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Midnight sun climbing at Lofoten and Stetind, Norway

After our climbing trip to Lofoten in 2010 we became addicted to climbing in the midnight sun so and we just had to come back this year for another fix.
This year we set aside three weeks at the beginning of July and the plan was to drive up to northern Norway and go where the weather forcast was best.
I've grown really tired of camping on climbing trips so I bought a van that I convertet into a sort of camper-van. It took some time to find the right van
so when I finally got it we had only four evenings after work to convert it. I made a foldable bed, elevated enough to stash gear under it, and Sylvia
got thick black curtains which we folded double to shut out the midnight sun when sleeping. That's all we had time for but oh what a success it was!
It was sooo nice to come back from a long day of climbing and just crash back in the van in a real bed. Well, with the van ready is it could be with so
little time we packed our gear, brought with us guidebooks for Lofoten, Kvaløya, Stetind and Narvik, headed north and then let the weather descide were
we would go. I had my eye on a few unclimbed lines at Storstiensfjellet, but the weather report for that area was around 0 with snow mixed rain while it
was 16 and sunny at Lofoten... The choice was not hard! We stayed at Lofoten for almost two weeks, headed to Stetind for what we thought would be a
one day stop to climb the south pillar, then drove south to spend a few days in the Romsdal region before finally it was time for the inevitable drive home.


Sylvia leading the second pitch of the first route of our trip: Pizzatyven (The Pizza Thief).

Sylvia seconding the fourth pitch.

It was a bit easier than the incorrect line shown in the photos that took me up a 7- which I took a few falls on before finally reading the route description... Note to self: Don't just look at the topo, read the bloody description too!

Sylvia topping out on the fifth and final pitch.

The next day we went to do Bare blåbær but there was so many people on it so we did the route to the right called "Thiras Mirith".

It had a very nice crack after a run out slab, but the crux after that was tricky. I took a rather nasty fall on it, but didn't injure myself badly enough to stop climbing.

At the top of pitch four the route joins up with Bare blåbær. It was a bit crouded so we got out of there as soon as possible.

When we got down from Thiris Mirith the traffic jam on Bare blåbær had cleared up so we went for it.

I lead all pitches the last time we were here, so this time it was Sylvia's turn to do all the leading.

Sylvia in the midnight sun, just around midnight, while I'm in the shadow of the peaks on the opposite side of Djupfjord.

Sylvia doing a leg-jam :)

Bare blåbær is one of those routes you can do over and over... I'll probably do it each time I come to Lofoten.

You don't get views like this in Stockholm, that's for sure.

The next area we went to was Gandalf.

First we climbed Gollum...

And then the classic Gandalf.

The next day we returned to do Tromsø ekspressen.

Me on the first pitch.

Henningsvær from the top of the first pitch.

The two first grade six pitches are very nice.

We both thought it was the best route of the three we did at Gandalf.

Sylvia on the last pitch.

The walk off at Gandalf was short and convenient.

We then wanted to do something really long, so we hiked in for three hours to climb Vågakallen via the north ridge.

But as soon as we got up on the ridge we almost got blown off. It was far too windy for any climbing up there... Too bad, but we did get a nice hike though.

The next climbing day we did a rather steep climb called Råna.

It was a rather pleasent and steep route, but the first three belays I was at war with ants. Establishing an "ant free zone" was quite a battle.

Sylvia on the sixth pitch.

Sylvia with Svolvær in the background.

It doesn't matter where you climb at on Lofoten, you're almost always guaranteed a view!

Me on the crux pitch.

Sylvia on the 8th and final pitch.

A spectacular view from the top!

A rather steep walk off, but a walk in the park compared to other routes!

Like this one for example... It's "Rom and cola".

It's listed as a top 50 classic of Lofoten...

But we couldn't figure out why...

At was run out and had a windy traversing line.

So dealing with rope drag was a drag...

It did have one very nice corner pitch though...

But this pitch alone shouldn't make it a top 50 classic. The descent was horrible too. We really don't fancy "you slip, you die" descents!

