28. Jul 2003 (22.00 CET) - Andorra
Petter called me and had some additional information about Coma Pedrosa
that he forgot to write in the report. This illustrates how difficult it is
to know the real height of a mountain. The height differs from source to
source, and that is also the reason why our list had wrong height for some
of the mountains. When they arrived the summit earlier today they could read
on a sign that the height of Coma Pedrosa is
2.941 m. Their map (a tourist map of Andorra) said 2.939 m. They met
somebody on the top who had a topographical map, this said 2.946 m. Someone
even had a book that described mountains in the region. This said that the
height was 2.942 m. Petter told me that his GPS showed 2.940 m, so they had
5 different heights to chose among. We have decided to use the height
written on the summit, unless there is new official published height.
Therefore the height of Coma Pedrosa must be 2.941
m. This have to be correct since their GPS has shown 1-2 meters less than
the real heights during the whole expedition. Here is the report from the
last real mountain in the Top Europe expedition:
Pic de Coma Pedrosa in Andorra
The highest mountain in the small principality of Andorra is called Coma
Pedrosa and is 2.941 m high. Andorra is located in the Pyrenees between
France and Spain.
Most of the Sunday we spent driving from Monaco to Andorra. The climate in
the highland of Andorra is a bit cooler than the previous countries, and it
was good to escape from the heat we had felt the last couple of days. Before
we went to bed at a camping place in Xixerella, we used some hours trying to
find a good route up the mountain. This night we slept very well because of
the temperature. We haven't unpacked the tent one time during the whole
expedition. We love to sleep outside in the free nature when the weather
Coma Pedrosa is the last real mountains during our expedition. Therefore we
wanted to take a real hard route to the top. We found a rout where we had to
do some climbing. We started from Arinsal at around 1600 m. Up the valley we
followed a road to the Estany hut at 2050 m. The last 900 elevation meters
is very steep and we had to use both hands and feet to reach the top. This
has to be the last climbing experience in the Top Europe expedition.
Vi took another rout during descent. We followed an edge that gave us a
great view towards the Pyrenees. We also saved our bad knees by taking a
lift the last part. We had a great experience and on our way down we saw 5
eagles at close range.
Now we and our Chevy van have turned our noses northwards. We're longing
home to Norwegian summer. We still have many miles to drive, but we try to
reach Luxembourg by tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Wednesday/Thursday we will
ascent the hills in the Benelux-countries and Friday we will be in Denmark,
if everything goes as planned...
27. Jul 2003 (23.00 CET) - Report from Monaco
This text is not translated to English yet.
26. Jul 2003 (23.00) - Reports from Vatican and the Azores
This text is not translated to English yet.
24. Jul 2003 (23.00) - Ponta do Pico summited
This text is not translated to English yet.
23. Jul 2003 (23.00) - Report from Malta
This text is not translated to English yet.
23. Jul 2003 (14.00) - Malta
This text is not translated to English yet.
22. Jul 2003 (09.00) - Rome and the Vatican
This text is not translated to English yet.
21. Jul 2003 (15.30) - Report from San Marino
This text is not translated to English yet.
21. Jul 2003 (10.30) - San Marino
Monte Titano were summited this morning. They are now driving to Rome.
20. Jul 2003 (16.00) - San Marino here we
The boys did not need much rest after climbing Mont Blanc. They are
already on their way to San Marino where they will climb Monte Titano, 739
meters high. Mont Blanc and Mont Blanc de Courmayeur were summited as
planned yesterday. The Italian top (de Courmayeur) happened to be more
difficult than we thought. They used 3 hours up and down from the summit
that is not far from the main summit of Mont Blanc.
We are a little embarrassed to admit that our Norwegian mountain,
Galdhoepiggen, was not included in the total elevation meters on our home
page. It's now corrected. The vikings have around 8.000 elevation meters
left before they have completed Europe. Only two of the remaining mountains
are higher than 1000 meters. Later this evening we will give you report and
pictures from the French and the Italian national top.
19. Jul 2003 (23.00) - Mont Blanc summited
Mont Blanc and Mont Blanc de Courmayeur were both summited today. We
will give you the report tomorrow. I assume the group is down in Chamonix
18. Jul 2003 (16.00) - On their way to Monte Blanc
In this moment Petter, Torbjoern and Gisle are on their way up Mont
Blanc, the highest mountain during the expedition. They will spend the night
up in the mountain before go for the summit tomorrow. The same day they will
cross the border to Italy and summit the Italian national top, Mont Blanc de
Courmayeur. This summit is located only a few 100m from the main summit of
17. Jul 2003 (21.00) - Monte Rosa
The boys have during the evening driven to Chamonix in France. Tomorrow
they plan to start the climbing of Mont Blanc. Here is their report from
Dufourspitze in Switzerland
Monte Rosa is a huge mountain massif. The highest peak is called
Dufourspitze and is 4.634 meters high. The Swiss Alps has several peaks
above 4.000 m. Matterhorn, located close to Monte Rosa, is the most famous
of them. We had a great view against Matterhorn during our ascent.
We parked our car in Täsch. From Täsch we took the train to Zermatt, a
little town with a crowd of tourists. From Zermatt we took another train up
to Rotenboden, around 2.800 m a.s.l. The route from Rotenboden goes up a
valley, crossing a glacier, and up to Monte Rosa Hut. It took us around 2
hours getting there.
In the hut we met Oeyvind Sandbakk, a Norwegian cross-country skier together
with his Swiss girlfriend, Silvana Bucher. They are both very promising
skiers and are preparing for the coming season. We decided to join them up
to the summit the day after.
