Outdoorlife Norway
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Tour Origins

As the leading supplier of guided outdoor adventures in the Lysefjord, Outdoorlife Norway has developed a portfolio of uniquely-designed tours to the Lysefjord’s most iconic natural wonders. Besides offering hikes to well known landmarks including Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and Kjerag, our professional guides also lead guests on multi-day treks along lesser-known, ‘off the beaten track’ routes to some of the region’s hidden gems.

Below, we’ve detailed the origins of our most popular hiking adventures. You’ll find that every tour we organize originated from a deep-rooted passion to supply our guests with authentic wilderness experiences – away from the crowds. 

Off-Season Guided Tours to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) – Where it all Started!

Before establishing Outdoorlife Norway in 2014, our founder, Johannes, worked at Stavanger’s tourist information office. At that time, the number of visitors hiking to Preikestolen during the summer was steadily increasing every year. At the tourist information office, it was common practice to advise tourists against hiking to Preikestolen from late autumn to early spring. The reason for doing so was because they were worried that people would not manage Preikestolen’s often challenging off-season trail conditions. For inexperienced and/or unequipped hikers who are not familiar with winter conditions, the hike could pose a safety threat. Officially, there was little done as far as facilitating hiking outside of the summer/tourist season. Furthermore, there wasn’t at the time a guiding company that offered off-season tour.  Johannes wanted to change this.

When he founded Outdoorlife Norway, it was Johannes’ dream to help small groups of guests hike to Preikestolen with the safety of a local nature guide, as well as to facilitate the complicated logistics and equipment needed for off-season hiking. The very first tour Johannes designed for Outdoorlife Norway was a winter hike to Preikestolen. He later applied the (slightly altered) concept to autumn and spring hikes as well. “I always tried to include some love in the form of small extras like serving warm black current juice at the summit and sharing stories about local history. Along the way, I also told my guests about the flora and fauna around us.” To add value to the Preikestolen hikes, Johannes concluded his tours with a post-hike lunch at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, which is located at the trailhead. “What’s better than a well-deserved, delicious bowl of hot, home-made soup and freshly-baked bread after a chilly day in the mountains?”

Outdoorlife Norway’s off-season tours to Preikestolen proved to be well-received by tourists from all over the world. With each passing year, the number of people visiting the natural icon during the off-season increases. As of the beginning of 2019, our guides have safely led several thousand guests to Preikestolen outside of the summer season. Despite that, because our passion is to supply true wilderness experiences, we still keep our group sizes small. Our off-season tours to Preikestolen figuratively put Outdoorlife Norway on the world map: the tourist information office in Stavanger now encourages visitors to join our tours to Preikestolen, and Fjord Norway has coined a term for exploring the fjords outside of the summer season: Go Viking!

Preikestolen Sunrise Hike – A New Twist on a Tried & True Concept!

The idea of guiding visitors to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) under the cover of night was born after our founder, Johannes, had spent months leading small groups of guests to Preikestolen during the off-season. The summer/tourist season was quickly approaching, at which time countless numbers of people would be hiking the main trail up to Preikestolen. Johannes wanted to develop a tour that would maintain his vision of supplying his guests with true wilderness experiences, away from the crowds.

“When I launched the Preikestolen Sunrise Hike in 2015, people – even those in the tourism industry – shook their heads. They couldn’t understand why anyone would want to get up in the middle of the night to hike in the dark…for that matter in cold and cloudy Norway.” As the sceptics soon discovered, the ever-changing Norwegian weather conditions turned out to be the very reason people were willing to brave the darkness and hike the trail using headlamps. “Clouds and fog create fantastic light conditions. The way the morning’s first rays of sun dance across the landscape is nothing short of magical. The name Lysefjord means ‘fjord of lights’, afterall!”

Realizing the value of capturing images of the Lysefjord at sunrise, Johannes made sure to bring a camera along on every tour. When people saw examples of what they could expect from a Preikestolen Sunrise Hike, they were excited to join the tour. Having the opportunity to witness the sun’s golden rays light up the Lysefjord’s enormous granite mountainsides at dawn was worth the extra effort. The fact that they would be hiking in near-solitude was simply frosting on the cake.

After guiding small groups of guests through the darkness to Preikestolen for four full seasons, our sunrise hike has become Outdoorlife Norway’s signature tour. In the time since we began offering the Preikestolen Sunrise Hike, representatives from local and national media outlets as well as a range of international bloggers and journalists have eagerly joined our guides on the unique tour. “Of course, we do not see the sunrise on every tour. Weather conditions are fickle like that. But we always beat the crowds, and we create unique, unforgettable outdoor experiences.” The tour has become so well-known among travelers that Outdoorlife Norway regularly receives inquiries from people who would like our help in executing surprise sunrise proposals on the plateau. “We are honored that people want to include us in such a special moment in their lives!”

