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Scaling the Lion, Part 2

I confess. The last time I hiked up to Rødøyløva, the mountain peak on the island, I didn’t actually make it to the very, very top. I stopped about 30 feet from it. Why didn’t I do it, if I was so close? Because from where I stood, I saw that the very top is actually a protrusion of stone a few feet thick over 1,200 feet of air. I decided that 30 feet wasn’t worth the risk of dying.


A week ago, I talked to Sunniva, the medical intern on the island, about hiking the Lion. She said that she had done it several times, and went to the very top every time. I asked her a couple of times just to be sure, “you means the very, very top, that hangs over the cliff?” “Yes, yes.” In fact, there is a log book in a box. Knowing that many people had been there and back gave me some confidence that the stony ledge wouldn’t crack under my weight.

Top of Rødøyløva

Last Friday the weather was good, so I decided to scale the lion again and make it to the peak. Rather than taking the gradual routine along the back of the lion, I would take the steeper path. When I went up to where I stopped last time, I took a deep breath and trudged on. I have a fear of heights: my legs go soft when I look down a cliff, so I tried not to look. I crawled on my belly for the last few feet, and poked my head just over the edge to look down, with sheer terror. (My legs feel numb right now as I write this.) From the top, you can see an island that looks like an angel: should you slip and fall, it may hasten your conversion to Christianity if you’re a non-believer like me. If you do believe, you may even hear the sound of trumpets and see the open arms of St. Peter. For good reasons, the island is called the “Pastor Island.”

Anyway, my name is in the log book for posterity. And here’s a video of someone skydiving from the top of Rødøyløva.

From the Top of Rødøyløva Looking Straight Down

Distant Island Behind Rain

Lichen at the Top of Rødøyløva

Four Beaches

Mountains on Mainland

  1. Kirrily #

    I assumed reading it that you must like heights! I found even the photo unnerving.

    October 27, 2011
    • At the risk of getting a little too clinical, I have a strange relationship with height. I have no problems riding an airplane, or flying a small airplane myself. Hang gliding scared the crap out of me. I won’t do that ever again. Sky diving is out. It’s the whole thing to seeing air directly under me. I suppose in hiking I’m okay with making myself a little uncomfortable, because I can always reach terrafirma if I need to.

      October 31, 2011
  2. Nadezhda Konovalova #

    Hello! Did you take the photos in spite of having fear of hight? It’s amazing!

    October 29, 2011

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