Norway is known for its fjords and mountains. Walking in the mountains is practically a national sport and Norwegians of all ages have reached the top of the country’s highest mountain. For tourists, Norway is maybe more of a winter destination – but the mountains are not just for skiing.

In 2022 via ferrata, a new type of climbing experience, arrived in Bodø, Northern Norway. Via ferrata is Italian for iron path and is a protected climbing route usually found in the Alps and certain other alpine locations. The protection includes steel fasteners such as cables and railings, hence the name iron path. The climber can use these to either hold onto or clamp onto.

Via ferrata at Rampen: Embrace the iron path of Northern Norway

Close to nature and the city

Bodø is a small and cosy city by the sea. It is a great place to start if travelling to the Lofoten islands. What is so great about the via ferrata at Rampen is how close it is to Bodø. It is less than ten minutes from the city centre by car, or a 45 to 55 minute walk – a perfect activity when you only have a day or two in the city.

Via ferrata at Rampen: Embrace the iron path of Northern Norway

“The Bodø area offers a lot of good traditional climbing,” says Svein Inge Sjøbu, CEO of Rampen. “But via ferrata is something else in that it makes it possible for anyone who wants to experience the thrill of climbing steep mountains to do so, even if you don’t have equipment or experience with rock climbing. There are no other via ferratas in the immediate vicinity. The steep via ferrata is also open in winter; very few other via ferratas are. It offers an even more unique experience and is something that visitors have given very good feedback on.”

Alongside the via ferrata, they offer abseiling and can put together experience packages together with others. This includes e-bikes, RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), and dog sledging in the winter, with more exciting activities to come.

Via ferrata at Rampen: Embrace the iron path of Northern Norway

There is no bad weather

What makes this via ferrata so special is its northern location. Norwegian weather is diverse – especially along its long coastline. The winters this far north are long and dark, but the summers are mild and light. The midnight sun allows you to climb late at night. If you are lucky, in the winter the northern lights will keep you company. With the lack of light pollution, as long as the sky is clear, you are guaranteed a beautiful sight.

In Norway there is a saying: “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing”. Rampen has never cancelled a booking. Climbing in the rain with the waves crashing beneath will make anyone feel like the hero in an action movie. Just remember to dress for the weather.

Safety is of utmost importance, no matter the weather. Rampen provides robust equipment and a knowledgeable guide who leads the climb and provides assistance when needed. There are never more than six people per guide. “Our guides have a varied background but all have experience with traditional climbing,” Sjøbu says. “Furthermore, we have thorough internal training on how trips should be carried out and how any situations should be handled.”

Via ferrata at Rampen: Embrace the iron path of Northern Norway

Two different routes

Rampen offers two different routes. Both are relatively demanding, but no climbing experience is necessary. The guides are on hand to help, should you need it. The routes can be climbed by the vast majority of people who want to try. Though, if you are afraid of heights this might not be for you.
The time needed to complete each route depends on the size of the group and how many breaks you take, but a good estimate is two hours. This includes reviewing the equipment and returning.

The first route climbs straight up from the sea. It has a lot of vertical climbing, but is well secured. This route is less physically demanding and offers a great view both out towards Landegode and Vestfjorden and along the north side of the Bodø Peninsula.

Via ferrata at Rampen: Embrace the iron path of Northern Norway

The second route follows the cliff further, vertically above the sea. Both routes begin with a Nepal bridge, and this one has an additional one halfway along the route. This route also has overhanging parts which require a bit more arm strength and may challenge the psyche.

There is no need to bring much to the climb. All equipment is provided, but it can be a good idea to bring a water bottle and an energy bar to refuel. You will probably also want to take pictures once you reach the top, so make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.

Via ferrata at Rampen: Embrace the iron path of Northern Norway

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