On the 31st of May 2015, I received a storm warning from a friend questioning whether or not it might be wiser to postpone the mission. I convinced him that I would be finished before the storm hit Bergen that night and 2 hours later, myself and 3 accomplices, jumped on the last gondola and were atop Mount Ulriken by 21:00 hours.
Because Bergen is Bergen, sometimes you just have to strike while inspiration is hot, despite the weather warnings.
Apart from a cold wind, it was a beautiful night for working, especially with the backdrop of the city glowing beneath me. My choice of placement for the piece was a little precarious and the process went slow. By 24:00 hours I was finished… just as the last light was fading, the wind started picking up and the rain started falling. We packed up our equipment and anxiously started our trek down the mountain.
5 minutes into our descent, the gondola came to life and like a fading beacon of hope, it dangled past over our heads, and disappeared into a wall of rain that was heading our way. That was when the heavens opened up and the wrath of the storm was unleashed upon us!
Our 63 year old photographer, Karl, who suffers from vertigo and a recent back operation, was quite anxious on his maiden trek down Ulriken. The rain was so heavy that we had only a few meters of visibility with our 2 small headlamps and none of us knew the mountain well enough to navigate in these conditions. We made some vital wrong choices of direction and managed to stray into the mountain cross-bike track… a steep and rugged route at the best of times, but on this night it had turned into an inclined quagmire of deep mud and slippery rocks that challenged our endurance with every step.
To keep his spirits up, I promised Karl I would make a stencil of him if he managed to get down without breaking any bones… hence “Kalle – 73”
The descent was brutal, wet, slippery and a little bit frightning in the pitch black night,. At times we had to hold on to trees on the edge of the track while negotiating the steepest parts. But even though there were a few slips and crashes, luckily no serious accidents occurred.
Soaked, cold and exhausted, but none-the-less proud of our accomplishment, we made it to the first signs of civilisation by about 02:30; a trek that normally takes 30 minutes!
From there we taxied back to our cars, parted ways and by 04:00, I was in the shower feeling quite satisfied with our successful night out. When I told my wife about our previous nights descent, she told me I was an idiot 🙂