We slept on a overcrowded room, and had only a few hours sleep before we
woke up at 2 am. The glacier had a lot of crevasses. It was difficult
finding the way through the dangerous labyrinth. The return was easier,
because we could follow our own footprints. Just before the top edge there
were two steep icefalls, up to 50%. The wind was hard. Silvana decided to
turn around. She was not comfortable climbing this sort of glacier. She
waited for us in a snow cave while we continued to the summit. We also met a
group of four persons who also had turned around. They were anxious for the
The top edge was much harder than we had expected. It was not very
technical, but it went up and down all the time, and the wind and the thin
air made it even more difficult. Luckily the wind was did not increase, but
clouds were covering the summit. We used twelve hours before we came down to
the hut again. We did not want to sleep another night in the over-crowded
hut, so we walked another two hours back to Rotenboden. We will now spend
the night in a comfortable hotel in Täsch. Good night!
16. Jul 2003 (18.55) - Monte Rosa summited
I just got and SMS from which reads: "Monte
Rosa OK! Resting day tomorrow."
We will wait until tomorrow to publish report and pictures from Switzerland.
I am sorry that our plan previously had wrong altitude for Dufourspitze. The
correct should be 4.634 m, 5 meter below what our list said. I assume
that Petter&co could confirm this tomorrow.
16. Jul 2003 (18.30 CET) - Monte Rosa
Hopefully the group have summited Monte Rosa today and are on their way
back to Zermatt. I've not heard from them today, but I will update their
status as soon as I hear from them.
15. Jul 2003 (17.00 CET) - Monte Rosa Hut
Torbjoern told me (from Switzerland) that they were ready to start the
first leg on Monte Rosa. They were ascending to the Monte Rosa Hut. The
weather was bad wind, rain and clouds in the mountain. They were optimistic
though and were hoping for better weather tomorrow. The huge rock fall in
Matterhorn today has attracted attention among climbers in the Alps. Luckily
nobody was hurt in this accident, but it tells us to be aware of dangers
when climbing in high and steep mountains.
If the weather is good tomorrow, they will try to summit Dufourspitze and
return to Zermatt. They also want to change the original plan climb Mont
Blanc before leaving the Alps. That means that they will use Thursday
driving to Chamonix and to climb the first leg. Friday will be the first
opportunity to summit Mont Blanc. But all this is depending on good weather.
In case of bad weather they will have to wait.
15. Jul 2003 (11.30 CET) - Report from Grauspitze
Grauspitze in Liechtenstein:
Grauspitze is the highest mountain in Liechtenstein. It is 2.599 meters high
and is located on the Swiss border in the south. Liechtenstein is a small
Principality, only 160 km2, and has borders to Switzerland and Austria.
We arrived Vaduz, the capital, late Sunday evening. The castle where the
Prince lives, is placed on a height just outside the city center. A local
told us that in this little country almost everybody knew each other. He
showed us a park where we could camp. This park had WC, drinking water and
wood, everything was free. We had a good night sleep here in this park, and
nobody disturbed us.
Monday morning we had no problem locate the mountain. In the valley Malbun,
we got the information that we needed from a Norwegian lady who had moved
here some time ago. We were told that two mountains close to Grauspitze were
much more visited. These summits were marked with crosses, but Grauspitze
had no cross marking it's summit.
The weather was very nice, one of our best climb so far during the
expedition. We parked the car in a little place called Steg. After walking
up the valley for around an hour, we were all alone. Nobody else were
climbing Grauspitze this day. The summit ridge were long and steep and
involved some easy climbing. On the summit we found a pile of rocks and a
guest book. We missed a symbol that showed us that this was the highest peak
in Liechtenstein. We wrote a whole page in the guest book telling this,
hoping to get the Prince to put up a sign or a cross on the summit of
We sat on the top for a long time, enjoying the excellent view towards Liechtenstein
and Switzerland. It was the 23rd mountain during our expedition, only 13 to
14. Jul 2003 (19.15 CET) - Grauspitze summited
The boys are now on their way down from Grauspitze in Liechtenstein. It
was a beautiful mountain. We will give you report pictures from the mountain
They will now continue to Switzerland where the highest point is
Dufourspitze in the Monte Rosa massif. It is the only mountain besides Mont
Blanc where they plan to use two days. It is also the most technical
difficult mountain during the whole expedition.
14. Jul 2003 (18.20 CET) - New pictures in our photo album
We just added some new pictures from Romania and Macedonia/Albania.
There are also new pages for the last mountains. As soon as the group is
able to find a faster Internet connection, we will be able to give you more
pictures from the latest mountains.
13. Jul 2003 (23.00 CET) - Germany and Zugspitze
The vikings summited Zugspitze today. They are one day ahead of
schedule. In fact they are already in Liechtenstein and are trying to climb
Grauspitze tomorrow. Here is their report from the German mountain:
Zugspitze in Germany
Zugspitze is 2.963 m high. The
highest mountain in Germany is located on the border to Austria in the south
close to the famous ski resort Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
If mountains could speak, Zugspitze probably would have said it was having
great pain. It has not been well treated by the humans. A big cable car
stretches all the way from the valley to the summit. A railroad starts from
the same spot and ends 300 elevation meters from the top. From there a
smaller cable car takes you the last distance to the top. On the top there
are a lot of buildings. It looked almost like a market place. Cables and
tubes stretches down form the top. You have to walk up several iron stairs
and through some restaurants to get to the summit that is marked with a
A lot of people visited Zugspitze this day. Most of them took the cable car
or the train. For the second time our group was split into two parts. One of
the parts took the cable car from the valley, while the other part decided
to walk up from around 1.600 m. The walking group took the train to Riffelriss.
Unfortunately they missed the station so they had to take the train all the
way up and down to Riffelriss again. They lost around an hour through this
The next surprised happened when the group reached a smaller top at around
2.200 m. The path did not go further up, but down the valley on the other
side before it went up the mountain side again. The group now made the
decision that they should leave the path and continue up the mountain side.
At 2.600 m the group had to give up. It was impossible to reach the top from
here without climbing equipment. They gave up and returned to the car. Feeling
a little stupid they took the train up to 2.600 m again and walked up to the
Zugspitze has to be a big money maker. The cable cars and trains are very
expensive. The main cable car from the valley costs 44 Euro up and down. But
if you like to get high without climbing, Zugspitze is perfect.
