10/22/14

Do we need a term for something in between bouldering and free soloing?

I have seen this beautiful peace of rock since I first came to Lofoten. It is one of the many roadside boulders that are littered through out  the island.  This summer I finally went over there and took a closer look and realized it was possible though the grade was highly uncertain. It was clear that it needed some cleaning hanging from a rope and possibly even a ladder. Some days later Me and Jonas went back with all equipment needed for our mission. After cleaning it and roughly starting to see the way it climbs I let go of the initial idea of giving it a flash attempt - it's very high with a bad landing.

I worked out the moves on top rope and sent it soon after...

video
Do we need a term for something in between bouldering and free soloing? I've climbed a bunch of high balls, the first few that comes to mind are Linds långa linje - Kjugekull, A Thrilla in Manilla - Jumkil, Liquid explosion - Lofoten and obviously the one above. All of those lines are high enough that a fall from the top would mean a trip to the hospital with a probable life changing injury. In my world I have a hard time seeing the difference between high balling and free soloing - the term high ball feels contrived.
I've started to think that maybe we use it to get an excuse to go free soloing both mentally (to ourselves) and ethically towards our friends. Most of us climbers have very strong ethics against free soloing but high balling is usually ok - even though the difference in consequence of a fall is irrelevant. Before Fear of Temptation I didn't see my self as a climber that was into free soloing but after I did it I started to question if I HONESTLY could count my self to that group anymore.
I enjoyed climbing it very much and the intense experience that comes with such climbs is really unique,  every decision made and move executed is the most important thing of your life at that moment.


I really respect the thought that you shouldn't go free soloing at crags where it is crowded and least of all were there are children around, but maybe we should loosen up a little when it comes to our harsh ethics against free soloing and especially not judge anyone practicing the discipline.

Maybe we should stop disguise the act of free soloing in terms like high balling, and just see it for what it is.

*Movie made by Jonas Paulsson

10/6/14

First ascent of Loki

The approach up to Holländaren follows a faint path, it is beautiful but fairly steep and long. The landscape is littered with rocks that makes the walk strenuous, but occasionally life becomes easier when low angled granite slabs break up the monotonous rock hopping. On our way, we are passing several pretty streams that here and there dissolves over the slabs and spray the rock with water, the scenery is hypnotizing. During the hour and a half that it takes to the hut there is room for reflection and thought, the sensation of being here and now is overwhelming when I'm on a mission in the mountains; the surroundings are too intense to let anything else in. What I have in front of me and the experience that will come with it, is everything.

When looking at the walls that surrounds the hut, I wonder why I haven't heard people talking about this place. The walls are sprayed with perfect lines that are hard to resist, but Cody and I, we have our aim elsewhere. We got a tip from a friend living in Tromsö that the Masta sector apparently had a clean forty meter finger crack that no one had climbed before.


We planned this first day at Kvaloya to be a warm up for the big mission on Blåmann, this turned out not to be the case in the end..
When walking up to Masta we saw the obvious line and were surprised that it hadn't been climbed before. It's an alternative pitch in between Ikaros and Sentralruta which starts with a vertical crack section that eventually becomes steeper, while the crack becomes thinner. The crux section is thin and strenuous to protect, but the gear is perfect...

On one of my attempts, while still trying to figure out how to best protect the crux I had decided to go for a micro stopper. Were it was placed it was bomber, however I knew there was a chance that the upward force generated by the rope could pull it out. 

I had climbed all the way up to the last bad rest before I had to commit and pull through the crux. A bit nervous and tired I tried to psych myself up and started climbing methodically. First a mono finger lock, then a shallow two finger lock, then into strenuous lay backing on small side pulls. From here I placed the stopper strenuously. Now I had to be quick.  Right hand out on side pull, left hand strenuously up on another bad side pull, pulling up my feet on bad smears. About one meter above my last piece and maybe three above my second last piece at this point. I was about to go for the last hard move when I saw the stopper spinning downwards around the rope… Fuck…one meter had become three.. a two meter fall had become a six meter fall.. shit.. ok keep it together, I looked up again and tried to focus on the last move. Common.. I won't fall.. Looking down again.. It's going to be a long fall. I tried to down climb but before I had time to react I was in the air.. I hope the last micro stopper will catch my fall... and then I stopped, the piece had held. Relieved I started to laugh.

