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

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