12. Jul 2003 (11 CET) - Snezka in Czech
The Czech national top, Snezka, was summited today. The mountain is 1.602 m
high. They have now used 4 weeks completing the 21 first national tops. This
is exactly as scheduled. They will now drive back through Germany to
Zugspitze. The plan is to climb it Monday. Zugspitze is located at the
Austrian border, so they will have yet another long drive. But after
Zugspitze the distances to the mountains in Liechtenstein and Switzerland
are short. I think both the boys and the car is happy about that fact.
Some more pictures from Romania and from Macedonia/Albania are on their way.
We will present these in our photo album on Monday. Here is the report from
Snezka in the Czech Republic
Snezka is 1.602 meters high. The mountain is located around 150 km northeast
of Prague in the Sudets mountain range.
We arrived the ski resort Pec pod Snezkou last night after we had driven
700 kilometer through Austria and Czech Republic. Pec pod Snezkou is the
starting point for the 6 km walk up to Snezka. In the winter you can even
take a ski lift all the way to the top.
We were tired and went to bed once the car was parked. We decided to sleep
outside one more time. This is great as long as it's not raining. Tonight we
had a heavy shower, so we had to get into the car until it stopped raining.
We started the walk early in the morning. It was an easy mountain to summit,
and from the top we could see several paths going up the mountain. A lot of
people were visiting the mountain this day. We have hardly seen so many
people on one mountain anytime.
In Norway we have a mountain (Snoehetta) that has the same meaning as Snezka
(snow cap). Torbjoern, who has been over 60 times on the Norwegian Snezka,
had looking forward to this mountain. He was a bit disappointing finding a
small mountain without any snow on the top.
We will now drive back through Germany to Zugspitze after a short stop in
Prague. We hope to be ahead of schedule after we have summited Zugspitze.
11. Jul 2003 (21 CET) - Driving through the Czech Republic
They are now on their way to the mountain Snezka which is located in the
north of the Czech Republic at the Polish border. They plan to summit Snezka
tomorrow. They are tired of all the driving. They have driven about 8.500 km
in 27 days. This gives an average of more than 310 km a day. It is also
approximately 20% of the distance around the earth at equator.
11. Jul 2003 (17.00 CET) - Rapport from Grossglockner
Grossglockner in Austria:
Grossglockner, 3.798 meters a.s.l., is the highest mountain in Austria. The
mountain is located in Hohe Tauern National Park, about 120 km southwest of Salzburg.
The north face of the mountain range is covered with a big glacier, and a
part of it stretches down the valley. The valley is deep with steep, green
sides. In the valley the tourist place Heiligenblut is located. It is even
more tourists here during the winter.
We had not studied the routes up to the mountain. We thought it was an easy
walk. We were a bit surprised when we arrived Heiligenblut in the evening we
saw a steep mountain covered with snow and ice. It was raining heavily in
the valley, and snowing up in the mountain. In the hotel Glocknerhaus
we were told that the conditions up in the mountain were bad and they highly
recommended us to use a guide. It was usual spending two days Grossglockner
and overnight in a hut just below the top.
The time was now 10 pm and it was not easy to arrange a guide for tomorrow
morning. After some calls we luckily did manage to get a guide. The staff at
the hotel said he was a tough guy. He accepted to take us to the summit
tomorrow even if he did not want to go. They told us that he had long hair
and beard and people called him Jesus because of the look.
After 4 hours sleep three excited and a bit tired Norwegians were waiting to
be inspected by Jesus, or Engelbert that his real name was. He was critical,
but decided to take us with him. He started speeding up the valley. During
the first hour hardly a single word was spoken. It looked like he tried to
prove that we weren't able to do the climb in one day. He told us that he
would turn around and we believed in him. At this time we felt he was the
opposite of Jesus.
After the first hour he was slowing down, and none of us had any problem to
follow. We had passed his test, and Engelbert was starting to look more like
Jesus again. He was a very nice guy, and we hope to meet him again sometime.
He called himself a "gipsy rebel". His grandfather was a gipsy,
and he used the word rebel because he wanted to go his own way and do things
his way. "A real cool guy" we thought.
Using two days is recommendable, not only because its a physical hard climb,
but because it is important to reach the summit early in the day. In the
morning the climbing conditions are best and the traffic is low. Our guide
would have liked to overnight in the hut because his girlfriend is working
Vi climbed the normal route ascending the mountain from south. We passed
some small glaciers where we had to use rope because of the crevasses. The
last part up to the summit is very steep, up to 50%, and we had to use
crampons and ice axes.
Grossglockner is definitely worth a visit, but not if you are afraid of
heights. It's a lot of people in the mountain and it is difficult to pass each other
in the narrow paths. We saw a man who had tied himself to the mountain,
refusing to go any further. Today, Friday, we will drive Through the Czech
Republic to the mountain Snezka. There are a ski lift almost to the summit.
We'll see if we are going to use it. Have a nice weekend.
11. Jul 2003 (15.00 CET) - More photos added
We just added some new pictures from Macedonia/Albania and Bulgaria to the
10. Jul 2003 (17.00 CET) - Grossglockner top #20
The Vikings have now summited their 20th mountain. There are only 16 to go.
Grossglockner appeared to be the first mountain where we misjudged the
difficult level. The mountain is steep, and it requires some climbing. It is
also recommended to hire a guide. Even if the elevation is not so high, it
is still usual spending two days on the normal route to the top.
They will now rest in Osttirol till tomorrow. Then they will probably
continue the drive north through the Czech Republic. The highest mountain in
Czech Republic is Snezka. It is a popular mountain, especially in the winter
because of the ski resort. It is easy to ascent. There is a chair lift all
the way to the top. It is also a easy walk if you choose to use your legs.
Lets see what our Viking friends choose. In the meantime we are waiting for
the report and pictures from Tirol.
9. Jul 2003 (21.00 CET) - Report from Triglav
Triglav in Slovenia
Triglav at 2.864 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain in Slovenia.
The mountain is located about 80 km northwest of the capital Ljubljana
within the Triglav National Park. The famous ski resort Kranjska
Gora and the ski-jump arena Planica are located nearby.
