Lars from Switzerland was one of the first pilgrims of the 2023 season. He started in the beginning of May in Sunsvall, to end his trip in Trondheim in June. During his hike he experienced some pretty extreme weather conditions: from warm & sunny to snowstorms in the mountains.

You were one of the first pilgrims that walked the St. Olavsleden in 2023. How was that experience for you, for example looking at the rough weather conditions and meeting people on your way?
I knew before I started that the conditions could be difficult. So preparing was key. I carefully chose the right things to bring. For the clothing: a lot of layers. I also brought a gas stove and a rescue Bivy Bag. I prepared by walking in harsh conditions at home, with a full back pack and I chose not to tent.

The first week on the trail was sunny and warm. Then the weather changed. It was cold, windy and rainy. I checked the rain radar daily and planned my daily hikes to avoid bad weather. I also asked the local people about the conditions.

I enjoyed every minute of the walk. I met only 2 or 3 hikers during my hike, but that was okay. The main reason to do this hike was to be alone in nature.

What was your favorite part to walk and why?
From Revsund to Pilgrimstad. The nature was pure, the woods and the lake were beautiful. I also liked the bit from Hålland to Åre. A new route going uphill, in the same, wonderful nature. From Medstugan to Sul I ended up in a snow storm, all alone, with only my own footprints in the fresh snow.

Any tips for future pilgrims?
You should train for the walk and walk 25 km a day for a few days in a row. And you must realize that there can be difficult sections along the route. Train a long walk at home on asphalt, with the shoes you want use on the trail. Choose the right gear and pack lightly.

The backpack should not weight more than 11 kg including food and water. Take plenty of breaks on the route and drink plenty of water. When you want to tent, ask yourself if it is really the best option. And you have to keep in mind that you are alone most of the time.