The images and videos were taken by tourists at the Kjeragbolten boulder, a chunk of rock wedged in the crevasse of the Kjerag Mountain in Rogaland, southern Norway, about 3,500 ft above sea level.
The site is a popular tourist destination that can be accessed without climbing equipment. It has become popular as a site for BASE jumping and a spot where thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies come to test their head for heights by standing on the curved, slippery surface of the boulder wedged precariously between two cliffs, with a sheer drop of 800 feet below.
Your reaction to the videos and photos will depend on whether you have a good head for heights. For those with a healthy dose of life-preserving phobia of heights, people who risk their lives to stand on the Kjeragbolten boulder could well be Martian aliens. Merely watching the videos and seeing photos of tourists jumping gleefully on the boulder and balancing on the slippery surface could leave a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach if you have no tolerance for heights.
Contemplating the physical implications of the sheer drop of 800 feet below conjures nightmarish images of what follows if one of the tourists balancing on the boulder misses a step accidentally.
The sight of long lines that often form as people wait their turn for an opportunity to balance on the boulder suggests to a non-sympathetic viewer the ritual proceedings of a cult of death.
Watch the videos showing groups of people like pilgrims, hiking to the mountain shrine of the daemon deity Thanatos. Watch as friends take turns to stand on the top of the boulder wedged between two cliffs to perform a ritual offering to a modern version of Moloch, the abomination of Moab.
The scene showing a couple holding on to each other as they shared the space on the boulder is unnerving. How could anyone trust another person so much as to have an implicit faith that the other person would not suddenly develop a demoniacal urge to do the unexpected – like push their partner off the boulder?
Watch the young man in one of the videos struggling to reach the other side of the cliff by passing over a narrow ledge. The moment the video showed the sheer drop beneathis enough to give one a woozy feeling in the head.
Why would anyone take such risk for an experience of a surge of adrenaline? Why not just get a shot of epinephrine instead?
The Daily Mail reports that software developer Ronny Randen, 39, a resident of Oslo who visited the Kjerag Mountain while traveling with friends to see the Preikestolen or Pulpit rock (see video below), said recent rainfall made the surface of the boulder slippery. Yet, Randen was able to venture onto the boulder and pose with his arms in the air.
He describes the hike up to the site of the boulder.
“Most of the time you walk on smooth rock and boulders and because it was rainy and foggy it was a bit slippery. There are metal chains along the steepest climbs of the trail. When we finally arrived at the boulder it was rather foggy but after a while it started to clear up and we were rewarded with a stunning view of the Lysefjord.
The whole experience was so breathtaking and just looking at the images now really takes me back there. It’s not a place you go very often as it’s a bit remote, but it’s such an amazing piece of art from nature that it is definitely worth going.”
He describes the experience of standing on the boulder.
“During our visit it was a [bit] rainy, and the boulder was actually a bit slippery. There’s a little path on the left side where you can jump onto the rock. It’s hard to describe the feeling of standing on the boulder. After walking up the mountains your legs are a bit tired, and the idea of jumping onto, and balancing on, a slippery boulder hanging above a fjord seems like a really bad idea. But, to be honest, it’s not hard getting out there, and it is well worth it.”