Sep 23, 2017

Aroletta Superior - vie du Saillant

The peak of Aroletta Superior is suited in Italy, Valpelline, and accessed from the village of Dzovenno. Which is just before Bionaz.
This area is reached via Aosta if your coming from the Italian side or col Grand Bernardo from the Swiss side.

Neighbors outside the rifuigo room window

We headed to this little unheard spot because the weather elsewhere closer to the massif du Mont Blanc was very cold and snowy. Valpelline is often in a sort of weather window when the bad meteo moves in from the north, so it was a perfect time to have it checked out. And, its Italy so it means good food and brilliant coffee!
Sunset at Rif. Crête Sèche

The rifugio, Crête Sèche, is also known for its good standard, good food and nice rooms. And a very good bar. At least summertime. In winter there is no electricity and running water. But in summer, well the spot is excellent and easy accessed. 1.5h walk from the parking on good trails/mudroad.
It is possible to drive much higher up with a 4x4 or a strong vehicle, but I don't advice to do this since the walk is beautiful and easy and more environmental friendly.
The Aroletta Superiore as seen from the rifugio

Arriving at the rifugio we had 2 days of possible climbing. The choice for the first day was easy, the wall of Aroletta looked clean and solid. So just needed to find a route that could work for us.
After a good dinner prepared by Marco we made our plans which was easy; lets decide tomorrow!!
And aimed for a seven o´clock breakfast.
Which seemed to be early enough, since it was really cold, just +2°C and a bit of wind making it feel like -10°!
But after some typish Italian breakfast, the hut was about to close in the next couple of days, so the bread was only used with strong teeth. And the rest of the breakfast, well nothing really... dry hard bread and some indefinite jam, but at least and most important, the best coffee I had in a long time.
Rif Crête Sèche

the voie "du Saillant" 

With the sun raising over the peaks the wind settled a bit and it started to feel more doable. So we packed up and headed of towards the days goal. Heading for the voie "du Saillant"
Prima Ascensione: J.Ph. Bourley, B. Marnette il 27-07-‘06
Lunghezza via: 250 m.
Dislivello: 180 m.
Difficoltà: TD (6a- 5c obb.)
A route that looked doable enough and with a bit of interesting sections.
Finding the base of the route was pretty obvious, it was just getting there that turned out to be the resistance. Didn't look like it was overcrowded with climbers in a year. To be direct, the walk u over the moraine was a small battle. But after close to 2hours we where ready to chalk on.
Per on Pitch 2

The first section is easy scrambling up to a small diedre with one bolt.
Then, it looked easy, which it also was, but super solid rock made placing any gear more or less impossible. 
A 45m pitch and I found a perfect belay with a huge metal chain.
Second pitch. In the top it is described as a little mossy at the start and then a clean diedre. Well, maybe a little more mossy than that!
Very compact rock which now and then becomes loose with small untrusty flakes...making the climbing very precise and interesting. In Swedish we use the word "Fjällklättring" which make a description of not always perfect rock, more like a little bit of everything.
The last bit up to next belay, guarded by two pitons and an old piece of rope, was close to a pure fight. Looking on some doubtful protection below me, I just know it was not a good thing to fall. 
Belaying Per up to me I watch him suffer a bit but after some regular cussing we finally come to share the belay.

Pitch 3
Next one; third pitch is the most memorable. Really good climbing on mostly perfect rock. A nice roof is passed on the left and climbs into a good crack system with nice technical climbing. Which goes up to a perfect hand crack and then a bit of thin but easy climbing to two old pitons.
Me on pitch 4, photo Per Jerberyd

Summit feeling

The start from the 4th pitch is a little bit sensitive but after that it gets on to easy stuff.
Which is good because at this time the clouds are thighting in on us and snow starts to fall out of them. Great adventures!
Per on the summit ridge..
...and very proud over his well used fingers!

