Bispevatnet at 1000m.|
|GSM coverage||No coverage along lake Bispevatnet, patchy up Kongen's south-west couloir, else OK (July 2014).|
|Parking||Room for several cars at Trollstigen visitor centre's car park.|
|Start height||696 metres|
|Vertical metres||960 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||7.8 km|
Kongen trail head seen from above.
From the village Valldal on road 63, north of Storfjorden, drive road 63 in the direction of Åndalsnes (north).
- At 15.1 km you pass the gorge Gudbrandsjuvet.
- At 32.4 km you pass the highest point of the road, Alnesreset.
- At 34.9 km park on large car park by Trollstigen visitor centre, on the right hand side of the road.
Start your hike by crossing the road, walk right (north) to the north end of the small lake, cross the low fence and turn left onto the path that runs along the small lake. Follow this path 200 metres along the small lake, and then uphill to lake Bispevatnet at 1000m. Continue on the right (east) side of the lake, where the path is soon replaced by boulder marked by small cairns.
When you approach the north end of Bispevatnet turn a little right and head up to the saddle between Bispen and Kongen, and then across boulder to Kongen's south-east ridge. The route up the ridge has a fairly visible path marked by small cairns, until it narrows and the route becomes very obvious (just stay on the ridge). When you get up to the top of the ridge at 1360m be aware of a couple of metres with rock with much less friction, but there's no exposure so no need to worry, but you're likely to have to use your hands. After this there is a slightly narrow ledge with a touch of exposure which takes you around a corner and to the bottom of the south-west couloir. The route up the couloir is marked by sufficiently many red dots of paint to make navigation straight forward.
Turn right at the top of the couloir and climb the crux of the hike, which isn't difficult since there are good hand and foot holds. After this round another corner and continue up another couloir, which is much shorter and has less gravel, but you still need to show some care since a fall could have considerable consequences. At the top of this couloir turn a little left and you will soon get to the summit cairn, where you'll also find a small stone hut and a summit registration book inside.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
22. July 2014
The plan for this Tuesday was that Elisabeth, Sigurd, Njål and I would hike Bispen, and we left our cabin at Fjellsetra relatively early. At the Trollstigen car park I was the last of us to leave the car, and as I started my walk I was stopped by the man in the car next to ours. He asked me where I was heading (Bispen), and then said that so was he but had heard that Kongen wasn't any more difficult. He then explained that he had been to Bispen several times, and never to Kongen, and that all information he had gathered the last couple of days indicated that Kongen was a relatively easy hike. Unfortunately I couldn't help him in any way in judging whether Kongen was "easy" or not, and started my hike to catch up with the others.
As I walked along the small lake at Stigrøra I started to think about what the man at the car park had said, and mentioned to Elisabeth that maybe we should hike Kongen instead of Bispen. But we concluded the uncertainties were too considerable and left it as a thought. But when we were overtaken by a hiker a few minutes later, and he said that he was on his way to Kongen, and that Kongen wasn't any more difficult than Bispen, we changed our plan to do Kongen. To be safe I asked Sigurd to stay close to the hiker who had overtaken us, in order to see where he would start his ascent, but in hindsight this seemed pretty unnecessary since there is really only one route up Kongen unless you come from the other side.
Both Kongen and Bispen had a number of hikers on this sunny and warm day, and there were three other hikers at Kongen summit when we were there. One of them was the man I spoke with at the car park, who had left his wife and dog further down since they had concluded the terrain got too difficult for the dog.
The descent was much easier than I had expected from what I experienced when ascending, and apart from Njål feeling a little uncomfortable down the couloir we found it to be an easy and safe walk all the way down.