Every country is different, with their own web services and trekking rules. After the last year where I suddenly started being active in mountain trekking I’ve found a few resources that would be handy for those of you who plan to visit Norway. Similar lists for other countries would be very nice to have. Some of the services I list here are specific to Norway, others are of course world-wide.
International services that work well in Norway
maps.google.no - Google is the best choice for roads and general navigation, and it has descent topographical maps earth.google.com - Parts of Norway is mapped with the HQ 3D maps from Google, which can be a great help while planning openstreetmap.org - Has acceptable coverage in parts of the country. Many users upload their GPS tracks to Openstreetmap, which is a great resource when you want to find trails to summits that aren’t mapped otherwise
Norway specific services
ut.no/kart - UT.no is the website for the Norwegian Tourist Association (volunteer organization). Here you find topographical maps aimed at hikers, with a large amount of trip advices to both summits and other locations. These trip advices have downloadable GPS tracks, and are a great resource when you aren’t familiar with the area. The service is also available as a smartphone app (UT.no)
kart.finn.no - Finn has great topographical maps, as well as the best freely availabe aerial photos
norgeskart.no - The official map service. Here you can download high quality maps similar to those you can purchase in stores. This is also available as a smartphone app
frikart.no/garmin - Here you can download topographical and hiking maps of most European countries based on Openstreetmap and other freely available sources to your Garmin devices. My recommendation for Norway is “Topo Summer”
You are free to travel and camp almost everywhere you want in Norway, with a few restrictions. Read more here:
Thank you, Bob, for sharing your ideas and resources. I’d really like to submit a similar list for my country, but unfortunately such things are nonexistent over here.
Even Google Maps is totally unreliable: today, I followed a Google recommended (car) route and ended up being ridiculed by the locals, who told me that the road from my route has never existed! And it is not the first time I’ve been fooled by Google Maps. Sometimes they send me to drive over meadows and through the woods, sometimes they don’t know about totally fine roads… Furthermore, road networks known to Google Maps and those shown on Open Topo Maps are often quite different.
So, if I may hijack your topic a bit, I’d like to ask our SOTA friends from other countries to tell us about available geographic resources in their countries, but also to share their experience with the reliability and accuracy of two main (globally and publically available) map tools: Google Maps and Open Topo Maps. Thank you all.
“The right to roam, also called the right of access (“allemannsretten”) is a traditional right from ancient times, and from 1957 it has also been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act. It ensures that everybody get to experience nature, even on larger privately owned areas.” Extract from visitnorway.com
This makes the restrictions in England and Wales seem positioverly medieval - it is about time we came into the 21st century. I do find it much more relaxing to activate summits in Scotland where there is a right to roam on a similar basis to Norway.
Seriously however, I think this topic is extremely useful for activators hoping to travel beyond their usual haunts. But possibly the information might be easier to find if it was stored on the Association pages of the website? That is my first point of call when planning an expedition.
In Canada the country is so vast, that access to a mountain range, let alone a specific mountain, requires significant research. One of the best resources for people visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains is the Gemtrek series of maps. http://www.gemtrek.com/index.html
The information of trails is kept up-to-date, with details of recognized trails for hiking, biking, horse-riding, etc
There are also trail descriptions given on the back of the maps, taken from guide-books that are also available.
An excellent resource for this area of western Canada.
Here, in the E7 land, nobody will forbid you to go where your heart desires, but people will often warn you to be aware of landmine fields, especially near the summits. As I’ve learned from many years of mountaineering, such stories are sometimes true, but more often than not they are just myths or made-up stories whose sole purpose is to divert you from trespassing over someone’s property. Will you take such advices seriously or not, well, it’s entirely up to you…
Regarding mountainhuts: It is common to bring a so called “hut sleeping bag” (Hüttenschlafsack) if you stay overnight. It is basically an inliner-sleepingbag that replaces the bed linen.
And always call the hut for bookings and maybe in addition a day before to confirm. Answer via email might take longer.
Regarding time estimates that you find at signpost. A general rule: The higher the mountain the “optimistic” the forecast is. So depending on your training level expect a bit more time needed. 400 - 450 m ascent/ hour could be seen as standard in some alpine regions.
Some maps might not show that a path is actually a via ferrata (German: Klettersteig) that requires extra gear and strength/endurance.
Phone coverage is good in Austria but in some valleys or alpine regions coverage can fade away.
It is good practice to self log at the hut and summit logbooks. This will allow mountain rescue to track your way. If you use APRS adding your APRS callsign to the book too.
Getting rescued by helicopter can be expensive. Make sure to plan your trips carefully (overconfidence) and have an insurance that covers mountaineering activities. This is of course only for real emergency situations.
Bands and SOTA operation - VHF
145.500 FM is always a good start.
Expect in some regions that no one will answer
Chances on a Saturday or Sunday are increased
OE/ST region has 145.550 as preferred SOTA QRG
Most ham operators will speak English well enoung for a short QSO
I totally agree Joe. As has been suggested earlier in this thread, perhaps the ARM or Association pages are the best place? If a suitable page was set up by the MT for each Association, the actual work of populating them could be left to the SOTA community (self policing for accuracy/updates).
Just a thought.