Winter season is finally here(!), and for the 8 year in a row, I'm leaving Norway behind in favor of spanish caves, loads of kneebars and resonably priced beer :) Continuing were we left off last year, we'r back to the legendary roof of Chilam Balam that, despite beeing a bit wet right now, looks as steep and inspiring as ever.
When we first came here 3 years ago, Dani and Edu were both falling after around 80 meters at the very top of Chilam. This time it's local strongman @luisrozmar falling at the same spot, while at the same time climbing there a lot faster and with lots of wet holds(!). Dani and Edu both went on to send the route a few weeks into our trip. Looking at Luis the last few days, I wouldn't be surprised to see a repeat of that happening this season :) Here are a few shots of Luis on a impressive redpoint attempt in horrible conditions yesterday.
Nordic Flower 2.5 (8c/+) After sending the Nordic Plumber I decided I wanted to spend a bit more time in Flatanger this season to see if I could also do the Nordic Flower.
As the route is in a roof and also fairly long (55 meters). Checking out the moves, finding the beta and making the links tok a few days. Then, ready to start redpoints, I instead decided to spend another few days working an extension. I just could not accept that the route was to end at such a random place in the middle of the roof for no good reason.
The original anchor is a bit of an oddity placed in the middle of the roof, 15 meters from the vertical plate everything else ends on. I guess it was originaly intended to continue as it has a third extension through the only bad rock up there with a hard boulder at the end that's yet to be climbed from the Flower (tho climbed by Adam Ondra from the Valkyrie). This extension neither seems logical nor very nice to me. The continuation out the Valkyrie however, a route that basically comes in just at the anchors of the Nordic Flower and continues out the easiest and most obvious line to the formentioned vertical feature, seemed much more like the logical extension. The only issue with Valkyrie is that again, the anchors are a bit too low (most likely to save the rope when lowering), basically just at the end of the roof, missing the moves getting around the lip and into the ledge/cave feature on the vertical just above. Seeing as there were holds I decided to add that part aswell, making the whole thing a 70 meter kneebarskill dependent endurance monster. Then yesterday, it all came togheter from the ground somehow :) The "new" extension adds a 15ish meter 8a to the existing 8c. Seeing as there are decent rests I'm guessing it only adds a /+ to the grade, but I might be wrong. Time will tell I guess. In the first two photo's: the Nordic Flower. In the last two photo's: the extension into the Valkyrie. (The black rope is in the original anchor) The video is the first part of the crux boulder on the second part of the Nordic Flower. The whole boulder (in better quality..) can be seen here: https://gopro.com/v/MBZXood67ZkZ
Made it back to Flatanger for yet another weekend :) The weather got a bit more chilly then we might have prefered with frost during the night and about 6-8 degrees during the day. It turned out to be quite the challenge staying warm on the freezing rock, but once the pain was endured some good links were made. I started out yesterday with a test redpoint on the Nordic Flower, sending part 1 (8b/+), something I hadn't actualy done before(!), and getting halfway through the crux on part 2 with a lot of mistakes and bad beta. I then made links and improved my beta on part 2 to the point I now feel confident I can do the full rig.
Back in 2012 I was there as @ethan_pringle bolted the link from The Nordic Flower into @magmidt yet unclimbed project The Thors Hammer. I watched with interest during Ethans redpoint attempts, and I was up at the anchor taking photo's during the first ascent (photo nr. 2). The line was originaly to be called Nordic Thunder, but based on a funny misunderstanding with some of the locals, ended up as The Nordic Plumber.
I didn't really try the route then beyond bouldering a bit at the bottom boulder, and when I returned in 2014 I focused more on Nordic Flower, climbing this to the first chains from the second bolt, but never from the ground(!). I then returned in 2015 to try it, but frustrated with what seemed like constantly wet holds in the begining, and sub optimal beta on this sequence, I left the original start and opted to try it from the always dry Dvergtrollet just to the right instead. After several trips that year, I made the link from Dvergtrollet for a slightly easier version (The Troll Hammer), but it still haunted me that I hadn't done it from the original start.
Fast forward to easter this year, I once again find myself in Flatanger, this time with my couisin @eivindumberto trying the Nordic Flower/Plumber start.
We didn't have any redpoint attempts on it that trip, or that spring for that matter, but came back a few weekends here and there to learn/relearn the beta. After 4 months away from Flatanger, I came back to try it again 2 days 2 weeks ago, then last weekend, and finally this weekend for proper redpoint attempts. Having sussed out all the beta and recovered some endurance working the links, it all came down to waiting for conditions, and today, on my second time through the first boulder (made it through and fell on the rail in the photo's 2 days ago), I finally managed to battle it out all the way to the chains :) Nordic Plumber 8c, sent and done.
Photo 1: Me on the final rail, the redpoint crux, by @firnenburgbrothers back in 2015. Photo 2: Ethan Pringle on the final rail during the actual first ascent back in 2012.