We drove left by a village called Mojstrana up the valley Vrata. The
mountain rises 1.850 meters up from the valley and is a great sight. The
weather was nice and warm, so we decided to camp besides the road. What we
didn't see in the darkness was that this happened to be the parking lot for
many of those who climb the mountain. Also it is illegal to camp inside the
national park. 5 o'clock in the morning the first car arrived, and they kept
coming one by one. We were a bit embarrassed lying there in the middle of
the parking lot. We had to get up and go for the mountain instead.
Triglav is the most beautiful mountain we have visited so far. In the start
the trail is steep, and is getting only steeper the higher we climb. It is a
superb mountain if you want to climb without use any equipment. It's a
popular mountain, so there was a lot of traffic on the route. Many choose to
overnight in one of the huts up in the mountain. The ascent is hard, so it
is a good idea to use two days. On the summit we were surprised by a phone
call from Dagbladet, a big Norwegian newspaper. They had heard about our
expedition and wanted to write a story about it. For us the descent was
almost as hard as the ascent. Our knees are very tired. Still we are now
ready to go directly to Grossglockner in Austria.
9. Jul 2003 (11.30 CET) - Triglav - the most spectacular mountain so far
Torbjoern called me on their way down from Triglav in Slovenia. He said this
was the most spectacular mountain so far during the expedition. After all
their problems in Eastern Europe everything is no going very well. Today
they directly to Grossglockner in Austria. The plan was to first go to Czech
Republic and Snezka, but they will save some hours travel time by first go
Grossglockner is not more than 180 km drive form Triglav and it will be the
first mountain above 3.000 m. Despite the height it's not difficult to
climb. The road goes up to 2.369 meters a.s.l.
8. Jul 2003 (13.00 CET) - Half way!
Late last evening the vikings summited the highest mountain in Croatia. The
sign on the top of Dinara said 1.831 m, one meter above our original list.
They have now completed half of the national tops. Even if Dinara was
summited the date as scheduled, they are still one day behind. Tomorrow they
have to drive a long distance before they reach Triglav in Slovenia, so the
first opportunity to summit Triglav will be tomorrow. They have to be very
tired after the tough program the last days.
8. Jul 2003 - Even more photos
Some more photos from Greece, Bulgaria and Moldova are now added to our
photo album. Bjorn Stensheim has sent us his these pictures through his
Internet connection in Pristina.
Yesterday evening I spoke with the vikings. They were on their way up to
Dinara, The trails were good, and they should reach the summit before
darkness. They had brought flashlights just in case it is dark during the
7. Jul 2003 (11 am CET) - New photos
Here's the photos from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from Serbia and
Montenegro. I also hope to receive even more photos from previous
mountains later today. Report and
photos from Croatia will be presented
I just spoke with Petter. They decided to have a stop-over in Dubrovnik last
night. Not a bad choice. This means that the status on our home page and
some of the picture texts are not correct. But I guess they deserve having a
party after the hard work last week :-). They are going to Dinara soon. This
mountain is located at the Bosnian border just north of the city Split. It's
1.830 m high, and should not be too difficult to summit.
6. Jul 2003 - Maglic - another mountain summited
Today the group summited Maglic in Bosnia Herzegovina. They have really
going fast. I've received the reports from both Serbia and from Bosnia. I
will translate these reports to English tomorrow together with the report
They have now reach the mountain Dinara in Croatia. They hope to climb it
tomorrow, which means that they are on schedule!
5. Jul 2003 - Djeravica - new mountain
Yesterday evening the vikings summited the mountain Djeravica in Serbia
and Montenegro. The mountain was easy compared to the day before, Petter
told me. Today they were traveling directly to Bosnia, and by now they
probably have reached Sutjeska national park where the highest mountain Maglic is located. They are now only one day behind schedule. Tomorrow, if
they manage to climb Maglic, they will continue to Croatia. Monday we hope
to give you many new pictures from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece,
Macedonia and Serbia&Montenegro.
4. Jul 2003 - Report from Korab
Here's the exciting report from Korab:
Korab in Macedonia/Albania:
The border between Macedonia and Albania goes precisely through the summit
of the mountain Korab. Korab is located in the Shara mountain range. We
planned to climb the mountain from the Macedonian side because Albania
requires a visa, and also because we were told that this was the only safe
way to summit Korab. We still needed a special permit from the police and
the army to enter this area. There's a lot of criminality in this area.
There are also mine fields that are still not clarified. Because of
the situation we needed a military escort to be allowed to climb the
Two days ago we arrived Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, believing that
everything was arranged and that we could climb Korab the day after. Frode
had spoken to the Norwegian embassy in Skopje, and they had arranged the
necessary permits and a military escort. What we and the embassy did not
know was that we also needed a special permit from the Macedonian police,
which normally takes 14 days to get.
Frode had via the Internet contacted Boge in Korab
Mountain Club. He picked up our papers at the Norwegian embassy and we met
him the evening we arrived Skopje. Without Boge's assistance we had never
been able to fulfill the climbing of Korab. We first contacted a policeman.
He promised to do everything possible so we could have the permit next
morning. Luckily we did get the permit the next day. The policeman wished us good luck
and he also said that he was thankful for the Norwegian UN soldiers' work in
their country. May be that was a reason that they gave us the permit so
The disappointment came an hour later. The military escort refused to take
us to Korab. They could not guarantee the safety. They had to clarify the
area first. Some time ago they had discovered some new mines. Boge promised
us to do all he could to get us on the mountain tomorrow. We could do
nothing but wait. Now we also had time to visit the Norwegian embassy and
the ambassador Dag Halvorsen.
Thursday was our lucky day. Ace and Spiro, two friends of Boge, joined us
going to Korab. They had been there before, and we were very happy that they
joined us. After two hours driving from Skopje, we arrived the military camp
Strezimir at 9 am. We met our military escort, and they really took it
seriously. The soldier Abdija was going in front together with a dog trained
to locate mines. Idriz was going in the middle. He was lieutenant and
the leader of the group. The soldier Marjan walked behind us. When we where
having a stop, Marjan always were looking through the area for bandits. Both
the soldiers and the lieutenant were armed.