So the last couple of pitches needs to go quite fast.
And as often, the very summit turns out to be not as seemed on the photo. We are meet by a very exposed ridge, super alpine and airy, but easy scrambling. The north/east ridge was told to be the fastest way down. Only one issue, finding the anchors. Finding the first one, on the north side, we abseiled down some 15mts and then decided to surround the ridge eastwards. And, there it was. An old but good rappel anchor.
Only one issue, again!!, it looked like the whole ridge could follow us down. The whole installation was built on loose rocks and big stones.
Yes, there is an anchor!
So, moving like balled dancers we gently made our way down. First as described a 45mts rappel, followed by two 50mts rappels...and then a bit of down climbing but now we started to get used to the loos stuff so it was more like just surfing on bad waves!
Rappel terrain...oh la la
Next day...snow


Vie du Saillant
Grade 6a obl 5c
Lenght 250mts
2x50mts ropes (for rappel back)
4-6QD´s (good luck to be able to place any more ;-)
Small set of mid size cams up to #3 BD
Small set of wire nuts

For the descent: scramble toward the North summit. Find the anchor just below the peak and rappel down approx 10-15mts. Scramble up to the ridge and make a short rappel out south east to find the first anchor on the east ridge.

Topo over Superior, no2 is "Saillant"

Sep 13, 2017

Kjerringhelvetet - Haugfjell

This summer has produced a lot of weather in all kind of styles.
From super warm in the beginning of june to really miserable and rainy stuff in the end of the summer. One day sun, next day rain.
But overall, I have been most lucky and had the good sunny stuff on the important days.
So a trip up to Norway and E-Fjord booked in august with a few weeks of work I thought that I could lengthen that with a week or 10 days to get some private time for some bigger routes and maybe even to be able to look for a new route.
But how wrong this would become. After the first week of sun the weather turned Norwegian style and I became to spend most of my time in my new running shoes, weightlifting in the gym and reading at the sofa in the back of my van. Luckily my good friend Jonny was in Riksgränsen so we could at least focus on good dinners and wine...
There is also some good fishing opportunities, view from the top.
So this meant I soon gave up the ideas of bigger routes and focused the climbing towards Haugfjell. A quite nice mountain some 20k after the border to Norway. Easy access and good solid granit with every type of climbs; slabs and  steep cracks. But not so high and most of the bigger things already climbed.
So, it was to my surprise to find, at least for me, a new wall with a bunch of steep sport climbs, bolted and trad route and up to 25mts high at Kjerringveggen. And even more surprise to find a bolted route that hadn't been freed yet, but an open project perfectly bolted!
Good thing when someone puts up a new topo like the "Dancing on the Devils dance floor" written by Mikael Ekenstam and Lars Thulin via Topptur Förlag.
This wall, suited some 15 min walk west of the parking lot and super easy access is just perfect for unstable days which might produce rain.
Crimping at the best
After a first glance the route looked just super hard, with a good reason that it never had been freed actually.
But after climbing a couple of the other routes like "Skidor är löjligt", "Pilutta" and "Escalade Feminin" I thought I might at least give it a try.
And it was mostly a try. Working my way up past the 4 first bolts quite easy but then I banged straight in to trouble and soon my fingers crimped out and all the skin was gone. Two serious tries and that was it. The crystals was just to sharp and the sequence on the last bit with hard pulls on micro crimps on friction steeps was just to much.

After a weekend ´s rest in the archipelago of Luleå with a lot of finger training I drove back north late in the evening. Scanning the meteo that it would be a couple of sunny days coming in before the next front splashing in from the coast.
So I had an early morning start and got up passing the border again for a second try. A couple of warm up routes and I had an other go.
But, over focused I misjudged the second clip and just fell of by pure f..ked up!
On the second second try I relaxed a bit more and got to the small left hand crimp with a long right reach followed by a right dyno. And felt the pull super easy to hold. But a bit surprised by this I fell of again!! And again my left finger was not up for a third try the same just spending the day on easier stuff. At least able to insight "Hjørnet Direct" 7a.

