The Lofoten nature invites people to take part in outdoor activities year-round. Hiking in Lofoten’s mountains offers wonderful experiences that you should enjoy to the fullest. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved in mountain hiking. Accidents can occur and harsh weather can create dangerous situations. Before embarking on your hiking trip, take precautions and be properly equipped to minimise the risk of accidents.
Feel safe in the mountains
Avoid adverse situations by preparing well for your hiking trip:
- Check the weather forecast
- Make carefully considered route choices
- Dress properly
- Pack the necessary equipment
As Lofoten is situated north of the Arctic Circle and far out to sea, the weather is unpredictable. Sun and blue skies can quickly change to fog, wind and rain. The thermometer can show single digits even in the middle of summer. Note that there are often major local variations in the weather conditions.
Don’t attempt the steepest and most demanding peaks in fog and rain. It can be slippery and hard to find your way.
Sunny summer days often means lots of smiles and bare legs. For long periods, shorts and a t-shirt can be ideal clothing for hiking in Lofoten. However, this can change extremely quickly, so always carry warm clothes in your backpack.
Choice of hiking route
Lofoten offers a wide range of hiking experiences. Get information about the hiking trips you wish to do and then make carefully considered choices. When it comes to views and nature-based experiences, the easier hikes are by no means inferior to the highest peaks. A special feature of Lofoten is that it’s gorgeous everywhere!
Many mountain hikes in Lofoten are in rough terrain that can be demanding. This may involve sections where you need to use your hands, such as mounds of rocks on the path or scree and loose gravel on the mountainsides. There may also be steep rock faces or cliffs along the way and near the summit. Only choose demanding routes if this is appropriate in terms of the weather and your fitness level and level of experience.
Unfortunately, several hikers have had fall-related accidents in the Lofoten mountains with fatal outcomes.
How to dress on a mountain hike:
- Thermal underwear (wool or synthetic fabric). NB: Wool is preferable because it provides insulation even if it gets wet
- Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants
- Thicker intermediate layer (wool or fleece)
- Neck warmer/scarf
- Good footwear
- Woollen socks
- Warm jacket filled with down or fibre. NB: Down collapses when it gets wet and loses its insulation properties. Consequently, down is unsuitable in rainy or humid environments.
- Shorts and t-shirt if it’s warm
What to carry in your backpack:
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- First aid kit
- Headlamp (not necessary in mid-summer when the Midnight Sun arranges the lighting!)
- Gaffer tape and sports tape
- Food and drink
- Toilet paper
- Seating pad
- Fully charged mobile phone and maybe an emergency charger. NB: There is not mobile coverage everywhere, so don’t have blind faith in your mobile phone for navigation or emergencies.
- Map and compass
- Many people prefer digital maps on their mobile phone. Norgeskart and ut.no have an excellent map function. Remember that there is not always mobile coverage. Download relevant maps.
- Wind sack (to use in the event of an accident or during a break)
If you require help in the event of an accident, call the emergency number 112.
The Search and Rescue service is free in Norway. In Lofoten, there is a local branch of the Red Cross as well as a voluntary alpine rescue group that assists if accidents occur in demanding mountain terrain.
The nearest helicopter base is Bodø.
Lofoten has one hospital, which is situated in Gravdal near Leknes.
There is an out-of-hours medical service in Svolvær and Gravdal.
The Norwegian Mountain Code
The Norwegian Mountain Code was developed by the Red Cross and the Norwegian Trekking Association to raise awareness and reduce the number of injuries. The Norwegian Mountain Code was launched in 1950 but has been revised in recent years to reflect the current conditions.
- Plan your trip and inform others about the route you have selected.
- Adapt the planned routes according to ability and conditions.
- Pay attention to the weather and the avalanche warnings.
- Be prepared for bad weather and frost, even on short trips.
- Bring the necessary equipment so you can help yourself and others.
- Choose safe routes. Recognize avalanche terrain and unsafe ice.
- Use a map and a compass. Always know where you are.
- Don’t be ashamed to turn around.
- Conserve your energy and seek shelter if necessary.
Mountain safety in the winter
The mountain safety advice applies all year round. In winter, there are even more factors to consider, such as the risk of avalanches and colder and rougher weather.
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