Vi were feeling safe. Yet we were silent and were listening to mysterious
sounds. The lieutenant told us at our first stop that he may be not wanted to take us to the summit anyway. "Why couldn't we just go to a
lower top?", he asked. He was anxious for mines and for our safety. We
were horrified by the though that may be we shouldn't make the top. Ace, the
youngest guide, calmed us down by promising us to discuss this with the
We were not going fast. We stopped frequently, and the lieutenant thought it
was hard walking and that the mountain was steep. He was more comfortable
driving a tanks than to climbing mountains. He was joking about his big
stomach: "Soon I'll not be able to get into the tanks.", he said.
When we had finished around 2/3 of the ascent, the lieutenant didn't want to
go further. Luckily he told us that we could continue at our own risk. Spiro,
elder of the guides, also stopped because of a bruised toe. Spiro was well
fit, despite being 70 years old. He also had been to Korab 10 times before.
Now we were going much faster. We reached the top within two hours. We could
not go the fastest way, because of the safety. We walked on an edge of a
mountain close to Korab. They told us that this route was safe. The rock on
the summit was marked with an Albanian symbol on the western side, but the
Macedonian symbol was removed form the eastern side. The Albanians had
removed it. They don't accept that the border is going here. The Albanian
name of the mountain is Korabi.
On our way down we felt safer then during the ascent. We knew that the track
was free of mines. This safety disappeared when the lieutenant suddenly
insisted that we should take a shortcut, down a valley. We didn't understand
this, because this way was really not faster. The grass was high, and
Torbjoern was 2 cm from stepping on a poisonous snake. We were very happy
when we arrived the camp. All our arms and legs were intact, and we had
summited "two" difficult national tops at the same day. May be the
most difficult mountain during the whole expedition. Boge said that we
probably were the first person that had been to Korab in almost two years.
We are humble by the help we got here in Macedonia. Both Boge, Ace, Spiro or
the military people refused to receive money for the help they had given us.
They really did all this only to get us to the summit.
We are now in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, and are ready to climb
Daravica. We spent the night in the house of the Norwegian Bjorn Stensheim.
He knows the situation in Kosovo well, because he works as a safety officer
for the UN. He will help us during our stay here in Kosovo.
3. Jul 2003 (20:00 CET) - Korab conquered
We rarely use the word conquered about a mountain, but today I think we
can. It is not the mountain itself that is difficult, but the unsafe
situation that still is in the border area between Macedonia and Albania. If
the mountain is not conquered, the difficulties getting on top of it is for
sure defeated by the vikings from the north. All the group summited this
afternoon, and they are probably the first who have been there for two
Petter told me that the mountain is 2.764 m high, 11 meters higher than we
thought before. This is the third mountain where the real height differs
from our list. Now they go directly to Pristina and are hoping to go to
3. Jul 2003 (13:30 CET) - Korab - On their
way to the summit
Our friend Boge in Skopje recently gave us these two reports:
I just called Ace one of the guides, they are going little slow, they have
escort with the dog so they are moving slowly, everything fine so far
- I just spoke with the army, everything is
OK so far, the army from Strezimir welcome them and now they are on their
way to the summit.
2. Jul 2003 - They go for Korab tomorrow
Everything is now set to go to Korab tomorrow. All the permits are ok,
and the military army is expected them to arrive the camp at 9.30. Thanks to
Boge in the Korab climbing club and the Norwegian embassy in Skopje they are
now able to go to Korab.
Tomorrow morning at 6 am they leave Skopje. They drive their own car to
the mountain, they are meeting their escort in the military camp at 9.30.
Tomorrow evening we hope to give you a fresh update including pictures from
2. Jul 2003 - Correction
We told you in the report from Bulgaria the 30. June that Musala is
located in the Balkan mountain range. The correct is that Musala is a part
of the Rila mountains. We thank our new Bulgarian climbing friend,
Konstantin, who told us this.
2. Jul 2003 - Macedonia delayed one more day
I spoke to Petter today. They had gotten the last permit from the
police, but unfortunately they could not go today anyway. They were not able
to get an escort today because they did not guarantee the safety for the
group. We are not sure if the reason is some newly discovered land mines or
the lack of persons to escort them. Lets hope they are able to go tomorrow.
It is possible they will go to Kosovo to climb Djeravica today instead.
2. Jul 2003 - New photo album with many new photos
I have now published new photos from the first part of the expedition.
They are organized in a way that makes it easier to browse. Still a few
pictures from the last mountains will be presented here at the report page.
In the photo album you se thumbnails of all pictures, one page per country.
Below each thumbnail you will se a describing text. Clicking on a thumbnail
will open a full-size version of the photo. Click on to Photo
album, and you will see many great pictures you have not seen before.
The last news from the group (received yesterday afternoon) is that they
have arrived Skopje. We thought earlier yesterday that the all the permits
needed to climb Korab were ok, but it appeared that they also needed a
confirmation from the police. Boge, our friend in Skopje, is helping them to
get this (hopefully) last permit. If it should take some days before they
could go to Korab, they probably will try to go to
Kosovo before. The highest mountain in Serbia and Montenegro, Djeravica, is
located in Kosovo close to the Albanian border. It may be sounds scary but
we have checked that it is safe to travel in this area. They will also get
some help from a Norwegian who is working in the area.
1. Jul 2003 - Report from Greece
Olympos in Greece:
Today the gods really were on our side. Not so strange because we were
climbing Olympos, the mountain where the gods where living according to the
Greek Mythology. The mountain is highest in Greece and is located around 60
km south of Thessalonica. The height is recently found to be 2.918 meters,
one meter higher than earlier.
Rachel Mjoen from
Oppdal (Gisle's and Torbjoern's home place joined them in Greece for
climbing Olympos. We decided to start yesterday evening to be able to see
the sunrise from the mountain. We brought sleeping bags and stayed in a hut
at 2.200 m during the night. The path up to the hut was steep but good. We
almost reached the hut before the darkness. We were tired after walking the
distance in no more than two hours!