Flatanger is finally in season, and after a very warm summer, progress is finally made and projects are going down.
In the first photo: After about 2 months of work, @cornerclimber finally sent Thors Hammer (9a) yesterday, as of yet the only Kiwi to climb this grade.
In the second photo: Strongman @edumarin1 suffers through what seems the endless roof of Valhalla (9a) making a solid highpoint just a few moves away from "easier" ground.
In the third photo: 8C boulderer @martinmobraten battles with the endurance and kneebar style of the cave setting a new highpoint high on the plummer (8c) yesterday, despite only having gone through the upper part once before.
In the fourth photo: @eivindumberto makes the boulders in the begining of the Plummer/Flower look easy, while trying to build the endurance for the full Plummer link.
In the final photo: @tarjey makes quick progress on the bouldery Muy Verdes (8c) during the gathering a few weeks back
The third week of july was the peak of the heatwave in Norway, and with temps rising to the mid 30's, it was a great week to be in the mountains. The mountains however did not seem to agree with this, and seemed rather less then pleased with us crawling all over them, dropping lose rocks on people left and right. For a group behind us this lead to a serious injury and a (not very dramatic) heli rescue, when a poor guy pulled a fridge size block lose onto himself. The next day bad luck struck my group, this time with my assistant instructor losening a rock with the rope, hitting his belayer in the neck, leading to a bail off the mountain for half the group and a visit to the doctor. (No serious damage was done) The week wasn't all doom and gloom however, and despite the mountains beeing a bit more cranky then usuall, we had some great trips on and around them. With two funny, and extremely well colour-coordinated girls that didn't try to throw lose rocks on me (or eachother) in my group, I both laught more and tok more photos during this week (despite the injuries) then any other the whole summer. (Thx for that girls). #madskillzmedia#fjellkursleder#fjelletsfagfolk#fjelletsfagfjols#visitnorway#hurrungane#liveterbestute#mountainphotography#canon#klatring#escalar#climbing#postcardperfect#heatwave#jotunheimen#mountainseason#nasjonalparkriket#turjenter
Mountain season and the heat wave continues. This from last weeks alpine climbing course, in order of apparance:
1-2. The boys exploring the steeper parts of the Bøverbreen glacier. 3. Evening view of Bøverbreen and Smørstabtindene from inside my tent 4. The first pitch on Skeii (3+) on the ridge traverse of Smørstabtindene with Hurrungane and the glacier in the background. 5. The way down from Skeii on the other side on the ridge traverse. 6. The famous sideways rappel traverse between Veslebjørn and Bjørnungen. 7-8. Scrambling and views on the Smørstabtind traverse.
3 years ago. Inspired by videos of Tommy Caldwell swinging around on El Cap looking for lines, I brought 270 meters of static rope with the help of my friends @taglione_toney and Hans, to the top of the west face of Norways third highest mountain Store Skagastølstind. The first trip ended with a quick bail when it started snowing just after getting the rope to the top of the wall. I then returned alone, absailed the whole face on a uncut 200 meter rope, and ran around much like in the films looking for a line. I didn't find a new line going all the way up or down on gear that day, and seeing as it's in a strict no bolt area, I instead opted for cleaning a direct start and search for a direct finish to the existing test piece Luft, vind ingenting. Unfortunately I ran out of time before getting to look at the direct finish, and then the weather window closed before I could get back. 3 weeks later, with only 1 day between jobs, I returned with @salvesenfjellsport from the bottom and climbed the new direct start, exiting in Vestveggen as per the original route. After work season ended I then returned once again to see if a direct finish would go, and at the same time, bring the ropes down from the mountain before the snow made it to hard. Unfortunately snow had allready fallen and frozen the rope into a 200 meter iceknot. After trying to get the ice off for about 30 min, I gave up and ended up carrying it off with the help of Philip and Sofie, without absailing into the wall.
After a week of rain, followed by a week of cloudy super humid days, Taipan is finally dry enough for us to get a taste of it's awsome quality climbing without greasing off every other hold!
With only 3 climbing days left however conditions are arriving a bit to late for me to have any realistic chance on Groovetrain. In the 3,5 weeks here so far this trip I'v yet to have a single redpoint attempt on the route (compared to 15 attempts 2 years ago) as it's either been wet, or just to humid and greasy to do more then a few moves in a row before slipping off. (Those who have tried to boulder in Font in december might understand what I'm talking about). It's been a bit frustrating for sure, but the route isn't going anywhere, and weather and conditions this time of the year is always going to be a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you get lucky, other times you do not. On the bright side, not trying Groovetrain opens up for trying all sorts of other things, and hopefully actually clipping some anchors these last few days :) In the photo Steini cleans up one of his mini projects, Venom 28/7c+, just as the sun finally makes an apparance on Taipan 2 days ago. #madskillzmedia#remotephotography#Taipan#taipanwall#redpoint#sun#klatring#escalar#climbing#downunder#grampians#grampiansclimbing#climbon