Preikestolen ‘Off the Beaten Track’ – A More Challenging, High-Season Alternative to Following the Marked Trail.

When our founder, Johannes, started Outdoorlife Norway in 2014, his vision was to deliver authentic wilderness experiences in and around the Lysefjord. He wanted his guests to feel the exhilaration of being on true outdoor adventures. By the time early spring 2015 rolled around, Johannes started milling over the idea that it might be possible to reach Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) by navigating along forgotten and/or non-existent trails. Since autumn the prior year, he had been guiding guests along the marked trail to the plateau. While it was almost deserted during the low-season, he was aware that, come summer, the trail would be overflowing with visitors. “I wanted to offer high-season visitors an alternative tour that, in addition to avoiding the crowds, would give them a more authentic outdoor experience.”

With the hopes of finding a viable alternative route to Preikestolen, Johannes dove into archives and old maps of the area surrounding the plateau. “Hoping that there were tourists that would prefer a more demanding hike than the marked trail offered, I searched for routes that would be longer and more challenging to complete. Of course, I also wanted to make sure the tour offered exclusive viewpoints not seen from the trail.” Once Johannes established a possible route alternative on paper, he went into the field to test it out on foot. After several attempts, which included running into unexpected, impossible obstacles and nearly getting lost in the wilderness, he successfully mapped out a route that would take guests on an off the beaten track adventure, complete with canoe paddling.

To ensure that possible guests understood that this tour offered a unique hiking experience, Johannes decided to call the hike Preikestolen ‘Off the Beaten Track’. “There were only a few guests on first few tours I organized along the new route. I started to think that maybe I was wrong about people wanting more of a challenge.” However, the feedback from those who did join was overwhelmingly positive. “During each tour, I could hear my guests gasping with surprise over what they experienced. There were ‘Ohhhhhs!!’ and ‘Woahs!’ from start to finish! Determined to make the new tour work, I asked the guests who joined to help me spread the word.” When he organized a tour, Johannes always made sure to capture photos along the route, especially of the exclusive viewpoints. Thanks to a little perseverance and the power of social media, interest in the tour grew.

“After completing 4 full seasons of ‘Off the Beaten Track’ hikes to Preikestolen, I am proud to say that it’s become one of our signature tours. While the tour is substantially more challenging that hiking up the marked trail, feedback from the guests who join it confirms that it’s well worth the extra effort. People seem to love the variety the tour offers…especially padding over a lake in canoes.” While the visitor numbers to Preikestolen are ever-increasing, Outdoorlife Norway’s ‘Off the Beaten Track’ hike will ensure that guests can avoid the crowds and hike in peace and solitude for seasons to come.

Kjerag Summer Hike ‘Beat the Crowds’ – A Natural Addition to Outdoorlife Norway’s Portfolio!

When our funder, Johannes, decided to start a nature guiding business, his initial plan was to focus on off-season guided hikes to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). He wanted to develop tours that would supply his guests with true wilderness experiences, away from the crowds. By the time early spring 2015 rolled around, he had spent months leading small groups of guests to Preikestolen during the off-season. He realized that the summer season was just around the corner and that, in order to maintain his vision, he would have to develop some unique alternatives to hiking to Preikestolen via the marked trail. After developing two alternative high-season tours to the landmark, Johannes realized he might be able to grow his business further by adding Kjerag tours to his portfolio.

Even though Kjerag is a bucket list destination for many hiking enthusiasts, it’s pretty challenging to reach, both in terms of transportation logistics and, for some, in terms of safely hiking to the boulder. Many tourists struggled with finding their way to the trailhead and with successfully reaching the landmark. At the time, there were no other activity providers in the area. Johannes was confident that he could design a guided tour to Kjerag that would fill the demand for a safe, hassle-free, authentic outdoor experience. “It was my goal to make the experience of hiking to Kjerag smooth, safe, and fun.”

Outdoorlife Norway’s trial tours to Kjerag included all logistics, optional equipment rentals, and a guarantee of a safe hiking experience. To ensure that he avoided the crowds as much as possible, Johannes scheduled his Kjerag summer tour to start at a much earlier time. “By being among the first visitors to reach the boulder, I made sure my guests enjoyed hiking in near-solitude, which allowed them to ‘hear’ the silence of nature. They also had the advantage of not needing to wait in line before standing atop the boulder.” As expected, the tour became an immediate hit with travellers. 

Shortly after Johannes added the Kjerag summer tour to Outdoorlife Norway’s portfolio, the demand for guided tours during the off-season started increasing. More and more travellers were looking to experience Norway’s harsh climate and raw nature outside the tourist season. Today, Outdoorlife Norway offers guided tours to Kjerag throughout the year, complete with a cruise through the Lysefjord.

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