From the hut we had a fantastic view down the valley. Around it there were
some enormous trees that were said to be between 800 and 1000 years old.
We started for the summit early in the morning. After some short time we
could see the most fantastic red sun rise from the Aegean Sea. We are now in
southern of Europe, so the weather was pretty warm even at almost 3.000 m
a.s.l. The last part to the summit, Mytika, includes some easy technical
Olympos has three summits who's heights differs by only 10-20 meters. The
mountain sides are steep and have several good routes for mountain climbing.
We continue to Macedonia and Skopje this evening. Korab is located exactly
at the border to Albania and is the highest mountain in both countries. The
mountain lies in a restricted and unsafe area, and we need military escort
to the top. Frode, who plan the expedition from Norway, is doing a great
job. When we arrive Skopje this evening (Tuesday) all the permits that we
need should be ready.
1. Jul 2003 - Olympos summited at sunrise
I got a message from Gisle this morning. He told me that Olympos was
summited. They also had company by Rachel Mjoen, so this morning there were
4 lucky Norwegians that could se the fantastic sunrise from Mount Olympos in
30. Jun 2003 - Report from Bulgaria
The group have completed 1/3 out of the 36 national tops.
Now the group is having a resting day in Greece, before they go to
Olympos. Lets hope they don't have too much ouzo, so they are ready for
climbing Olympos tomorrow. It's possible they go to the mountain already
tonight, because the sunrise on Mount Olympos is very beautiful. Here comes
the report from Musala:
Musala in Bulgaria:
From west to east, in the middle of Bulgaria, lies the Balkan mountain
range. Musala is located here, and 2.925 meters high it is the highest in
the country. Borovets is the most common starting point for climbing this
mountain. It is possible to take the lift up to around 2.400 m.
For the first time during the expedition, the group split into to parts. One
half of them took the lift, and the other half of them walked up the valley.
It's not easy to divide a group of three into two half, but we can say it's
approximately correct. The lift group got a great view of the valley and
Borovets and they had an easy walk the last 500 elevation meters to the top.
The valley group was jogging up until they met a group of three Bulgarians
who followed them up to the top.
Vladimir, Konstantin and Radil, our new Bulgarian mountain friends, gave us chocolate
and tea. We were having an interesting lesson in Bulgarian history from the
time when the communists were running the country. They invited us to come
back to Bulgaria to climb other mountains, and to visit the beaches and
beautiful places by the Black Sea. We promised them to spend at least a week
next time, and not only a day like we did now.
On our way down from the mountain there were thunder and lightning and heavy
rain showers. It was good to have a bath in a clean mountain sea. On our way
to Greece we saw that the heavy rainfall had caused damage to the road
several places. Luckily we was able to pass. We are now having one resting
day in Thessaloniki, Greece. We have to clean the car and to wash some of
29. Jun 2003 - Bulgaria
Unfortunately there was an error during the publishing yesterday. The
last pictures and the last English reports was not published. Now everything
should be ok. Today the three are climbing Musala in Bulgaria. This is the
highest mountain so far during Top-Europe, 2.925m high. Yesterday they drove
from Fagaras and south through Romania and into Bulgaria. I think they
spent the night in Borovets, that is the starting point for the climbing of
Musala. Tomorrow we will give you a fresh report and pictures from Romania.
We will also publish more pictures from the first 10 days of the expedition.
28. Jun 2003 - Moldoveanu - report and photos
The boys spent the night in the village Victoria tonight. They were
tired after a long and hard walk in the Fagaras mountains. Today they will
drive to Bulgaria. The next report will be on Monday. By then they have
hopefully summited Musala and driven to Thessalonica in Greece. Here is the
last report from the group:
Moldoveanu in Romania:
The Carpat mountain range turns westwards and here is the highest mountains in
Romania, Moldoveanu, in the middle of Dracula's kingdom. This is our fourth
mountain in the Carpats.
Our starting point was Victoria, a village located at about 800 m above sea
level. From here we walked 10 km on a road up to Popasul Simbata at 1.300m.
We met some people that knew the mountain. They lent us a map and explained
about the rout to the top. We had to pass 5 lower tops to reach the summit
The time was 14 and they meant we would never reach back to Popasul Simbata
in daylight. Anyway, the track was easy to find, and there was a hut right
below the top where we could sleep. We also had good clothes, flash lights
and plenty of food.
The climb was long and hard. Especially the descent. But there was still
daylight when we returned to Popasul Simbata. The people at the hut was
impressed by our .
We rested for about an hour at the hut. After some talking and drinking we
continued the last 10 km down the forest. The last part of the walk it was
completely dark. It was a special feeling knowing that Dracula was walking
around us in the darkness hunting for the night meal. Anyway we were not
afraid. None of us are virgins.
We have climbed 11 mountains in 14 days. We are one day behind schedule.
Today we continue to Bulgaria to the mountain Musala southeast of Sofia.
This mountain is almost 3000 m high. We will try to summit it tomorrow.
27. Jun 2003 - Report from Balanesti, Moldova
This text is not translated to
26. Jun 2003 - Top #10
National top number 10 is completed. Now there are only 26 left to
visit. Petter called me at 7pm CET. He told me that this was definitely the
hardest top to locate so far. The boys arrived Iasi yesterday, and was
hoping to get the Moldovan visa same day. It obviously was not that easy.
Today they sat at the border for several hours, but not before 4pm CET they
were allowed to pass by. In the meantime there had been many phone calls and
faxes between the police custom, the travel agency in Iasi and the ministry
in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.
When they finally could cross the border, they where having a another
nightmare when trying to locate the "mountain". Everywhere there
were thick forest, and nobody could answer their question about where the
highest point in their country was. After driving around for hours on the
so-called roads in the area they met an old lady that actually could tell
them precisely where the top of Balanesti was located. The boys had to fight
their way through the forest on a ground covered with mud. Finally they got
to the top, and they could see clearly that this top was higher than the
surrounding landscape. On the ground they found some pieces of wood which
probably some time ago had marked the highest point in Moldova.
