After flying back to Europe from Pakistan in early August I headed straight to Lofoten for some relaxed rock climbing. In the end managed to do a first ascent of the West Face of Storskiva with Misha Mishin, in the far west of Lofoten islands. The whole story can be found here.
Stora Sjöfallet – new mixed lines
Late in 2020 we opened new mixed lines at Stora Sjöfallet. At first I wasn`t going to publish these at all but due to news about Southern European climbers claiming first ascents in the area and giving quite detailed topos about their climbs, I felt like we should do it too. So here we go:
From left to right:
- Nirvana (M7, Wi5), Samuli Pekkanen, 2020. 2 pitches. The line has been climbed as an icefall too but it forms very rarely.
- Trendsetter (M6), Juho Knuuttila, 2020. 60m.
- Japanilainen puutarha (M5+), Samuli Pekkanen, 2020. 30m
- Ice Hiking (M6, Wi5), Juho Knuuttila, 2020. 30m
- Mörk Finska, (M6+), Juho Knuuttila, 2020. 30m
Sector is located 150m right from the start of Grevinnan.
Fossilfossen in Fossildalen, Svalbard.
October was supposed to be a working month in Finland but after all I flew to Longyearbyen to see my girlfriend who is studying to become a Arctic Nature Guide. Of course I took my ice climbing gear with me as winter was sneaking in early this year in the north. Temperatures sawed above and below freezing which promised good conditions for ice climbing. However the main thing was to live with Ella and help with a household.
In late September ANG students did their classic hike to Barentsburg and back. On that hike Ella spotted an icefall in Fossildalen which looked quite technical and steep in the pictures. Respectable finding as she had not climbed any ice earlier. At least it took me a while to see if something is worth of going.
It took some time to figure out the best way to approach the icefall. Fossildalen is situated in between of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg which means at least on day hike from either direction. Speed boat option was out of question due to late timing and there wasn´t snow for snowmobiles which would be the easiest way to reach the icefall. Luckily Max suggested a walk from Barentsburg.
We took a tourist cruise to that old Soviet time mining town, drove to the end of the road with “taxi” and hiked three hours to the Traveller´s cabin near Kapp Laila. We just maneged to reach the hut before darkness. Following morning we walked to the mouth of Fossildalen, left all camping gear under some stones and followed riverbed up to the icefall. Canyon was narrow and rockfall danger was there all the time. Nothing big came down but fist size stones were big enough to keep helmets on.
Icefall looked easier than a month ago. It was still running with water! I climbed first 30 meters to a good ledge and belayed Ella up. This was her first time on waterfall ice which made me quite proud. Of course some swearing because I forgot to give technical advice before climbing. Upsss!
We both did the remaining five or so meters and rapped off from a V-thread. This was probably the first ascent of “Fossilfossen”, WI4, 35 meters. Ice quality was superb. I hope it becomes a classic early season trip for local climbers or a must do winter trip with snowmobiles. It´s worth it.
That evening we hiked to the Rusanov cabin on the other side of Colesbukta. Not as cozy as Kapp Laila hut but still a good place to stay to avoid bringing a tent.
Third and last day took us over the platteus to Bjørndalen in a full on blizzard. Quite an adventure!
Early season ice trip:
Day 1: Boat to Barentsburg. Pay for the locals to drive you to the end of the road (to a place called skihouse). Walk three hours and 12km to the Traveller´s cabin.
Day 2: Walk 1,5h to the mouth of Fossildalen. Follow the riverbed for one hour. Climb “Fossilfossen” and hike back to the shore and continue to the Rusanov cabin. Whole day took 9 hours for us.
Day 3: Walk to Bjørndalen in 7 hours. Call someone to pick you up.
Northern Norway and Thanatos
In July 2018 I and Antti Liukkonen drove up to Northern Norway to the arctic island of Kvaløya. Main plans was to climb “Thanatos”, the big 7a hand crack at Baugen and after that enjoy more classics area has to offer. We did three routes at Baugen´s beautiful 250m south face: “Flygende Hollender”, “Silhuetten” and “Thanatos”. On-sighting the main goal was a small dream come true and gave some confidence for the future.
From Kvaløya we went to Lofoten for a few days to tick some more classics like Presten. Weather was enjoyable but I got pneumonia and was forced to rest last days of the trip. Antti managed to do some more climbing though.
Nice two weeks up in the north! I won`t write anything bigger, so here´s some pictures to get idea what we did.