“Are we going on these cool trucks?” We were standing in front of three restored military tanks that looked like they were taken straight out of a James Bond movie. “Yes, we normally use these to bring guests up the ski slopes when it’s too windy to run the cable car”. Our guide Svein explained.
But we weren’t here at the alpine resort of Narvikfjellet for the truck ride. A surprise awaited in the forests above and we had an inkling that this was just the start of an adventure.
Adventure on the Slopes
“You might want to use those noise-canceling headpieces, it’s going to get noisy in here.” Svein said from behind the wheel. The tank roared as we rocked and rumbled up the steep slope. The truck was obviously designed for rough terrain – as much as we shook and bounced, it stayed stable and sturdy.
As a native from Oslo, Svein had moved here a few years back to look for some peace and quiet amidst the fjords and mountains of Narvik in Northern Norway. These days, he manages the alpine resort of Narvikfjellet and works out on the slopes most of the time. Narvikfjellet is best known for its urban location as it is just a short walk from the center of Narvik, and has gained a reputation for its spectacular setting above the fjords.
By the time we reached the forest that trickled above the slopes, we were beyond excited. High up above the pine trees was a series of ropes, wooden blocks, bridge, and ziplines. This was the Linken Climbing Center, and we were here to challenge ourselves to the obstacle course. “Now it’s time for the real fun, ” said Svein as he prepared to suit us up in our harnesses.
A Test of Our Guts
The obstacle course was made up of two circuits, one for beginners and another for advanced adventurers, each of them featuring eight passages of increasing difficulty. Designed by a Swedish company called Fairy Tale Adventures, the course was a result of creativity and ingenuity. Built within a span of three weeks, it is beautifully integrated into the natural surrounding.
A zip-line brought us to the start of the circuit. Although each platform was only three or four meters above the ground, the location of the course on the mountain’s slope made it seem much higher. But from this height, the view of the fjord in the distance was breathtaking.
Once at the start of the circuit, we knew there was no turning back. I whizzed past the zipline but Nellie and our friend Malin were slightly nervous about the challenge ahead.
Nicknamed Indiana Jones’ walk, the first challenge of the course was a path of broken wooden steps, suspended by two ropes. “Don’t worry about the broken steps, they have been put there on purpose!” he shouted to ease our companion’s fear of heights as she passed through the first obstacle.
Although we were not supposed to hold the wire attached to our harness, it was really challenging to keep the balance on the swinging steps and we all ended up grabbing it a couple of times for support. Malin was particularly nervous as she suffered a serious case of vertigo, but the brave girl made it through the obstacle one at a time with Svein’s help and our encouragement.
Along the way, Svein reminded us to look around and take in the views — the fjord and the city sprawled beneath our feet in the far distance and on the other side, we had the snow-covered peaks poking into the skies. At that point, all our nerves just disappeared.
After the first obstacle, a set of swinging ropes put our equilibrium to the test. I almost tipped at one point as I balanced my body weight on the line that extended across while hanging tight to the vertical ropes that hung from above. It was all but a mental challenge but we helped one another to get past it with words of encouragement.
The trees supporting the platforms (allegedly able to support a minimum of 600kg of weight) kept swinging along with the wind, which made it all the more difficult to keep our balance.
One passage after another, I quickly went through the obstacle course with my adrenaline getting more and more pumped as the track got more and more difficult. Hungry for more, I continued on to the advanced track as Nellie and Malin struggled with the last couple of obstacles for the beginners.
By the time they finished the final obstacle and ziplined their way back down to the start of the course, I had completed the advanced track, buzzing from the natural high. Both Nellie and Malin were proud and happy that they had conquered their fear and completed the course. Svein couldn’t be more proud of us.
Above the Fjord
After the challenge, we ditched the tank and sledded down the mountain slope before taking a cable car to the top of the mountain for our well-deserved lunch. A traditional Norwegian Christmas meal was awaiting us at the look-out point, situated 1608m above sea level. From this vantage point, we drank in the spectacular view of Narvik and the fjord that lay before us. With our bloods rushing from the adrenaline, Narvik couldn’t have have made us feel more alive.