Making rough Norwegian landscape accessible to more people than simply experienced hikers and extreme sports enthusiasts is a difficult undertaking.
The work has been carried out with award-winning accuracy for more than ten years by representatives of a group of people who live in, off, and for the mountains – the Sherpas, who have traditionally lived in eastern Himalaya, India, Tibet, and Nepal.
“The Sherpas are one of the most resilient ethnic groups on the planet. They have incredible stamina and can work at a high rate for months at a time. They can carry their own body weight for days without becoming fatigued, as a rule of thumb. They can, of course, transport huge cargo and travel long distances. I’ve seen some of them carry more than 200 kilogrammes in Nepal.”
Geirr Vetti, a trail-builder, mountain farmer, and master carpenter, is a pioneer in this industry. He has arranged interaction between Sherpas from Nepal and various trail-building projects all around Norway for years – twelve to be exact.
He thinks the Sherpas’ keen awareness of their surroundings is ideal for the Norwegian climate.
The men who are cleaning up nature in Norway are from the aforementioned countries. They’ve already left unmistakable marks in Norway’s mountains, and tales of their physical prowess are enough to impress even the most jaded Norwegian couch potato.
As the Sherpas lay slab after slab of stone in a staircase-like pattern, they are doing more than just beautiful work. New records are being set all the time.
Norway’s longest stone stairs were built at Midsund, outside of Molde, to the summit of Digertoppen Mountain, which stands 527 metres above sea level. Over the course of a year, the number of people hiking up to Fjellheisen in Troms has doubled, with 100,000 strong hikers of all ages tackling the mountain stairs with vigour.
Other sites that have benefited immensely from the Sherpas’ expert handiwork include Hallingskarvet, Geiranger, Jostedalsbreen, and Ulriken in Bergen.