The next attempt, both me and Cody did it. We solved the protection issue by simply skipping the last piece and instead ran it out. What we thought would be a quick mission turned out to be a four day fight so our Blåmann mission had to wait for our next visit.

We dubbed the route Loki and the grade is a bit uncertain but I don't feel ashamed grading it 7c+ :)! 












9/26/14

Bouldering in Lofoten

My friend Jonas Paulsson and I went searching for new boulder potential in Lofoten this summer and as the great photographer Jonas is he managed to capture some of the climbing on his beautiful pictures here 

http://jonaspaulsson.se/gallery/climbing/

9/18/14

A movie From the bouldering in Bale mountains!

Tomas Rydval has made this beautiful edit from their trip to Bale mountains, the area that we discovered a few years back!



9/7/14

Working for NNKS

During the summers of 2013-2014 I've been working for Nord Norsk Klatre Skole with their summer courses. It is a company with a long history, they have been teaching clients how to move safely in the mountains since 1972. The plan is to go back there in February and help them with their four month course. It has been a pleasure working with them and and it as given me a lot of valuable experience.
The beautiful archipelago around Kalle a.k.a. Paradiset

Working on the rappel technique

My colleague and strong climber Håvard 

Having a group of twenty plus clients means a lot of gear

Happy clients

Building anchors

The clients did a fantastic job leading the mellow climbing up the Rock'n Roll Ridge



8/22/14

Viktor gör Slartibartfast

My good friend Viktor came for a visit a few days ago and got to try some of the bouldering we have up here in Lofoten! The potential for new development is enormous and so far mainly  road side classics  has been developed. The last few week I have put a little effort in to brush up new stuff and it seams that if you are just willing to walk a little further than 100m there's so much to do! I have so far brushed up about ten boulders and put them out on 27crags.com as open projects since I don't have time to finish them of myself but they are free for all to go do if they pass by!

One of the best boulders around that I've climbed so far is definitely Slartibartfast an over hanging sandstone boulder in Skokkelvika about 30 minutes from Henningsvaer. Here's a video of Viktor doing it in between rain showers on his last day here in lofoten!

   

Skokkelvika, Slartibartfast 7B+ from Viktor Persson on Vimeo.

8/16/14

Minnesrisset aka Memorycrack

Since I first came to Lofoten in 2010 I've been looking at this climb dreaming of being able to do it some time.. actually.. Back then I was impressed by anyone that would even dare to go try a route at that difficulty. To me trad climbing has been a slow progression, trying something over my limit four years ago was (in my head) equal to danger and too much risk. But slowly, for me, hard trad climbs has taken more and more of my interest and now days I have more confidence in at least trying routes at my limit. 

Shortly after I arrived to Lofoten in the end of June my good friend Lars Martin had started projecting Minnesrisset and enthusiastically gave me a minor novel of the steep nature of the route, cruxes and various beta sequences he'd found out to be working. Exited we went out with Cody Scarpella that had been working the route together with Lars Martin. I got the honor to belay Cody on his send of it that day and afterwords I tried it on top rope and surprised my self by feeling strong on it. 
I went home with confidence that I would do it pretty fast. 
The following sessions got me down on earth again and I realized that this route didn't have anything to do with hard crux moves. It is just a pump fest from bottom to top with a long thougher section that involves some spectacular moves even though the jams stay good through out most of the climb.
I found it very different to work a pure crack climb compared to a sport route because on a sport route you have obvious holds that are easy to remember, but on a crack climb you more or less have one big hold (the crack) that will give you more or less friction, depending on where you place your hands or fingers.

In the end it took me about six days to complete the route and looking back on how I saw things in 2010 I'm now one of those Strong, impressive and fearless gear climbers even though I don't feel very impressive, strong or fearless.  

The climb was originally done by Robert Caspersen in 2002 and hadn't seen more than a hand full of ascents since then.. Until this season.
The send train took off this year by Cody sending the route impressively fast. A few weeks later I managed to do it and around the same time a Trondheim local did it. This year alone it has seen three ascents so far and most likely it will get at least one more soon.