Sleeping in the van made changing spots very easy. We chose this sport for sun at night and shade in the morning.

A late (or early) meal at about 1am.

Me on Skiløparen. The single most fun pitch I did during our three weeks in Norway. Fantastic and enjoyable climbing! Too bad it's only a single pitch climb.

It's a steep crack with some jamming and some jugg hauling, all the time very well protected.

Sylvia seconding Skiløparen.

I enjoyed it so much I had to do it again...

But only after doing this route Lundeklubben.

Sylvia seconding the first pitch.

Me on the supurb second pitch.

Sylvia on the last pitch.

Great route! Its top 50 status is well deserved.

And it also came with a view too :)

Now on to more serious stuff... Stetind... She's a gorgeous mountain... I've had my eye on the south pillar for quite some time.

The sun shining on a part of the south pillar route.

The south pillar is a 14 pitch climb with a strenuous approach. Two hours it says in the guidebook... It took us five!

We started climbing... and it started to rain!

So we had to bail and walk back...

But we walked back up the next day. Sylvia crossing the snow field again... We always roped up because we don't enjoy "you slip, you die" approaches or descents.

But as we started climbing it got far too windy to continue. Stetind was trying to blow us of this time. I got a bit fed up so I started swearing at her. Oh she didn't like that, she started to throw rocks down on us! We had to bail!

We had one last day with a decent weather report, so this time we tried sneaking up on her on the clouds so she couldn't see us coming...

The clouds followed us for a while...

And it was looking rather gloomy...

But the clouds cleared up... for a while at least.

Enough to keep us going.

Me on the sixth pitch.

The team above us on the tight chimney squeeze.

I was hoping that Stetind wasn't going to freak out on us as there was the other team above us. They had dropped a water bottle at the start and thought it would be sacrifice enough to see them through.

The problem was that I'd picked up other sacrifices that other climbers had dropped... Don't do that on a mountain that demands sacrifices! Looking at these clouds I said that the team above us would probably top out and then Stetind would hit us hard as we climbed the last pitches.

But as I climbed the eleventh pitch there was still some blue sky here and there.

Sylvia on the eleventh pitch. The best pitch of the route if you ask me.

More clouds rolling in...

The patches of clear sky are getting smaller. Will we make it up in time or will my prediction come true?

Sylvia leading pitch twelve.

Me following. The exposed ridge behind me is the actual descent route.

It's actually a climbing route in itself... Not somewhere you want to be if a storm hits...

Me on the thirteenth pitch... and as I predicted, the team above us topped out, then Stetind hammered us with heavy rain, wind and lightning...

After waiting out the lightning huddled under a rock for a few hours all soaked to the bones we got a break in the storm so we made a run for it. We didn't get very far before the second wave of crap weather seen in the background was upon us. Fortunatly it didn't bring any lightning, just clouds, no visibilty, plenty of wind and a load of rain, so we continued. It took us over seven hours to cross the exposed ridge safely in those conditions, totaling 28 hours round trip.

When we got back it was so nice to wash up and then crash in a real bed with thick curtains to shut out the midnight sun. Although it was pretty miserable, being pressured under such harsh conditions for an extended period really gives you a chance to teach you a little more about yourself and your partner. Although we wouldn't want to do it again we are very greatfull for the adventure and the new insight to ourselves and each other. Stetind may have given us misery for a few hours, but she gave us some very precious insights to ourselves that will last us much longer... I just don't think that was her intention though, Stetind has an attitude and it got personal. I don't think she likes me the least!

After that adventure I needed a break from climbing, adventures, strenuous approaches and descents so we arranged the bed to couch mode, packed the car and drove south for two days...

To Romsdal. Initialy I didn't want to climb but the forecast said one day of good weather, then the rest crap so we decided to do a short road side climb with the Troll wall in view.

It was a three pitch classic called Ingrid Espelid.

Some nice well protected corner climbing with a slightly akward offwidth crux.

This was the last climb of the trip.

Then we did some touristing of abandoned places for a few days, then headed home.

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