LoFUNten !

The idea to go to Norway came from Aska and Bartek who were there two years ago and were absolutely delighted, in addition Iza and Rafał shared that feeling.

Finding a partner was not easy, since (a) I’m picky when it comes for longer vacations 🙂 (b) Norway is not necessarily the cheapest vacation spot. At the end Masha was keen to go. We settled on dates bought tickets, got guidebook from Rafał, arranged car, agreed on gear.

We flew on Friday to Bergen, and then on Sat “morning” to Tromso. With a bit (2h!) of delays we got to Tromso at 14.05… just 5min after the car renting place was closing, fortunately, thanks to Andreea who managed to call the rental car center the guy waited for us. Drive from Tromso to Henningsvaer took around 7h, though we cooked ginger noodles on the way.

Views on the way are marvelous, the further the better.

On Sunday we started with a short crag – Gandalf, we have actually bivyied  next to it ;-). Climbed 4 routes of increasing difficulties – not bad. Climbing was generally on a good quality rock, walk off takes maybe 15min. The crag gets a lot of people, but at the same time there is lots of good routes, so we almost did not have to wait at all.

Monday woke us up with rain. Dammit, it was supposed to be sunny the entire week. Well, we tried to make as much as possible out of that day and drove West. There is loads of possibilities and bigger walls there. This really looks like next – few weeks long – Norway destination. We got back to our tent probably around 5pm, early enough to get some food and go climbing since it stopped raining and rock looked dry. We climbed another 6 pitches on Festvag. Another two stunning routes. Masha also took a quite decent fall on gear. I was not brave enough to fall so I on-sighted my first N7- in Norway.

Tuesday was a Vestpillaren Direct on Presten day. We started relatively early (not too much as there is enough of daylight all the time ;-)). Once approached we saw another party who already started. We caught up with them relatively quickly, but were not slowed by by them much. They were a good and funny American couple. The route is really spectacular. Climbing is great, the N6 pitches are sustained but not too hard. Pure joy…. well maybe apart from the part when heavy drizzle started and increased my stress level by a lot. Though Masha was leading her pitch at that point. She seemed to be much more off by the wind on the last pitches than by that rain. I could not understand that, but I was happy that we complement each other.

Wednesday. We moved our camping spot to Kalle beach. It’s a nice place but much more crowded. We went to climb The Midnight Butterfly on Myggapillaren. First pitch didn’t look easy nor really dry, nor… basically not appealing to me, I was quite glad that Masha said she can start. Well… up to the point where she grounded twice while trying to get to the first crack that would take any pro. I was quite tired mentally and I did not even try. Retreat was a good choice as soon after it started to rain again. We spend a day visiting Svolvaer. Then when we got back to Kalle, sun was shining again so we decided to do a short 4 pitch climb on a crag just 15min walk from the tent.

Thursday was a good weather and good climbing day. We started with Pan – a N7- climb on Geitvika, then on the decent went again to Festvag and did another 3 pitches climb on a face, followed by a single pitch climb that “can be easily ticked on the descent”.

There is no good trip without humbling experience. That was Friday :D. Masha found a Top50 route on Vagariset that looked pretty good, so we settled to do it with another climb on the same wall. Though the guidebook did not say that the approach and descent are possibly deadly, through bushes and vertical grass. I was again asking myself where is my ice axe.  The first pitch of the route (Vågarisset) did not look appealing even though the advertised crack looked quite awesome. We were quite mentally wracked after the approach and decided to climb Zig Zag – easier one on the wall – instead. Masha lead a first pitch, mine was to be an unprotect-able chimney with grass at the end. We decided to bail. Well, the day at least was sunny and we went “swimming” to the sea ! :-).

We drove most of the way to Tromso on Friday evening to catch the plane to Zurich on Saturday midday.

AWESOME vacation. Thanks Masha!

Photos.

And Masha’s story:

Part 1. Part 2.

 

Routes:

Day Crag Route Grade Length #pitches
Sun Gandalf Gandalf N5 100m 3
Sun Gandalf Guns ‘n’ Roses N6- 100m 3
Sun Gandalf Gamle rev N6 105m 2
Sun Gandalf Tromso ekspressen N6 95m 3
Mon Festvag Ludekubben N6 90m 3
Mon Festvag Fire forsok N7- 80m 3
Tues Presten Vestpillaren Direct N6 455m 12
Wed Horrnikornsvaet Puffrisset N5+ 105m 4
Thu Geitvika Pan N7- 125m 4
Thu Festvag Skiloperen N6- 30m 1
Thu Festvag Luksusdyret N6 90m 3
Fri Vagariset Zig Zag (BAILED) N6 60m 2

Total: 1435m and 43 pitches.

ps. Special thanks for Andreea for saving our car deal, Rafal and Iza for guidebook and Tom for daily weather forecast :-).

ps2. I wanted to get a stone from Lofoten, as I usually bring a souvenir, but airport security didn’t like it in my carry on 😦

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