The next days became mostly gym days, again, combined with a lot of running. But then the day before departure I got the spell I hoped for. It cleared up the evening before and the whole day was to be filled with sun.
So after a healthy breakfast, its always healthy at Jonny´s place, I drove off with a good spirit.
Drove the 22k, parked and walked up to the cliff for the third time in a week. This time I changed the rhythm and only climbed one warm up before my first try. Which was a bad idea. I was stiff and didn't have a good footwork. So again I just slipped of at the start on the second bolt.

So, a new try and this time just let everything go.
Relaxing and memorizing the route during the time I climb an other warm up route;
1:A small slopy hold with the right hand followed by an other for the left and then up to a good right pull.
2:A small left crimp and then up high with the right to a side pull.
3:Left feet up high and a left undercling to reach a crimp with the right hand.
And then easy in to a left finger jam followed by a right easy to pull out right jam.
4:Friction feet up to some good crimps but with very precise feets with a high placement for the left foot and then a long side pull out left to a good side pull, dyno.
5:Change to a better left side pull keeping the right on the crime to place left foot a little higher for the better left pull.
6:Then keep the right hand on the crimp and move the body out right and feels more right to take the weight of the arms/fingers. Then up to a tiny crimp with the right followed by a slow move to a very small crystal with for the left hand finger and a short dyno out little right to a tumb/finger crystal. Followed by a similar move to an exact similar hold for the left, tumb/finger.
7:Then move first right then left feet up on tiny friction steeps getting high enough so its possible to reach a tiny rightward crimp with the left fingers. Keep the right crystal and then semi move up to a faiding crimp with the right hand. Steep up with the left foot and dyno up high again with the right.
9:After this its an awkward but easy move high placement with first the right then the left foot to give a long reach with the left hand to an other good hold. A couple of easy moves over easy terrain to the anchor.
(this is for someone in the length of 172cm, might be totally different if you are 165 or 185)

I left the proposed grade of 7c+ and also kept the name "Kjerringhelvetet" by respect of the original driller, Børge Soleng, who put up all the hard initial work on this route.
Many thanks to you Børge!!


Grade 7c+
Bolted with rappel anchors.
FFA August 2017
Link to topo over E-Fjord/Narvik

Access from the parking and view over the walls of Haugfjell

//Every awake moment is a new opportunity

Aug 26, 2017

Stetind - the National Mountain of Norway

Stetind South Pillar  

   In 2002, Stetind was chosen, via a radio poll, as the National Mountain of Norway. Even though its not close to be the highest mountain of Norway, not even in the area. But is sure is the most eye catching one! The mountain has been compered with peaks as Matterhorn and Ama Dablam in Nepal.
Well, that one is maybe a little to much "national"?! But anyhow, its a beautiful peak with a lot of nice as well as super hard routes on it.
Stetind - as seen from the parking 
  We aimed for the most classic one, and maybe the best due to quality, the South Pillar, "Sydpilaren"
Its a 13 pitch route witch, believe it or not, head up on the south facing part of Stetind.  
Following the prominent pillar that finish at the second amfi and from where its either possible to make a airy traverse out right and join the Normal route. Or, by heading straight up the last couple of pitches direct up to the very top. Giving the whole route a bit more interesting character.
Fjord camping life
Our four day climbing trip can be considered a bit on the limit time wise. But that was what we had so we just had to wish for the best and pure luck weather wise. Which I often tends to have!!
Already the first evening, meeting up with Janne at the train station, the sun was starting to shine with its brighter side on us. So we decide to head for the small sport crag area at Lervik, some 20k north of Narvik.
And since we got a bit enthusiastic the time run away with a furious speed, leaving us at a dinner time close to 23:00 (not midnight sun here any more at this time but the daylight holds quite long anyhow). And when we also got company by a couple of Harbour Porpoises, well we decided to just have diner at place and move south next morning.
Janne on the approach

The drive down to E-Fjord and Stetind is some 1hour driving. 