Now they have to clean the mud from their bodies and head straight for
Moldoveanu. If they are able to reach Fagaras tonight and manage to climb
Moldoveanu tomorrow, they are only one day behind schedule. Despite the
delay we are very pleased with the first 13 days of the expedition. They
have already completed all the countries that requires special visa. The
next three mountains are high, but predictable. The next border crossings
should also be trouble-free. A new optimistic plan is to climb Moldoveanu
tomorrow, drive to Bulgaria on Saturday, climb Musala and drive to Thessalonica
Sunday evening. Then they need a resting day in Greece before climbing
Olympos on Tuesday.
The next unpredictable mountain is Korab in Macedonia/Albania. The mountain
is located on the border and it's summit is the highest point in both
countries. This is a military area that requires a special permit from the
Macedonian authorities to enter. The Norwegian Embassy in Skopje is working
hard to help us getting this permit. I also got contact with Boge from a
climbing club in Skopje (www.korab.org.mk).
He has been very helpful during the planning of Korab, and he also have
connected us to a guide that knows the mountain.
Their own story about Moldova and some photos are coming tomorrow.
25. Jun 2003 - Report from Ukraine
Finally Petter has managed to connect to the Internet again. They are now
in Iasi, Romania, close to the Moldavian
border. It is possible to get their
visa at the border, and they don't have to go to Bucharest. Anyway they won't
be able to cross the border until tomorrow morning. After the visit in Moldavia
they go straight to Fagaras to climb the Romanian mountain
Moldoveanu. Even though they switch the order of the mountains (Balanesti
before Moldoveanu), they are about a day behind the scheduled plan. This may
stop them from having a resting day in Thessalonica...
Here's the report from Hoverla, Ukraine (look in the right column for
We had a deal with our guide to meet him in the
town Uzhorod, 20 km after the border. The border crossing was very slow. We
couldn't understand that a lot of cars behind us were allowed to go before
the others that were waiting to enter Ukraine. Our guide told us later that
it is possible to pay a few dollars to the police custom and be able to
advance in the queue. We certainly would have paid this money if we knew this,
but now it took us 3 hours to cross the border. Entering Ukraine was like
entering another age. The difference between Hungary and Ukraine was big.
Too late in the evening we cached up with Samuel, our English speaking
guide. Samuel had his own car and driver. We drove in two cars because we
were going in different directions after we had climbed the mountain. As we
came closer to Hoverla, the road got even worse but the speed of car in
front of us just got higher. Torbjoern, our driver for the day, nearly lost
them several times.
We got three hours sleep that night. At 6 am an old terrain truck picked us
up and drove us the last 20 km on a bumpy old road. In addition to Samuel,
we had company with a local mountain guide. He told us he had been around
1000 times to Mt. Hoverla. His son, André, walked in front of the group all
of the 10 km to the top. His father instructed him all the way. It was
obvious that he some day was meant to take over the family tradition.
Our main guide, Samuel, became more and more a translator. The local
mountain guide gave us interesting information about everything that was to
see around us. Samuel translated, and after 1 km he completely lost his
breathe. He wanted to give up going to the top, but luckily after a
rest he joined us all the way to the top.
On the summit we met a whole school class of children. They had never seen a digital camera before, and thought it was
very funny to see pictures of themselves immediately. Ukraine is an
exciting country with nice and warm people. If we had more time we definitely
would have spend some extra days here. Ukraine is poor, but rich at the same
time. When we came down from the mountain, the mountain guide invited us for
dinner. His wife made delicious food.
We are now on our way to the city Chernivitsi, 10 km from the Romanian
border and will spend the night there. We are one day behind the scheduled
plan. It now depends on how fast it is to get the visa to
are able to catch up with the plan. Romania or Moldova is our next mountain.
24. Jun 2003 - Hoverla summited
Torbjoern called me when they were having lunch on their way down from
the mountain. They were very pleased with their visit in Ukraine, and they
had a nice guide which spoke very good English. Torbjoern told me that the
mountains and the surrounding nature were breathtaking. They will probably
stay in Ukraine till tomorrow morning.
Now we're not sure how easy it is to organize a visit to Moldavia. The most
critical is how to get the visa. Norwegians, that is not a part of EU, have
to go to Bucharest to get the visa at the Moldavian
Consulate. We've asked a
travel agency in Iasi, Romania, to organize the tour. They will check the
possibility of getting the visa at the border. If it's arrangable they will
save one day. If they have to go to Bucharest, they will probably go to
Moldoveanu first, may be already tomorrow. The next update will bring you a
fresh report and photos from Hoverla in Ukraine.
24. Jun 2003 - Ukraine - on their way to Hoverla
Gisle told me that they are very close to the summit of Hoverla. This will be their 9th national summit since the start of Top Europe 10 days ago.
Probably they will drive to Romania already this evening. They are not sure
if they will be climbing Moldoveanu (Romania's highest mountain) before they
go to Moldavia
and Balanesti. It depends on how easy it is to get the visa to
Moldavia. Balanesti in
is only 430 m high, and it lies about one
hour's drive from the Romanian city Iasi. Follow us for report and photos
from Ukraine tonight or tomorrow morning.
22. Jun 2003 - Report and photo from Hungary
Kekes in Hungary:
The crossing of the Hungarian border was easy. The Police Custom understood
that we were innocent tourists having only peaceful intentions. Inside the
car were clothes, spare parts for the car, food, bottles mixed together in
an awful mess. It is no pleasant job examine it further.
Kekes, 1014 m, appeared to be another "sandal mountain". It lies
about 100 km northeast of Budapest. It was easy to see in long distance. An
enormous radio tower is placed on the top. Below the top is a ski resort,
but the hills are almost flat compared to Norwegian mountains. The
road goes almost to the top. The 200m walk was ok, because of the tough
climbing of Gerlachovsky earlier this day.
