Out and about in Fjærland – the Supphellebreen glacier
It is something special to experience a glacier in Norway up close. We visit the previously unknown Fjärland (Fjærland) in the Jostedalsbreen National Park and discover next to the book village Fjärland (Fjærland) the unique Norwegian Glacier Museum, the Norsk Bremuseum Fjärland. The fact that there is an internationally renowned museum at this location is due to the international scientists who study the development of the Jostedalsbreen glacier year after year. And so we come to the way to the Supphellebreen glacier tongue.
With the Jostedalsbreen, the Fjärland is a preferred area especially for hikers, the Norwegian Alpine Club DNT (Den Norsk Turist Foreningen) maintains marked hiking trails and some overnight huts. We look for the way to the Supphellebreen over the narrow streets. And we are very surprised to be able to drive so close to Supphellebreen with our VW bus.
It is May, the season is still far and the weather is very changeable. It had rained the previous evening, the sun was shining this morning and the sky has closed again from now on. Even if we have hardly any rainy days in Norway this year (after all, we are more than 90 days away), the weather can change quickly.
Of course we like to have bright blue sky for our photos. but we basically show the places as they are without manipulating the pictures. Because even a glacier like the Supphellebreen is a piece of living nature, always exposed to change.
We park in the small unpaved parking lot with a large turning circle. In front of us is the glacier stream, which absorbs the melt water from the Supphellebreen. In small and large rivulets, the water comes down the mountain and spreads out in front of us in the flat gravel bed. The stones are shaped and ground by ice from the Supphellebreen, because it was not long ago that the foothills of the glacier were visible in place of this gravel bed in front of us.
I can not help but immediately hold the drinking cup in the stream and enjoy this wonderfully clear water. We will fill up our drinking bottles soon. It is usually unnecessary in Norway. Buying water, there is no better water than here.
My gaze always goes up to the supple screen, a barrier warns us to continue here. And we’ll soon see why. Again and again the tensions in the ice discharge, it rumbles and it cracks and then rubble is released again. Not much, but who wants to get a small stone on their head? So it makes sense to respect the markings.
The lowest glacier in southern Norway
Even though we feel a bit like being in the north, we are still quite far south in Norway. And so it is special that the Supphellebreen begins or started just 60 meters above sea level. Because the supple screen is changing rapidly. A local motorcycle rider keeps coming back here and documenting the decline in supple screen. Years ago there was a kiosk and day trippers had the opportunity to get in touch with this glacier tongue. But more and more rocks can be seen and the ice is interrupted. The Jostedalsbreen with its glacier tongues is melting away more and more like here the Supphellebreen.
Hiking in the vicinity of the glacier
The most intensive way to hike is around the glacier. Walking on the glacier without adequate guidance, experience and equipment is, however, life-threatening. Because a glacier is always in motion, it radiates enormous cold and it can cover deep crevices with snow bridges. In addition, rubble can be released by the movement, which then causes rockfalls down the valley. After all, about two to three million tons of ice should break off on the Supphellebreen every year.
So here too, respect for self-expression applies. But then it is one of the touching nature experiences to approach a glacier like Jostedalsbreen with its small glaciers Supphellebreen or Bøyabreen.
Guided glacier tours are offered at some glacier foothills between May and October. These are quite demanding and take between two and four hours. On the Supphellebreen, hikes up to a height of 1000 meters above sea level are possible before you can enter the glacier. Simpler alternatives are on the Haugabreen (Jølster) or the Nigardsbreen (Jostedalen).