But with my van, which like easy going best, we easily used 1 1/2h. So arriving at the parking the time had already passed midday. A parking full of cars. But no worries, still time for a cup of espresso while we sorted the gear out and then aim for the 2hour approach. Since I soloed the same route a few years ago we kept the rack quite limited and light.
With our late start I was pretty convinced that we would have the route for us self, with out any questions. But, of course, just as we was getting ready to leave an other team showed up with the same plans. Unbelievable! 
But since we wasn't quite ready yet, I just saw them skirting away up the trail ahead of us.
Some 40 min later we was, finally, ready to leave. So with my calculation we should be ready to start climbing at 14:00hours, perfect. Just had to see where the other team was to be found.

Before the final slabs to the base of South Pillar
Hiking up through the woods are most stunning, a beautiful collection of peaceful trees and water streams. After 30min the views opens and its an open landscape surrounded by sea and fjords.
After that the trail steepens and at one critic point its a sharp leftward traverse out over some exposed slabs. If its wet its for sure a good idea to rope up.

 Luckily we soon catched up with the other ones, who we simply called the spaniards, they looked very Spanish. And even talked that lange, so I guess we was right?!
After reflecting with them about the weather and winds, we passed them only in our underwear (like only very little under wear) and they looked very well dressed up, we agreed about that we had some different ideas regarding warm and cold.

An other 100 vertical meters and we was at the cairn that show´s the carrefour. Since most of the slabs was dry we could move quite fast nd join the last bit up to the pillar. But here the amount of snow almost caused a problem. A very strong winter in terms of snow has been followed by a most cool summer, so there is an unusual about of snow still.

Janne on the first pitch of Sydpilaren
Finally, at the base of the route, 2h15min approach.
While Janne puts on his gear I start to lead up the first pitch, an easy warm up mostly over slabs and easy cracks.
Higher up the pillar offers a number of different variations, so the route finding is not totally relaxed. Here and there it hit dead-ends, with cracks closing on steep slabs.
But the climbing it self is just at a remarkable high level of quality. Perfect friction on solid granit!
Quality climbing
And soon we find ourself at the second amfi, standing under the last part. A prominent pillar with grooves on both sides. After a bit of speculation I remember that the right choice is via the left side. An interesting section of climbing up to 6a. I find a good place for a belay and with Janne arriving I promise him that the rest was to be on easier ground.
Proves out to not totally correct, a most fingery friction sequence on the next pitch turns out to be the crux of the whole route. A part I obviously have totally forgotten on my previous ascent. Maybe just to focus then...

Upper exit pitches
3 1/2 hours later we stand on the summit.
An other cool thing is that the route sends you directly to the very top, a little bit of scrambling the last meters but otherwise its climbing all the way from P1 to P13. And then you find yourself at the characteristic flat summit of Stetind - big as a couple of football fields.

From here the climb isn't totally over yet. Some scrambling, down climbing and a short rappel (10-15mts) and then the final scramble over "mysosten". And then, we are back on "solid" ground at Hall´s Fortopp.
And yet an other 1 1/2h hike back down to a waiting bottle of Prosciutto.

Climbers on top!
Janne on the return, descending down the Normal Route

Views from Halls Fortopp. Our Spanish friends halfway up the route, still a long way to go
50mts rope (x2 in case of retreat)
Camalots #0,75-3
Aliens #Green - Red (extra of midsize useful)
Small set of wires
4-8 QD´s

Note: there is no anchors in place, so if you need to retreat and bail off it means leaving equipment.
Possible to traverse of the route over the normal route at the second amfi band.
To reach the route, make a left turn at a cairn pointing the way at ca 700-750moh.

Topo and information; Dancing on the devils dance floor of Mikael Ekenstam
                                     Rock Fax

The Movie

//With no obvious direction, consider to stand still