Traveling through the different countries, we usually exchange a small
amount of money to the local currency. Here in Hungary we had no local money
at this time. We found a camping place, but were rejected because they could
not take USD or Visa. We drove to Gyongyos, the nearest town, and found a
hotel that accepted Visa. So tonight we will have a good sleep in clean and
In Budapest, at the Norwegian embassy, we have now received or green card (insurance) and is on our way to Ukraine.
22. Jun 2003 - Gerlachovsky Stit (Slovakia)
Gerlachovsky Stit, or Gerlach, is not the easiest of the European
national summits. It is required to have a local guide, and the guys tells
me that it is not just a stupid rule. It could be very hard to find the way
to the top if you don't know the route. Petter is again connected to the
Internet. The problems in Slovakia were apparently related to the mobile
net. Look at the photos from Rysy and Gerlach in the right column. Here is
the report from Slovakia:
The rest yesterday was good for us. We were having
a good and long sleep, we cleaned the car and relaxed. We've had three days
in the Carpats, the mountain range between Poland, and it was like an
The starting point for the climbing of Gerlachovsky Stit was Sliezsky Dom at
1.670m. This is a hotel located about 7 km from the village of Tatranska Polianska.
Oleg, our guide, met us at Sliezsky Dom at 5 am.
It had snowed during the night, and the fog was thick. The mountain is not
technical difficult, but without the guide we would never have found the way
to the top. The summit area is very small and on it is placed a cross.
We had to stick to the crucifix to be able to summit the mountain together
Between 1300m and 1800m there is a forest. On our way down we heard some
noise in the forest below. Oleg told us it had to be a brown bear. The
mountain is located inside a national park (Tatransky) which is the home of
around 50 bears.
We will now drive to Hungary to "climb" Kekes. The mountain is
located not far from Budapest and it should be possible to summit it
21. Jun 2003 - The Tatra Mountains (Slovakia)
The Polish mountain, Rysy, was summited yesterday, but not everything
has been straight forward. They had a deal with a guide in
Sliezsky dom to climb Gerlachovsky Stit, but because of a misunderstanding
they arrived the hotel too late. Petter, Torbjoern and Gisle had spent the
night in Tatranska Pollanka, and they arrived Sliezsky dom around 8 am
Friday morning. Then all the guides were already on their way up the
mountain. All the guides were busy Saturday, so Sunday was the first chance
to climb Gerlach.
Instead they went back to Tatranska Pollanka, picked up their car and drove
to Strbske Pleso to climb Rysy, the highest in Poland. They parked the car
in Strbske Pleso. They followed a road for a few kilometers until they
reached the mountain. From here there was a very good trail all the way to
the summit. The weather was foggy until they were almost up. Then it
suddenly cleared, and they had a fantastic view from the summit. The summit plateau
was small and very crowdy. It is obviously a very popular mountain to
climb. A funny thing is that on their way to the Polish summit of Rysy, they
had to pass a Slovakian top that is 5 m higher.
Today, the boys will have a resting day while waiting to climb Gerlach
tomorrow. By the plan they are now one day late, so the question is if they
will be in Ukraine in time to meet the guide on Monday. They also have
problems connecting to the Internet, so we'll have to wait to give you
pictures from Slovakia and Poland. Let us hope it is the mobile net that is
the problem and not Petter's laptop. Follow us tomorrow for fresh reports
from the Tatry Mountains.
19. Jun 2003 - Report from Belarus
I just got the report and some photos from Belarus.
We were not able to get the Belarus visa before take off from Norway. Our
only opportunity was to take a plane from Warszawa to Minsk and arrange the
visa at the airport.
There were no problems getting the visa at the airport, and Sergey, our
guide in Belarus, met us there. The drive to Hotel Orbita in Minsk took 45
minutes on a motorway with almost no other vehicles than ourselves. When
checking in to the hotel, Petter couldn't find his passport. Sergey called
the airport, and luckily they could tell him that the passport of a
Norwegian citizen was delivered to the airport police. Two hours later both
Petter and the passport was safely back at the hotel.
Sergey met us at 8 am the next day. Our plan was leaving at 14.40, so we had
to be at the airport in 5 hours. Sergey war not sure where the exact top was
located, only the name of the village close to it. He could not understand
why we absolutely were going to the highest point in a country that is
almost flat. It was the funniest guiding job he had ever had.
Every signs were on Russian only, and the place were we were going were not
marked on our map. The landscape was the same all around us, with small
hills covered by forest. We would never ever found this top alone in our own
car without understanding a single Russian word. Sergey stopped
asking for the way several places, but nobody could tell us the exact
location. In the end a bus driver meant a hill with a ski resort had to be
the highest point.
The top was not there, but in a village a few km away, and marked by a rock.
After asking some more people we got to a military camp. The boys at the camp
could tell us that here is the highest point in Belarus. When the military
camp was built some years ago the rock that marked the highest point was
mowed around 200 meters.
We found the rock at last in the middle of a place filled with junk and old
vehicles. It was the ugliest view we have ever had from any national top.
We're now back in Warszawa and ready to drive through the rest of Poland and
into Slovakia. Now we're looking forward to climb some real mountains again.
19. Jun 2003 - Belarus
I spoke with Petter in fact when they finally had found the top of
Dzyarzhynskaya. This was the most difficult top to locate, ant they had
searched for several hours before they found it. Nobody spoke a word English,
except their local guide. Now they luckily reach their plane back to Warszawa. They will try to drive all the way to Strbske Pleso in Slovakia
this evening. If the weather is good they will may be try to summit Rysy
tonight. Report and photos from Belarus will be given later today.
18. Jun 2003 - Warszawa, Poland
This text is not translated to English yet.
17. Jun 2003 - Lithuania
This text is not translated to English yet.
16. Jun Estonia and Latvia
This text is not translated to English yet.
14. Jun 2003 - Galdhoepiggen
This text is not translated to
Jun 2003 - One day to the start
This text is not translated to English yet.
album for more photos from the Top Europe expedition