In 2010 Austrian climber Rudi Hauser travelled to the west coast of Norway, just a few hours from Trondheim and discovered steep valleys and gigantic rock faces which although well known amongst base jumpers, are less renowned for their ice and mixed potential.
Acting on this information Hauser returned February 2012 along with Ines Papert, Lukas Seiwald, Kurt Astner, Emanuele Ciullo, Thomas Senf and Scott Milton and the team, based in the Sunndalenfjord, scoped the climbing in the Sunndalen, Amotan, Eikesdal, Eresfjord and Trollveggen areas. Unsurprisingly, they came away with a series of important first ascents and repeats. Papert’s trip report is published below:
Surprice (WI6+/M8, 350m)
In perfect conditions at around 0° our photographer Thomas Senf and I set off on day 1 to climb our first route in the Litldalen/Sunndalen area. Our goal was to reach a massive ice dagger which could be reached after 300 meters of climbing. When we got there I started up the steep mixed pitch equipped with a full rack, the rock provided perfect placements and I placed my last piece of pro on a thin ice smear just beneath the gigantic dagger. I leaned out carefully, placed my first axe into the dagger, then the second and carefully cut loose. Suddenly though the dagger tore beneath my tools, tons of ice fell down into the void. I found myself dangling in space, held my nerve and swung my feet back to reach the rock and smear. My first thought: hopefully Thomas was safe enough beneath the overhang. I shouted down and he gave me the thumbs up. We’d been lucky. We were shaken but we wanted to complete the route nevertheless. The dangerous dagger was no more, but this had given way to a powerful ice roof which I fought hard to overcome. Thomas then led the last pitch. We’d done it!
Quattro Naziones (WI 6/M9/A1, 500m)
We discovered a huge ice gully at the end of the Eikesdal Valley with a mixed variation finish. Lukas Seiwald, Thomas Senf, Emanuele Ciullo and I climbed 400m up easy terrain before things got serious: a 40m pitch up steep granite to finish via the final dagger…
Lukas belayed me with patience: steep granite, poor gear and hard technical climbing make this pitch a real challenge. Halfway up I had to place a bolt by hand to avoid a potential fall onto a ledge and the climbing remained challenging right up to the very end. I reached the top exhausted, a redpoint ascent today seemed simply impossible and we planed to return in the next couple of days. Unfortunately a huge storm rolled in and the ensuing avalanche danger forced us to abandon hopes. A free ascent is something to aim for in the future.
Sea Gull Jonathan WI 6 and Offshore (WI 7, 250m)
One of the absolute highlights of our Norway visit was a boat trip from Eidsvag across the Eresfjord to reach the face on the other side. Lukas, Scott and I made the first ascent of “Sea Gull Jonathan” in a truly exposed position high above the Fjord, while Rudl, Kurt and Thomas established “Off Shore”. Two parallel running, 250m high climbs up demanding ice, never climbed previously. What a great experience!
50$ King Crab (WI6/M10, 350m)
Neither Thomas Senf nor I had ever climbed such strangely colored ice before. The dagger reminded us to legs of a King crab, the ones Rudi had cooked for us the day before. Despite this massive protein intake my mental strength was almost spent, the rock accepted little natural gear and I protected our 50$ King Crab with 5 bolts including belays. We returned the next day and I sent the route : the crux was a long move and took me a couple of times. The remaining ice to the top was some of the finest I’ve ever climbed and this is certainly one of our best routes ever.
Perly on Ice (WI6/ M9 70m Trad)
Our last day offered warm temperatures and lots of snow, but still good enough to try a new route. The crack in the roof was the line we wanted to climb: a magic line protected with trad gear which luckily held my long falls. Thanks to Thomas’ motivation I managed the redpoint the route just before our departure. We named it after our “foster mother” Perly, who provided us with everything and made our trip a great experience.
At the very beginning of the trip: We arrived in the dark. But I had never expected this. A remote place just next to the fjord, a very comfortable wooden fisher hut near Sunndalen- owned by a very friendly and helpful Norwegian family- was our base.
6 boys and me as the only woman, you might expect I was cooking and doing dishes for the whole time. Wrong: rudi hauser was the man with the cooking spoon. perly fredsvik (the owner of the hut) supported us with fresh salmon, as well as information about ice climbing around there.
She managed to find out, who the local ice climbers are and appointed a meeting with Bjorn Magne Overas. When he should up (we were almost at the end of our trip) we were surprised again, how helpful Norwegians are. Even if they generally don’t publish a lot about their ascents…Bjorn helped out with Photos, Topos and his knowledge about the area. He showed us pictures from his attempt on Mardalsfossen back in the Days. They failed because there shaft of the Ice tools broke- they were still made out of Bambus. Unbelievable, we were speaking to one of the pioneers of the country.
We learned that Norway it`s worth to visit any time of the year, but I prefer the wintertime, since its so quiet and it offers lots of Ice.
- Sunndalen/Litldalen: Nice Surprice WI6+/M8 350m Ines Papert/Thomas Senf
- Eikesdal: Quattro Nazioni WI6/M9/A1 500m Ines Papert/Lukas Seiwald
- Eresfjord (Boatstripp): See Gull Jonathan WI6 250m Ines Papert/Lukas Seiwald
- Eikesdal: 50$ King Crab WI6/M10 300m Ines Papert/ Thomas Senf
- Sunndalen/Powerhouse: Perly on Ice WI 6/M9 70m Ines Papert/Thomas Senf
- where to stay: Sunndalsfjord Cottages www.fredsvik.com