Apr 15, 2014

Stállegorsa - Kebnekaise


I don't know over how many years I have been looking on this thing, but it has always been a real teaser
Like a beautiful girl that you just think that you have done well with, just before she disappears with a smile. Never to be seen again until next year. And the same thing happens all over again…
This most beautiful pillar of ice has shown its forms a couple of times, only to just to quick brake downing pieces the next day, until next year, in best case. But most often it just shows its capacity and its possibilities.
But, if you are keen, someday it will work out. Just like with your woman!

the Queen of  snowmobiles, a true madame Sarri

As always, leaving Nikkaloukta my days start to seek for this heart shape ravine on the south side of Ladtjovagge. And as I knew that the ice conditions in general was good this year, my hopes was big to see "her" again. But, since no one has said anymore I didn't give it to much. Remembering 4-5 years ago when the formation was "in", linked up with a 5-6meter upper part of the thinest icicle you can think of. And, which of course had broken down a couple of days later. Before even touched. 
One or two teams has been told tried her before, but no success…

The local name for this caracter is Stállegorsa, which means the Steel gorge. It has many explanations for its shape. One of them would be that a giant sat down for a rest at this point, giving the mountain side its shape of its "butt"
Well, to me it looks more like a giant heart. Maybe ticking for a dedicated ice climber!?

 As we came closer with the snowmobile, and a rising heart rate, I could by my most stunning conviction realise that my time has come to give her a try. A point of no return, its now or never. Her shapes was the most perfect ever seen trough my eyes, what a beauty! But,  as before, would she fool me again…

the lappish queen of icicles

The first day went of with mountain work, preparing a ski alpinism course, ski du alpinism. For the classic ski race in Kebnekasie. Which has the similar name of "Kebnekasie Classic". Which has been running since 1992 with a couple of years brake at the start of the new millennium. 
So, since I was chief of security the first focus had to go to the race, an other individual race was to be quick enough to brake off for a big climb. A race up the icicle.
And with a bit of planning and a bunch of luck I got a work and weather spell. And with a bit of sophisticated convincing as well, I had a partner!

One part of the prepared race track, Halspasset

With an idea of that "this should go fast", he packed his things after a late lunch. In which I packed the gear for the trip, trying to lend togheter best as possible. Which actually sent me a bunch of new gear, from axes to ropes, thank you Johan and Patrik!
With a modern approach we stood at the base after an hour of modernisize. Looking up at the most stunning pillar ever. 
A perfect body covered under a most brilljant layer of snow, like angel dust. But would she let me up!?
Maybe her legs would give a sign of what to come.?

la madame it self

Racking up was easy, 6 ice screws for the lead and 2 for the belay would cover its calculated 50m. If I could sneak up her legs to her breast, maybe I could force the shoulders and up on its head. The biggest issue though, the roof. A biiig roof!
And of course, nothing comes easy here. The first meters of climbing shows exactly what to come, I am more digging with my axes then actually climbing. Trying to hook behind frozen snow and icicles deep behind the snow curtain. And if that would not be enough, the angel dust of snow turns to a "gaine en verre" known as the famous verglas
As usual, I just need someone to ask me to come down, normally works fine to send me up… So after almost giving up on her. Realising she belongs to an other class, I keep on struggling upwards moving from one bad placement to an other. Doing my best to keep the feet trigged in as deep as possible for balance. And finally I have to take the decision of leaving the security of placing ice screws, trying to lurk my way up the covered thin ice layer up to, what I can see, good ice 6-7 meters up…goes well!

Just digging and hoping

One good ice screw and I have to down climb to retrieve a couple of screws for the upper part, which look hard, kind off.
But, now with solid hard ice under my tools I feel confident to give the last bit the best go, placing first one and then a second screw under the roof with a screamer as well. Then suddenly I hear this noise. A new sound from the ice that wasn't there before…oopps. Should I go or should I stay?! Like a bad song with worse lyrics. Is it going to collapse or just wants me to know who is in charge here?!
A minutes intensive listening during the time nothing changes, either the noise or … or what? 
Time to go and make it quick 


A high as possible placed axe giving the other a long reach up to a some kind of formation low down on the edge of the tapp. No other chance, if it holds it holds. Feet as high a it can, considering a figure of 4 but keep it simple and a dyno placement sinks the next axe in, looking off and replace the first. From which I under desperation am able to place an ices crew. 
Jeess, I will take this beauty home!
As long as she dosnt brake off below, means rips me of from this point
The final 5-6 vertical meters is pure pleasure but of course there is one more fight before the belay is put up and I can pull up the last 5 meters of our 60m twinn ropes
What a journey. Our quick "ballad" took me over an hour to lead and most of my physical physics
But a loong gentlemen-in-waiting has paid off!!

long way to go still, Tobias following

Getting closer...

"le coeur de géant" WI7, 55mts FA Krister Jonsson/Tobias Granath 2014-04-02

Done, happy senders!

2x60m rope. 6-12 ice screws, 1-2 screamers
Stállegorsa. 4km west south/west of Nikkaloukta on the south side of Láddjuvagge below Guodekcohkka (1300m)

 //Slåss inte med Monster, du kan bli med ett!