So, it may not have escaped anyone, but earlier this month the first ever guidebook to bouldering in Lofoten saw its release. The book – titled ”A comprehensive guide to Bouldering in Lofoten” – presents more than 700 problems in 24 different areas, from Svolvær in the east to Bunes in the west.
320 pages, with written descriptions and photo topos to all problems, combined with all the necessary maps, directions and logistics you need to get the most out of the bouldering here this guidebook will hopefully put Lofoten on the global bouldering map. Also, the book contains an adundance of inspiring photos that will hopefully wet your apetite for some arctic bouldering.
So far the response has been overwhelming and it’s been a pleasure to work on this project and finally see it come to life. Thanks again to everyone involved; advertisers, collaborators and friends!
Bouldering in Lofoten is available from well sorted outdoor shops – both in Lofoten and elsewhere – but it can also be ordered at lofotenbouldering.com. At lofotenbouldering.com you can also report new problems, for a future second edition of the book.
Having been to Lofoten many times, focus has always been on roped climbing, single or multipitch. Sometimes we’ve played around on the boulders below Presten or elsewhere, but without a pad there’s been nothing serious to it. Now, when living here and with two pads at the ready I’ve been able to discover a side of Lofoten I haven’t really seen before. There’s no doubt about it, some of the problems would be rated three stars anywhere in the world.
Apart from doing some bouldering on my own I have also had the time to capture some of the Lofoten bouldering with my camera. This is an ongoing project, what the end result will be remains to be seen. But why not share some of the images in the meantime?
So, about a week ago my regular climbing partner came up to northern Norway for a brief visit. We met at the parking below Kugelhornet and Verdensvaet in the Efjord area and had our eyes set on Livet lever, a 16 pitch route on Eidetind’s north west face. The route, which is graded 6-, has three stars in the excellent guidebook Stetind and Narvik – dancing on the devil’s dancefloor by Mikael af Ekenstam and Lars Thulin. Having climbed a few other routes in the area (and in other areas in northern Norway) we knew that three stars would most likely mean world class granite climbing. Naturally, our expectations were high.
We headed up from the small village of Eidet in the afternoon, reaching the foot of the wall at around 5 o’clock. The route follows a system of cracks from bottom to top and it sure looked like a nice line. After scoping out the general direction of the route we started on the first pitch. The rock on Eidetinds north west face is a lot smoother than that found on Stetind for example. I guess most of the small knobs have been worn down by snow and running water over the years.
The climbing felt good, the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and there was hardly any wind. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing really. The only thing we soon discovered was that the three stars given to the route had to be given as a joke or as a way of trying to lure more climbers to this seldom visited side of the mountain. A few pitches up (of course) the grass and moss was abundant, filling the cracks on many of the pitches. Fortunately the vegetation was dry and you could see that climbers before us had dug out holes in the grass to be able place protection, thanks for that! Nevertheless, our high expectations were shattered and we wondered what the first ascentionists could have been on when reviewing their own ”creation” for the guidebook.
Anyway, sometime early morning two nagging middle aged men stood on the top with a breathtaking view of mountains and fjords.
We’d sworn a lot about those three stars which had fooled us up on to this rock face, but still, during the descent the feeling of having completed yet another mini adventure in the mountains became more and more positive. But would we recommend Livet lever to others? Hell no. Of course, if you know about the vegetation and lower your expectations you may have a great time.
We entered our tent at about 6 o’clock, falling asleep instantly.
The following day (well, the same day really) soon revealed itself as a rest day, with two worn down climbers mostly lying on the rocks by the stream that comes down the giant slab of Verdenssvaet. After some time we got restless though and for some reason we just couldn’t resist the temptation to do the first(?) nude ascent of the big slab. What can I say, sometimes when you come up with an idea – no matter how great or how crazy it is – you just have to see it through, don’t you?
The other mountains in the region still had quite a lot of snow on them and we decided to head up to Narvik for some sport climbing in Svartdalen. This is a very nice set of crags, complex and with a vast potential for new routes. We enjoyed some of the existing routes for a day and a half and then it was time for me to head back to ”Villa Valberg” on Vestvågøy. Can’t wait to go back to Efjord. But I’m done with Eidetind. I think.
Having been based in Stockholm for some 40+ years I thought it was time to try something new. Since early April I’m now residing in Lofoten in northern Norway. I’ve been here many times during the summer. The first visit was with my dad in 1981, hiking around the fishing villages of Kalle and Henningsvær. My climbing passion wasn’t born until ten years later, but maybe subconsiously it all began on that trip to Lofoten?
In 1994 I did my first climbing trip to Lofoten. Some things have changed since then. The free ”campsite” below Gandalfveggen is no longer the quiet place it was back then. Well, it is now, in the early spring, but in the summer it is usually very busy nowadays, and there are clear signs showing us that the presence of climbers is beginning to take its toll on the environment below Gandalfveggen. Some things are still the same though. The mountains are still just as beautiful, reflected as they are in the ocean at their feet. The rock is still of the same impeccable quality, but there are a lot more established routes to choose from nowadays.
I’ve also managed to sample some of the skiing here, although the past season hasn’t been the best according to the locals. Mind you, there might still be some interesting ski touring available out there. Now is the time for multiple activity days, with enough light to go climbing in the morning and then head for the hills for some ski touring in the evening.
Of course I’m not here on an extended vacation. I’m available for assignments both on and off the mountain, so please feel free to contact me if you have any ideas or if you need help realizing your visual communications projects.